Starting in Blockchain – The Beginners Guide
So, you’ve probably seen the word blockchain thrown around all the time but what exactly is it? Well, Blockchain is in essence just a large number of records which are connected to one another through the use of cryptographic encryption. Blockchains are easily accessible and available to the common public and they’re popularity grew with the rise of cryptocurrency. Now blockchains have become such an integral part of the business world that private blockchains that are personalised and tailored to suit a business’s specific and particular needs. Some blockchains even end up with some seriously upbeat and ‘cool’ nicknames like for example a blockchain used by the marketing department is known by the name “snake oil”.
Now as the name suggests, blockchain is a chain made up of blocks and each block has a little something that is called a ‘cryptographic hash’ of the previous block, a stamp that lets one know the real time the event took place at, and data that is related to the transaction process. Blockchains are designed to uphold and not allow any form of changes to be made to the data that they have been entrusted with. In the simplest way, blockchain is largely just an open accounting book that is distributed across a network that serves the purpose of recording any and all transactions, payments, or purchases made between two entities regardless of whether those entities are large multi-corporations or simple well to-do individuals. Blockchain is made to serve and execute its purpose in the most effective and responsible way.
Now when it comes to the point of trying to understand blockchain it is important to understand how secure blockchain really is and in order to do so there are some different aspects that one needs to look through. However, before we look at the status of security we need to understand how a blockchain becomes secure. Let us use the great grand-daddy of the crypto world, Bitcoin as an example. The blockchain of Bitcoin records the history of each and every transaction that ever existed. It’s something or kind of like an account’s ledger … kind of like bookkeeping. The ledger is then kept on more than one computer that despite being different are all connected via a common system. This system is known as nodes. As soon as a payment is made, a purchase goes down, or a transaction takes place the nodes are there to make sure that the exchange that is going down is in fact true and real. Now whoever possesses a node are known as miners. If you would like to read more about blockchain visit this article.
Now there is a dual-criteria for ensuring whether or not a blockchain is still safe to use or not. Firstly, each block must have a specific cryptographically encrypted fingerprint that is coupled with the infamous consensus protocol. This protocol is one where by the nodes that are in the system all come to a consensus on the sharing of their history.
A large amount of the computing time is taken up by the hash, or in other words fingerprint, also this process consumes a large amount of energy. Why this is necessary is because it allows the miner who brought the block into existence and added it to the respective blockchain to perform all the technical work and undergo the entire strenuous process to eventually gain a prize at the end. It also performs the task of a seal since the entire process of creating another fingerprint is a rather tedious and unattractive one. As long as the fingerprint syncs with the block all is good, and the work moves forward in the right direction. This is known as the consensus protocol.
Lastly, the fingerprint serves as a chain or a connector or a link in the blockchain. Now each block that exists is encrypted with a specific and particular fingerprint that is relative only and only to that block. Now since in a blockchain ever block carries the same fingerprint as the one before it means that if one tends to bring about any changes they will have to change the entire block one at a time meaning they will have to create a new hash at every block on every step of the way which is an almost impossible process, making blockchain something equivalent to a fail-safe. If you would like to read more about blockchain visit this article.
However, the tech world has never failed to impress us, and it has not failed this time either. Even though these blockchains are designed to be fool-proof and are supposed to serve as fail-safes there are obviously ways to bring something so versatile and well secured such as blockchains crumbling down to the ground. One such way is to play a game of deception with the nodes that are present in the blockchain. This is done by making the nodes work on cryptographic puzzles that have already been completed. This in turn confuses the nodes giving the miner an upper hand against the entire blockchain. The funniest part is that all this can take place with the ‘hacker’ consuming less energy to break in as a miner compared to the energy that was consumed by the miner who was originally responsible for the blockchain.
Here’s another threat that can seriously tamper and tear down the walls of any blockchain’s security stronghold. That threat is known as the ‘eclipse attack’. In a blockchain, all the nodes that are present must be constantly communicating and interacting with one another in order to make comparisons of the data that they have. All one has to do is take control of one node’s communication and interactions and by doing so they can start to feed wrong information into the blockchain thus making the system completely waste all the resources it has or even make fake transactions. If you would like to read more about blockchain security visit this article.
Now the fact of the matter is that there will always be a risk no matter what. The only reasonable thing for you to do is take all the necessary measures since they do ensure a strong ground of protection but the risk of those security measure being broken down is very much real but that is the risk one must be ready to endure in every venture. In order to access or use a blockchain, you will need to purchase crypto currencies and doing that is an easy task. You can do that with your plastic cards or payment cards like the infamous Visa or Mastercard. It’s a wonder as to how far technology has come because now you can even use the virtual card for such transactions.
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