Blockchain For Developers: Is it Right for Your Application?
According to the numbers, the blockchain market is expected to reach a high of $20 billion by 2024. Moreover, the average investment in this exciting technology’s projects was more than 1 million in 2017. In case you weren't living under a rock for the last two years, you know what bitcoin and the blockchain technology is. However, though blockchain is often thought to be a synonym for bitcoin, you have to understand that the latter is just one of the many uses of this hot technology. In truth, blockchain is a platform or system which is decentralized and can be beneficial for a lot of things such as applications.
However, before we begin the discussion of whether blockchain is ideal for your app or not, let’s take a closer look at what this technology offers.
What is the blockchain technology?
In layman terms, blockchain is a decentralized electronic ledger which doesn’t require the need for one central entity to keep the information safe. Instead, because it is essentially a distributed list, all transactions must be agreed upon by the parties involved to implement changes. This is why a system which is run under the blockchain technology is inherently safer and more reliable. However, this secure ledger can also be used for purposes other than financial transactions, such as to record information that’s sensitive and needs to be incorruptible.
The tool is beneficial when you’re working with a lot of tiny bits of information, have a lot to record, and also need to keep the stock/shareholders in the loop. One of the top reasons why this technology has already been adopted by many around the world is because while each party can view or read the data, it can’t be quickly updated by any one user.
Blockchain for applications
While blockchain is a promising new technology, it is not necessarily for all types of applications and businesses. You need to remember that before deciding to adopt this tool for your purpose, you should first determine whether or not it is suitable. Some apps have failed during their pilots just because they integrated with blockchain when they could have just gone with traditional relational databases, like MySQL.
Though there can be no doubt about the security of the applications which are developed using blockchain, you have to do more than just take a brief look at the technology. An excellent way to decide whether or not you need to spend the time and effort in researching and implementing this technology is to take a close look at your application’s database. If you’re happy with the databank you have, then there’s no good reason why you should make the switch. Because it will require you to recode and rethink everything and it will take plenty of time to mature, so it is best if you don’t switch.
On the other hand, if you feel that your database architecture has some constraints, then moving to this electronic ledger may be the ideal solution. If you wish to make the database accessible to a lot of people and don’t want to create a bottleneck when several transactions are taking place at once, blockchain technology will benefit in more than one way. For example, to make things more efficient for its users, IBM announced their blockchain a while back.
Benefits and drawbacks of blockchain for applications
Now that you have more insight about blockchain works and its use for developers, let’s take a look at some of its pros and cons.
Accountability & transparency: One of the primary benefits of adopting blockchain is that because it is a public ledger, no member will be able to make changes to it without others knowing about it. This will not only increase trust, accountability, and transparency between the participants but also make sure that any amendments are first agreed upon by most of the parties.
Safety from outside threats: Another reason why you may think about adopting this technology is that there’s no single point of failure since the technology is decentralized. It would be almost impossible for anyone with ill-intentions to initiate any malicious attack, which makes the system much securer.
Quicker application transactions: Because no one entity has full control over the data that is stored in the blockchain, it gets rid of the problem of duplicated digital processes. Moreover, because you don’t need to validate the transactions through a centralized authority, the process can occur within a matter of seconds.
Not mature enough: Although it is being discussed all around the world, blockchain is still a new technology. As a developer, you don’t have protocols and guides to follow, and there are no stacks in place, so you’ll need to use and rely on your own custom tools.
Testing challenges: Another drawback of the blockchain technology specifically for applications is the difficulty in testing. Because the system is decentralized, you’ll need to debug the app on multiple computers. You’ll need to invest in testing software which can coordinate with the other software, and when you add the networking issues to this problem, you’ll realize that it's much easier to test when you’re working with a dedicated network.
No clear future: Whether or not you agree on anything else, you have to understand that blockchain is a relatively recent technology. This is why there’s no way to tell whether your application will succeed or fail like the 46% other ICO last year that didn’t get to where they wanted to. So, if you’re implementing it, you need to be prepared for not-so-promising outcomes.
The blockchain technology has everyone from IT specialists, business strategists and developers talking. However, if you’re looking for good AirG app reviews, you have to make sure that you spend plenty of time researching and contemplating whether or not the technology is for you. Remember that though the tool does have its advantages, it’s not free from its weaknesses.
About the Author:
Alma Causey is a Freelance writer by day and sports fan by night. She writes about tech education and health-related issues. Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover.