What Kinds of Uses Do Blockchains Have?
Since blockchain applications are decentralized, shared databases, all users can access them and communicate with one another without the need for a server to function as a middleman.
The primary distinction between regular apps and blockchain application development is that the former is controlled and managed by a single central authority. In conventional databases, all information is housed on a single server, and access to the information is controlled by a central authority that first verifies a user’s identification.
The Function of Blockchain Technology
A decentralized, distributed ledger of transactions using blockchain technology holds data in sets called “blocks.” A block that has reached its maximum storage capacity is closed and connected to the block that was previously filled, forming a chain.
A new block is created to store newly inserted data.
Everyone has access to the data contained in blockchains because it is shared by all devices linked to the Blockchain.
For instance, all team members will have access to it if your organization employs a blockchain application to communicate and exchange data.
Consider it a Google document that you produce and distribute to your team. The document is available to all of you simultaneously, and all modifications are transparent and made in real time.
Each member’s Blockchain receives information about every transaction, including payments and fund transfers, as soon as it happens.
- There are two different categories of blockchain solutions:
There are three different networks you can utilize to create your blockchain application when using network-based blockchain development:
1. Blockchain without permission
A blockchain without permission has a public network, meaning anyone can access it from any device. All members can connect and conduct business while keeping anonymous because everything is open to the public. Bitcoin is an illustration of a permissionless blockchain where anyone can join.
2. Blockchain with permissions
The network is private in a blockchain with permissions. Authorized users can only join the network, and all users are required to abide by a set of regulations when doing transactions. Enterprises generally use permissioned blockchains for internal use. The open-source platform Hyperledger is an illustration of a permissioned blockchain.
3. Blockchain hybrid
Both public and private blockchains can coexist in a hybrid system. It enables businesses to develop a private blockchain in addition to the public one, allowing them to decide which data is public and private. XinFin is an illustration of a hybrid blockchain that combines the greatest features of both.
Support for Cryptocurrencies
Blockchains can be categorized as cryptocurrency-based or non-cryptocurrency-based, depending on whether they support cryptocurrencies.
Blockchain-based on cryptocurrencies
Blockchain technology is crucial to cryptocurrencies. Digital wallets that can transfer, receive, and store cryptocurrencies and crypto exchange platforms used for trading cryptocurrencies and other digital currencies are some of the more well-known cryptocurrency-based solutions.
Blockchain without Cryptocurrencies
Blockchains that are not cryptocurrency-based, as the name implies, are independent of cryptocurrencies. Non-cryptocurrency-based blockchains are mostly utilized for inventory management and data storage across businesses because of their transparency and high level of data safety.
They are built on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), a decentralized digital database dispersed among many devices and accessible by all. A decentralized database lacks a central authority.
Blockchain Apps’ Advantages
Blockchain applications are becoming more and more popular; by 2024, it’s anticipated that the global market will be worth close to $20 billion. There are countless opportunities for organizations across industries thanks to the expanding number of blockchain app development tools emerging alongside its growth.
Due to their many advantages for enterprises, blockchain application development is currently gaining much traction. The following are the top five advantages of blockchain applications:
Increased security is one of the main benefits of blockchain applications. Blockchain apps are secure since no outside parties may tamper with them, in contrast to conventional programs that are vulnerable to hacker attacks and data theft.
Blockchain apps store data over a network of devices rather than on a computer, making it impossible for hackers to access it.
Users have access to a copy of every chain that is kept on the devices of every network member, so they can quickly identify any changes that take place.
- Efficiency and Quickness
Transactions are done more quickly, thanks to the automation provided by blockchain technology. There is no need to reconcile various ledgers because all documentation is kept in the Blockchain. Additionally, since there is no third-party involvement, everything moves along much more quickly.
Another option is to use “smart contracts” to automate procedures. By doing so, you may speed up transactions and lower the likelihood of human error by automating the subsequent step in a transaction.
All users have access to transaction data through blockchain applications. To ensure that nothing is overlooked, all users must agree on any updates to the Blockchain. Fraud is much less likely as a result.
Blockchain technology provides security from modifications and preserves data integrity. As previously stated, it is impossible to modify blockchain data without changing later blocks.
All users of blockchain technology have access to privacy.
Users can be confident that their transactions are anonymous since, while being decentralized, all interactions between members remain private.
Creating Blockchain Applications: A Guide
Knowing where and how to start is essential if you’re thinking about developing a blockchain application. The steps we took to create a blockchain application are listed below:
1. Determine if a blockchain application is necessary.
Consider your concept carefully before acting on it. Before you begin developing a blockchain application, consider whether you actually need a decentralized app.
This can be achieved by thinking about the issues you hope to resolve.
Do you need Blockchain for your project?
