The popularity of the blockchain has exploded recently by the fashion effect of ICO’s, but all are not worth the time and money to invest in. Let’s be aware of the power of this technology and all that one could build of useful with it before the crypto trading kills it.
For the uninitiated (you are fewer and fewer), a reminder about the key concepts of blockchain and smart contract :
- Blockchain: The basic principle is simple. A first block of data is used to initialize the chain. This block is broadcast on a network of nodes (servers) that take care of writing data in the chain. Each subsequent block contains the hash (a reference) of the previous block, as well as other data (anything, as long as it respects the maximum size of a block). Read / write servers are often called validators (with the writing consensus used in most channels, the Proof Of Work). They are mostly paid for their work, ie the resolution of an algorithm that proves that the transaction is validated on the network.
- Smart contracts: smart contracts are an evolution of the previous system. Each transaction is associated with a portion of the program that usually triggers when writing the data. This code can achieve different things, it’s relatively open. For example one can check the coherence of the writing compared to other blocks or call an API. It is common for exmple to check that an exchange has been made to launch a payment.
Below are some diagrams that summarize these principles fairly well:
The power of the chain against traditional databases
A few projects really exploit the essence of the blockchain: a decentralized database, historized by nature, unalterable. No possibility to modify registers or corrupt them.