In this part 3, I will talk about two other properties of the blockchain technology which are immutability and availability. After a consensus is reached and the data is validated and stored on the blockchain, it is there forever. No one can alter it. This is a powerful concept that opens doors for many applications.
At this point, we understand what blockchain is and what consensus mechanisms are. all these concepts will be clarified even more when I will talk about the different applications of blockchain like Bitcoin and Ethereum. While explaining the technology, I prefer to have a layered approach. I start with the overview and then I will dig deeper and deeper into more details. That makes it easy to relate to the big picture.
In a centralized database, we cannot of course talk about immutability or availability. Nothing prevents the owner of the database to manipulate the data and change it or shut down the service completely. And that’s why it’s a characteristic of decentralization.
Applications of Immutability
Among the applications derived from the immutability of the blockchain is the traceability of goods and funds. Imagine you want to show your customer the good quality of your products. That your raw materials come from the best places. By using the blockchain technology, you make it easy for your customers to verify and track your products.
Auditing is another application of the blockchain technology that will benefit from immutability. Knowing that the data in the blockchain is immutable, we can trust that the financial data of a company has not been changed. We can track the different transactions and make the audit faster and cheaper.
Another application can be to store people’s creations and innovations and link them to the creators. We can secure ownership and solve hacking and illegal use of copyrighted material.
I will explain in details, in the upcoming post when I talk about cryptography how we can achieve immutability. For now, we need to understand the importance of this concept. The immutability of the blockchain will allow to reduce and even remove the imperfections of our society like corruption and tax evasion. This will for sure make the world better.
Availability is a property that we are missing in our current technology. Blockchain technology is a permission-less system. Which means that we don’t need permission to be part of the network. This is extremely powerful.
According to the World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusion Database, 2 billion people are unbanked worldwide. 2 billion people that can be part of a network like Bitcoin and become banked instantly. Blockchain technology is available 24/7. In the case of Bitcoin, you can buy, sell, send and receive bitcoins anytime.
The two concepts introduced in this post make blockchain even more attractive and more necessary to solve major problems of our society. It’s a true revolution. Now, let’s get into more technical stuff and talk about cryptography.