What exactly is a Blockchain?

Blockchain overview

Definition of blockchain: 

The blockchain is a shared and immutable ledger that facilitates the transaction registration process, and makes it easy to track assets in a corporate network. An asset can be divided into two types. 

A tangible asset like a house, a car, money, land, and intangible assets like intellectual property, patents, copyrights, and branding. Virtually any item of value can be tracked and transacted on a blockchain network, which reduces risks and costs for everyone involved.

Why blockchain development matters: 

Companies depend on information. The more accurate and faster they are, the better. The blockchain delivers immediate, shared, and completely transparent information that is stored in an immutable ledger that can be accessed by the  members of the network. 

A blockchain network can track orders, payments, bills, production, and more. As members share a single view of the facts, it is possible to see all the details of an end-to-end transaction, which offers greater confidence, efficiency, and new opportunities.

Main elements of blockchain

Distributed ledger technology

All network participants can access the distributed ledger which is an immutable record of transactions. With this shared ledger, transactions are recorded only once, eliminating duplicate activities that are typically seen on traditional business networks.

Immutable records

No participant can change or corrupt a transaction after it has been registered in the shared ledger. If a transaction record includes an error, a new transaction must be added to reverse that error and both transactions will be visible.

Smart Contracts

The smart contract is a set of rules to speed up transactions, that are stored on the blockchain and executed automatically. A good example for how a smart contract works can be terms for the payment of travel insurance which define conditions for corporate insurance-guarantee transfers. When the predefined criteria are met, the smart contract executes the transaction

Advantages of blockchain

What needs to change: Operations often waste effort on maintaining duplicate records and validating third parties. Record-keeping systems can be open to fraud and cyber-attacks. Limited transparency can delay data verification. The volume of the transactions can also increase. All of this slows down business and affects results, which means that we need a better solution. 

Greater confidence

With blockchain, as a member of a members-only network, you can be rest assured that you are receiving accurate and timely data and that your confidential blockchain records will be shared only with members of the network to whom you have given specific access.

Increased security

Consensus on the accuracy of the data is required by all members of the network, and all validated transactions are immutable, as they are recorded permanently. No one can delete the transactions.

How blockchain works

Each transaction is recorded as a “block” of data, after its occurrence

These transactions show the movement of an asset that can be tangible (a product) or intangible (intellectual). The data block can record the information of your choice: who, what, when, where, how much, and even the condition – such as the temperature of a food shipment.

Each block is connected to the front and back

As an asset migrates from one place to another or the property changes, these blocks form a data chain. The blocks confirm the exact time and sequence of transactions and connect securely to prevent any of them from being changed or inserted between two existing ones.

Each additional block strengthens the verification of the previous one and, therefore, of the entire blockchain chain. This makes the blockchain inviolable, delivering the main aspect of immutability. This eliminates the possibility of tampering by a malicious individual by building a transaction ledger that you and other members of the network can trust.

Types of blockchain networks

There are several ways to develop a blockchain network. They can be public, private, authorized, or developed by a consortium.

Public blockchain networks

A public blockchain is one that anyone can participate in, such as Bitcoin. The downsides can include the substantial computing power required, little or no transaction privacy, and poor security. The most crucial considerations for corporate blockchain use cases.

Private blockchain networks

A private blockchain network is similar to a public blockchain network which is a decentralized peer-to-peer network. However, an organization manages the network, controlling who is allowed to participate, executing a consensus protocol, and keeping the ledger shared. Depending on the use case, this can significantly boost trust among participants.

Authorized blockchain networks

Companies that build a private blockchain generally set up an authorized blockchain network. It is important to note that public blockchain networks can also be authorized. This imposes restrictions on who is allowed to participate in the network and certain transactions. Participants need to obtain permission to join.

Consortium Blockchains

Several companies can share the responsibilities of maintaining a blockchain. These pre-selected companies determine who can send transactions or access data. A consortium blockchain is ideal for companies when all participants need to be authorized and have shared responsibility for the blockchain.

Blockchain use cases and applications

Tracking fresh seafood from the moment it is caught

Food Trust is helping Raw Seafood build confidence across the food supply chain, tracking the product of each fishery from the moment they leave the water to supermarkets and restaurants.

Enhancing cryptocurrency security in financial services

INBLOCK issues Metacoin cryptocurrencies, which are based on the Hyperledger mesh, to help make digital asset transactions faster, more convenient, and more secure.

Transforming healthcare outcomes with blockchain

The Blockchain Platform can change the way your ecosystem guarantees trust, data sourcing, and efficiency to improve patient care and profitability.

Innovative thoughts with blockchain, AI, and IoT for the supply chain

To track goods through the supply chain and help ensure food quality, Golden State Foods is using the immutability of the blockchain 

Driving innovation in the oil and gas industry

Vertrax and Chateau Software launched the first multi-cloud blockchain solution built on the Blockchain Platform to help prevent supply chain disruptions in wholesale oil and gas distribution.

Increasing trust in supplier-retailer relationships

Home Depot is using Blockchain to obtain shared and reliable information about goods sent and received, reduce supplier complaints, and accelerate conflict resolution.

Guest article written by: Hello, I am Yokesh Sankar, a Blockchain Enthusiast and Co-Founder/COO at BlockchainX, a blockchain development company in India. My interest in Blockchain technology and crypto started when I was an undergrad. It has since then transformed into something much bigger for me. I believe that Blockchain is undoubtedly the future of technology as we know it, and have been trying to share as much knowledge as I humanly can with people. I sincerely hope that in the years to come, more and more people recognize the immense possibilities of blockchain, and we see groundbreaking and innovative solutions to our real-world problems.

3 thoughts on “What exactly is a Blockchain?”

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