What advantages would Blockchain have for your application?
Although developing a blockchain app is a serious and expensive endeavor, it provides better transparency and convenience for transactions. As such, make sure it’s the correct fit for your needs.
You must first comprehend the use cases of the apps and how they will help you and your clients, for instance, if you operate in healthcare and want to create a blockchain-based record to ensure the secure sharing of medical data.
2. Select a blockchain infrastructure
After deciding that a decentralized app is necessary, the following step is to select an appropriate blockchain app development platform.
You have the following platform choices: You can use one of the well-known blockchain platforms, create your custom blockchain framework from scratch, or employ a white-label solution offered by Blockchain as a Service and third-party cloud services.
The decision is based on the issues you hope to address with your blockchain application and the protocols employed in a blockchain to gain consensus on a single data value.
Building your blockchain framework takes time and money. Therefore it makes sense to use the code from open-source platforms that are already out there.
Several well-known blockchain platforms are:
Ethereum: This blockchain platform enables the usage of smart contracts and uses the Solidity programming language.
Hyperledger Fabric: This technology is excellent for business needs, such as employee data sharing.
Corda R3: R3 Corda is a framework for creating permissioned blockchains and is ideal for supply chains, healthcare, and e-commerce.
3. Develop an App Prototype
Given the size and expense of a project like developing a blockchain application, we advise developing a prototype app first to ensure everything functions properly before making it live.
This will enable you to test your hypothesis and consider the functions, transactions, and interactions with the database that network users will have.
You must choose which elements of your app will be stored on the Blockchain and which won’t work at this stage. Your web or mobile app design and development may be able to leverage cloud hosting for some features that don’t need blockchain technology.
Additionally, you must choose whether to use the permissionless or permissioned Blockchain that we previously discussed. Consider the network’s accessibility and if you will select who can join it (permission) or if it will be available to everybody (permissionless).
You can utilize Azure Blockchain Workbench, which has extremely simple stages, to construct a prototype of your blockchain application.
4. Create technical and graphical designs
You can start developing your prototype app’s aesthetic and technical designs once it has been planned and authorized.
Create user interfaces for the various app components to get a sense of how your app will seem. People are less likely to utilize your app if the UI is badly designed and doesn’t offer a positive user experience.
The same is true for UX, so you must make sure it is planned to offer the optimal user experience. To obtain a sense of the app’s architecture, create technical designs.
5. Create a Blockchain App.
You can move on to constructing your blockchain application’s back end if the prototype phase goes well and you have figured out the front end.
How a blockchain application is developed will vary depending on the following:
The system on which you developed your app
The project’s language that you select to use
Mechanism for Consensus
How all nodes (devices like PCs and laptops that function as small servers) will transact with one another and interact
The length of the development process, which might last up to several months, will also rely on your requirements.
Before moving forward, the first version of your blockchain program must pass rigorous testing.
Using white-box testing methods like data flow testing, control flow testing, branch testing, and statement coverage after the initial testing is complete, you test the internal workings of the product. Your app is currently in the alpha phase.
After that, you get the program ready for the beta version, where it’s finished but has a few minor problems and issues. Your blockchain app is almost ready for release after functional testing and bug fixes.
6. Examine Your App
You must test your blockchain application before releasing it to find any lingering flaws and address them before publishing the app.
You can utilize a test network to test apps. Before release, it’s critical to test the app’s UX and integration and other features and functionalities.
The ideal option is to release your blockchain app’s beta version on a test network so that actual people may test it out. A testnet is a network that offers free application testing by providing a near replica of the Blockchain.
Before the app goes live, you must make sure everything functions properly.
7. Release Your App
The last step is to launch your app after testing is finished and any remaining bugs have been found and addressed.
However, this is not the end of the work. Once the app is online, you must keep an eye on its statistics and performance to determine how well it works and, if required, make the appropriate improvements.
Finalizing the Development of Blockchain Applications
Blockchain applications offer much transparency, efficiency, speed, high data security, and integrity. It is no wonder they are becoming so popular.
It won’t be long before creating blockchain applications, whether permission, permissionless, or hybrid, becomes commonplace and broadly embraced by different businesses.
If you’re beginning the process of developing a blockchain application, make sure to complete each stage in order:
Choose whether you require a blockchain application.
- Pick an appropriate blockchain platform.
- Make an app prototype.
- Make technical and graphical designs
- Create your app.
- Try out your app.
- Start your app
Remember to thoroughly test your blockchain application before deploying to ensure any errors and inconsistencies are fixed, and the app works as intended.
Although Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are frequently used with blockchain programs, their uses go well beyond that. In addition to other purposes, many businesses are implementing blockchain application development to offer services for financial exchange, handle real estate transactions, and securely store medical data.