There is a buzz around the word Bitcoin in recent times and people think that bitcoin is blockchain and blockchain is bitcoin. Here I am going to talk about some open source communities who now have pioneered on the word BLOCKCHAIN and have proved to the world that BITCOIN is not the only BLOCKCHAIN.
Nakamoto’s paper on A peer-to-peer Electronic Cash System introduced to the world the concept of Blockchain. Blockchain came into existence for bitcoin and started the race to mine bitcoins to earn incentives.
On the other hand, industries also started looking into blockchain technology as a boon and how they can use it to solve the problems they are facing. Blockchain-based technologies had shown the software industry a new way to build an application which is more secure, interoperable, trustworthy. The trust framework that blockchain provides promises frictionless transactions, interoperability, speed, scalability, governance, and reduces onboarding costs.
Even if bitcoin is working on a public distributed ledger it is able to maintain a high level of anonymity of the transactions and also provide immutability. This, in turn, has enabled the software industry to explore blockchain which provides with smart contracts.
Smart Contracts :
A simple programming code running on top of a blockchain containing a set of rules is called a smart contract. It gets executed when particular conditions are met. It is a sort of agreement between participating parties which is automatically enforced when predefined rules are met. Let’s take an example to consider if your flight is delayed but you bought flight insurance, a smart contract might instantaneously pay you after getting an update from a trusted source of flight times.
Smart contracts enable us to write a piece of code which will meet our requirement and helps us integrate our existing infrastructure with blockchain.
Let’s see some simple use cases where we can use blockchain.
- Have you ever been to a store and been suspicious about whether or not an item of your choice was actually authentic? Could an expensive bottle of wine actually be a knockoff? This happens often in today’s society. Thankfully, Blockchain technology can help us trace the history of any good or item back to its source in such a way that tampering with it unnoticeably would be impossible. With the help of Blockchain technology, one could easily find out where a product was made, by whom, and if the quality and condition of said product or item is of acceptable quality.
- Take diamonds for example. A diamond is mined, sorted, cut, polished, boxed, mounted in a setting, sold, and resold. There are transportation events taking place between many of these events. Diamonds are valuable enough and unique enough to track. In a private blockchain network for tracking diamonds, every party in the network will have the same blockchain ledger that accounts for the diamonds at each stage. In this way, we can use blockchain to keep a track of the diamonds
So we can think of blockchain ledger as a simple historical record of all transactions related to a resource/s.
A financial firm, machine learning for predictive maintenance, supply chain management, document flows, and industrial Internet of Things (IoT) data collection are all examples of areas that can be empowered by Blockchain. Ah, But there are no blockchain standards.
Efforts are made by communities to develop some standardization for open-source blockchain technology is Hyperledger,
Insolar ,Ethereum etc. All of the above mentioned open source communities have started providing BlockChain as a Service (BaaS) on the lines of Cloud Computing (PaaS, IaaS,SaaS)
BlockChain As a Service (BaaS):
Setting up an environment to test and research blockchain requires an ecosystem with multiple systems to be able to develop research and test. The big players in the cloud industry like Amazon(AWS), Microsoft(Azure), IBM(BlueMix) have seen the potential benefits of offering blockchain services in the cloud and started providing some level of BaaS to their customers. Users will benefit from not having to face the problem of configuring and setting up a working blockchain. Hardware investments won’t be needed as well. Developers will have a single-click cloud-based blockchain developer environment, that will allow for rapid development of smart contracts.
Comparison of different Blockchain platforms :
Blockchain’s core benefit of dramatically reducing connectivity and interaction friction between organizations is at the core of innovative disruptions such as decentralized and disintermediated business networks, novel asset digitization, and new forms of value exchange.
However, the current blockchain platforms are still in the stage of evolution and are rapidly adapting to the real world scenarios. As of now, current blockchain technology-based solutions are facing several hurdles in terms of integration with the existing enterprise infrastructure and business models.
Even though blockchain provides with a number of features too often it has been seen that most of the blockchain-based applications are developed without considering the real world enterprise needs in mind, lack of skilled developers and most importantly expensive setup cost. Therefore, blockchain platforms are less attractive than many traditional data technologies in solving well-defined and understood business problems. And thus blockchain has remained a buzz around bitcoin.