What is Blockchain in Reality?
Blockchain has been at the receiving side of the humungous attention since bitcoin started becoming known and popular. Like many news channels over hype and focuses less on the details, a similar scenario could be said to be happening in the overall blockchain ecosystem as well. To give a quick recap, blockchain is a complex robust framework where transactions being executed are recorded in a decentralized fashion. The data gets transferred in the form of blocks. Blocks encompass information like the transaction’s date, time, who’s participating in the transaction, and a hash in each block which helps in distinguishing all blocks. Blockchain aims to act as a platform where digital information is recorded, distributed, but not edited. The platform also aims to enable distinct cryptocurrencies to be able to share data and amount without much hassle. As it’s only recently entered the global market, few industries have started employing it daily (BFSI, Medical, Logistics, Transportation), while some are waiting to implement it due to various reasons. As it’s still in its initial stage, a lot of opportunities are cropping up for the architecture to become more adaptable, robust, and transparent as well. This piece of content will include the functioning of blockchain, multiple facets of it, various generations that have come to date, types of blockchains, and comparing theoretic concepts with practical usage feasibility.
Blockchain’s Architecture and its internal functioning.
As mentioned above, blockchain is a platform where the motive is to record every digital transaction in a decentralized manner and still be able to transfer money in distinct cryptocurrency wallets. The ability to function in such a way arises because of its blueprint. The founder of Bitcoin, “Satoshi Nakamoto”, built a design so robust, adaptable, and transparent that blockchain is being used by many across the world and is helping which centralized institutions weren’t able to accomplish. As one can see from the link that the architecture of bitcoin is very basic. The infrastructure layer is utilized for storing data, transmitting transactions, and securing the network. The kernel layer consists of proof of work (PoW) consensus, token rewards, and token release data as well. From the functional architecture of the Blockchain figure, one can figure out which layer (Cross, Infrastructure, Kernel, Service, User) will accomplish what tasks.
Generations of Blockchain. To date
Since the whitepaper of Bitcoin was published online in 2008, the blockchain ecosystem has experienced three different variations of its pros and cons. It started with the introduction of virtual currencies like bitcoin, Ethereum, etc. Afterward, the focal point shifted towards smart contracts, decentralized applications (dApps), applications used in financial services, etc. The most recent up-gradation where the technological framework is being employed in various industries like health and food to name a few. One common link which is cropping up in almost every industry is how to integrate it holistically and make it scalable. As companies irrespective of their size and nature are examining the advantages of utilizing technology, curiosity is growing gradually and exponentially. With developed nations leading the path, it surely will get imbibed in the rest of the world as well. such a change and transformation will only help the world live more eco-friendly, transparently, and productively too. Like any product or service being launched into the market, blockchain also is facing few hurdles. But with an appropriate mindset, determination, and perseverance, the final version will surely be worthwhile to use.
Blockchain and IoT Devices: What’s the connection?
As mentioned above, the most recent modification in the blockchain is integrating with distinct industries, integrating it with the internet of things and cloud computing is another building block which has made numerous blockchain experts start to research and experiment on. As it’s well known that the overall functioning of blockchain intakes heavy computations, a lot of electricity, and huge storage capacity as well. To reduce some portion, this piece of research builds a prototype where a lighter version of the blockchain is employed that can function similar to the prior one. In short, a Light Ethereum Subprotocol (LES) is a fresh protocol designed and developed which minimizes the bandwidth requirement and cryptographic proofs of consistency of data. Just like AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) is an up-gradation of DES (Data Encryption Standard), similarly, LES was built keeping in mind to ease the overall cycle of blockchain functionality at the backend. As an appropriate mindset is a prerequisite for developing a prototype like LES, let’s now look at how blockchain could be perceived from a philosophical perspective.
Blockchain: Perceived as a Philosophy
One may wonder why to interlink technology with psychology. But with recent changes in how algorithms are being used socio-politically, it has become a crucial factor to ponder upon and act accordingly. Most technological experts in blockchain and recently developed sister-like frameworks also have agreed on one aspect that is if robots are fed input with appropriate context, the output delivered is similar to the one, one was expecting. When the internet was launched, a set of frameworks and protocols were designed to make it operate smoothly. Similarly, this is an act for making the current and upcoming technologies function in a manner where the whole human society and the rest of the living beings live harmoniously. Broadly speaking, blockchain developers need to consider the following points:
- What’s the purpose, function, and dimensions of the architecture?
- What kind of ethics and aesthetics would be implemented?
- What kind of fresh knowledge would be created and imbibed?
One common factor which could be seen common in the above considerations is the trust or the reliability factor. Philosophy point-of-view helps in re-building the trust which people at large have been declining since the financial breakdown in 2008-09.
Two words ‘trust’ and ‘interoperability’ could be seen overlapping up to a great extent. It might seem obvious, that only when one trusts another person, he/she interacts (for personal or professional) in the future. If trust isn’t there between the two parties (receiving side and sending side), the option of recommending it to others or utilizing it again doesn’t come in the picture. This piece of research also indicates a couple of ways of achieving the desired outcome by looking at the blockchain from a philosophical perspective. Designing and building a product or a service is one part, but it wouldn’t be of any use if it can’t be practically employed on a day to day basis. The following part focuses on seeing and scrutinizing the theories built and their practicality in cryptocurrency governance.
Theory VS Reality in Cryptocurrency Governance
Coming up with fresh ideas on how to live daily looks fascinating at the face-value, but it could lead to a polar opposite situation when explored in depth. A similar situation happened in financial institutions in the 19th and 20th centuries. The result of this was financial breakdowns in many nations across the world. Blockchain at a broader level and cryptocurrencies at the micro-level got developed to fix the situation. A similar scenario could also be seen in the marketing field, and almost every industry and profile. This piece of research indicates some suggestions as to how to differ between them and then act accordingly. A figure in it shows exactly who all are a part of the ecosystem, and what role do they play to function the overall process effectively. The acting players consist of digital platforms, codebase, programmers, miners, intermediaries, customers, media, and governments. As the software behind the framework is common (open-source), everyone gets the opportunity to propose alterations in the software where trust is established via decentralized public ledgers. It has already been experienced that external forces or the acting players have been able to modify the architecture as and when required effectively. One thing seems certain that it will take some time for the entire population to get a hang of the technology and make it the norm of the day. Regulation is seen as the devil, as it is crucial and complex as well while implementing on the ground. One factor which is still an issue is alternate platforms like the Tor browser where several cases of money laundering and illicit activities have been found to date. The following piece will focus on the difference between the functionality of both frameworks.
Blockchain VS Tor Network. A comparative analysis
Since blockchain came into existence, several distributed ledger technologies have been developed for various purposes. Starting with the basic architecture, several modified versions like Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), distributed hash table (DHT), time to live (TTL), decentralized applications (dApps), etc have entered the blockchain ecosystem. Based on their respective advantages and disadvantages, newer versions were thought of and build. After constant observation, and examination from diverse point-of-views, fresh consensus models and prototypes came into existence.
Coming to the distinctions between Tor’s and the Blockchain’s functionalities, there’re a lot of similarities between them (quite surprisingly). Tor is a third-generation onion routing system that employs a TCP based services. Besides that, it runs multiple encryption and decryption circuits with distinct session keys. Doing so allows the user’s IP to get masked and is unable to get traced. The only difference besides the decentralized structure, Tor doesn’t work on incentivization, and it operates with limited resiliency. The data storage is also not available in the tor schema. After examining the differences, the blockchain’s framework could be upgraded in such a manner that it overtakes the tor’s functionality completely.
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