So why not just a database, why do CERTAIN projects need a blockchain?
There are a few key benefits to decentralizing things instead of keeping it in a centralized server/database:
- Overhead/cost reduction
The term means that the auditing of the transaction on the blockchain can not be altered/changed. Having records and data decentralized, and deployed on a blockchain makes it virtually impossible for any one party to tamper with data or records. Versus how it is now, if you host data on la server, black hats and inadvertent edits can be made to that data.?
I was told a long time ago that there are 3 “A’s” to security.
- Authentication – Who are you
- Authorization – What can you do
- Audit – What have you done.
Traditional servers or data are generally centralized, making it a likely target for malicious attacks. Equifax, Sony, DNC, you name it security breaches are a normal occurrence in recent times. Instead of having a single or limited # of servers hackers can attack, decentralization via the blockchain greatly increases the difficulty. The more participants/nodes in a network, the more copies of the data there is. Therefore, if you want to tamper with the data, you will need to attack every single node running the Blockchain and alter all of their data simultaneously. Not only does blockchain make data nearly tamper proof, it is also hard to breach. Every “block” on a chain contains a certain amount of data, and when that block gets filled, much like a USB drive, it is encrypted and sealed forever. To get the full picture, hackers will need to hack not just the current block, but also every block before it. This is not only technically almost impossible, but it is costly, thereby reducing the incentive for malicious activities. Different blockchains have different security measures and algorithms, this is a generalization of the concepts.
Decentralized means that there are many copies. You basically have the same set of data distributed across the world, you don’t need to worry if you lose your copy. This provides data resilience to corporations which gives peace of mind from any data corruption, server downtimes. If there is any level of mistrust then the redundancy of blockchains also provides a distinct advantage. Since the auditing / hyper ledger can never be altered, you are assured of the history of a particular item on the blockchain. For example, land title research and patient records.
Having a decentralized network of nodes to maintain this ledger allows companies to offset and offload hosting, security, and maintenance costs. It removes a lot of the costs of IT staffing, Dev Ops, and infrastructural overhead. Blockchain is open source, everyone can see the source and fixes can be made quickly by a community of developers. In a corporate environment forks can be updated by members quickly thus reducing costs and exposure.
With all of the above in place, you can be sure that everything that is logged or deployed on the blockchain, is accurate, and true.
All of this results in the ease of trust, and ease of the ability to do business in a transparent manner, without needing to trust the counter-party. You can simply leverage blockchain technology to let the data and facts speak for themselves.