Since the popularization of Blockchain due to the appearance of Bitcoins back in 2009, Blockchain has gradually become an element associated with a new technological revolution that will change and be present in our lives quickly.
Analyzed from a technological point of view, we can consider Blockchain more than a revolution, an evolution of already existing concepts, but combined in a different way that endows Blockchain with very particular characteristics for hundreds of uses beyond cryptocurrencies.
Much More Than a Database
Blockchain is a database where we can store information (ledger) and execute code fragments on the previous data (Smart Contracts). Something similar to current Relational Databases (RDBMS), where we can store data in tables and execute code in Stored Procedures.
The difference between Blockchain comes from storing the information in the ledger (general ledger in English), where cryptography plays a key role. The process is the following:
- The information is stored in successive blocks (Blocks) where the creation of a piece of data or the change of the value of a said piece of data is recorded chronologically.
- When these blocks are created, they are signed electronically to prevent anyone from modifying the contained values.
- The blocks will also store the Smart Contracts, through which the data will be created or its value modified.
- A piece of data can be created or modified but never deleted, a characteristic of Blockchain that differentiates it from an RDBMS.
- The set of successive blocks forms a linear chain (ledger), including the electronic signature of the previous block in each block to ensure the integrity of the complete data set and stored code.
- To give the final touch of robustness and security to the Blockchain system, it distributes the entire chain of blocks (ledger) among several nodes and orchestrates a consensus algorithm for the distribution and creation of new blocks.
The fact that all the information is decentralized (not distributed), together with the cryptography applied to the chain of blocks, gives Blockchain the high level of security that this type of system provides.
Although Blockchain applications are endless (far beyond cryptocurrencies), it is also true that the same problems that Blockchain solves could be solved without Blockchain, although perhaps not as agile a way as with Blockchain.
Today it can be said with complete certainty that Blockchain has come to stay, evolving technologies and offering a world of possibilities that, little by little, we will see come true.