What Is The Future Of Blockchain

Blockchain is one of the most talked technologies of today. As a matter of fact, Blockchain is one of the top five technologies of the year 2018 that presents a promise to change the way we store data on the Web. Blockchain also represents a huge opportunity for software developers as 6 out of 10 corporations are looking to add blockchain to their product roadmaps.

Several industries including financial institutes, banking, healthcare, supply chain, and payments are actively involved in the development of blockchains.

Why blockchain now 

The blockchain concept is not new. It was first introduced by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta in 1991 as “a cryptographically secured chain of blocks,” which means a chain or blocks that are linked and cryptographically secured. Each block is a combination of three items; a hash pointer to the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. By design, blockchains are secure and difficult to modify.

There are three key reasons why blockchain is becoming mainstream today:

  • Device connectivity and Increased digital processing power
  • Rapid growth in cybercrimes
  • Rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency 

Blockchain, by design, requires the internet connection and requires higher processing power than normal data computing. It is all because of redundancy of data, distributed storage, and cryptography. Data encryption and decryption is a costly affair by nature. Today, computers have more processing power thanks to modern processors developed by NVIDIA.

Cybercrime has grown multifold in the past few years. The hacking of a billion-plus Yahoo accounts, the Equifax data breach, and increased ransomware damages are just a few incidents. As a matter of fact, over one million cyber threats are released every day and by 2020, over 200 billion IoT devices will need security. Today, Cyber Security is one of the biggest challenges for CEOs.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency are one of the biggest reasons for the increasing popularity of blockchain. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency created by an anonymous person named Satoshi Nakamoto, who used blockchain technology to create and distribute secure digital currency.

Today, blockchain is “the blockchain” because of Bitcoin. And if you look at the reason why Bitcoin was created, there is one word that can describe it better than anything else, i.e., TRUST. Bitcoin was created to overcome the mistrust and non-transparency of financial institutions.

Technology and programming language 

Blockchain technology is a platform and language agnostic technology. You can use pretty much any major programming language to write blockchains.

Blockchain is a kind of distributed ledger technology (DLT) with some additional properties that use cryptography, distributed ledger, and a way to reward and validate data.

To write blockchain from scratch, you will need the understanding of cryptography, distributed ledger technology, and low-level coding. You will also need some coding experience with one of the following or a similar programming language. 

  • Java
  • C++
  • JavaScript
  • Go
  • Python
  • C#
  • Ruby
  • Solidity
  • PHP 

In blockchain technology, cryptographically is used majorly for two reasons – to secure a user identity and encrypt data to make it immutable and incorruptible.

Distributed ledger technology (DLT) also known as a distributed ledger or a shared ledger a way to stored data on a peer-to-peer distributed network. The data is updated and synchronized using a consensus algorithm as a part of the technology. Blockchain technology is somewhat based on the distributed ledger technology.

You also need experience with low-level coding to interact with data and network.

Permissioned vs Permissionless 

A blockchain can be permissionless or permissioned.

In a permissionless or public blockchain, anyone can use public keys, anyone can be a node and join the network, and anyone can become a miner to service the network and see a reward. Anyone can read the chain, anyone can make changes, and anyone can add a new block, with the condition of following the blockchain rules. Bitcoin blockchain is an example of permissionless blockchain.

In a public permissioned blockchain, a user needs permission from the starter of the blockchain to read the information on the blockchain, restrict who can transact on the blockchain, and who can serve the network by writing a new block into the chain. Ripple and Hyperledger Fabric are permissioned blockchains.

Private permissioned blockchains are permissioned blockchain where data is not available for the public to read. Only admin has the write permissions and more restrictions are applicable based on roles.

There are hundreds of solid mature public blockchain projects that you can start learning today. Most of these projects are available on Github.

Stratis Platform is one of the projects, that is available to download. The project is written in C# and .NET Core. Download and get started with Stratis platform here >

Industry state
 
Blockchain is one of the fastest in-demand technologies of today. Thanks to the rise of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Some pundits are even calling blockchain as Web 3.0. 
 
Today, there are 70% of corporations are actively building a proof of concepts to active development on blockchain projects. Some companies have already implemented DLT based solutions. According to a report published recently, banks are expected to increase their budget by 67% for the coming year for blockchain development. 
 
There are many new developments in the following areas -
  • SEC is looking into a solution related to cryptocurrencies, ICOs, and token distributions
  • New crypto stock exchanges are being launched
  • Traditional financial exchanges are looking into bringing crypto on board and also working on DLT to use for their own products
  • Cybersecurity concerns are helping blockchain adoption 
  • Digital payments using crypto are growing 
  • Business are using blockchain to promote trust, transparency, and security
  • The manufacturing industry is using blockchain for asset tracking, and supply chain.
  • Insurance is using for claims, payments, and fraud detection.
  • The financial industry is using for loans, bonds, and trading.
  • Cross-border payments are growing in form of cryptocurrency.
  • Legal industry will use for documents and contracts.
  • Healthcare is using for personal records and compliance purposes.
  • Government is using for licenses, benefits, and contracts.
  • Education is using for verification of certificates, and qualifications. 
  • Gig economy can use it for temp contracts and payments, tracking and scheduling and so on.
Conclusion
 
The future of blockchain is bright and there are going to be a number of new opportunities for developers. This is just the beginning. 
 
Further readings

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