What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a decentralized database that maintains a continuously-growing list of records called blocks in a data chain.
Each block contains a cryptographically verified timestamp and a link to the previous block in the chain. These blocks of data are decentralized—allowing everyone in the network complete visibility, which ensures no blocks can ever be altered or changed.
How Can I Use Blockchains?
Blockchain allows information to be updated, verified, and shared securely—not copied like traditional databases. For example, if you were to send an email with a file attached, the recipient would not be getting the exact attachment. Instead, they would be getting a copy. But how do either of you know if that data is accurate or hasn’t been changed since you have two copies? How can you be sure of its verified accuracy?
In the past, this would be the job of a third party. But that slows the process down, adds fees, and can get complicated with thousands of transactions taking place in a second. With blockchain, you can exchange an actual piece of data without a trusted third party. On top of that, an exchange of data is recorded at each step on the blockchain. This ensures that any modification, change, settlement, or addition to the data is documented.
What is Ethereum Blockchain?
While there are some significant technical differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum, the most important distinction to note is that Bitcoin and Ethereum differ substantially in purpose and capability.
Ethereum is a ledger technology that is designed for developers to build applications—where Bitcoin is only currency. Companies are already using Ethereum blockchain to build new blockchain applications and databases.
Additionally, Ethereum blockchain has a robust community of developers and businesses supporting its development. Groups like The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, of which BlockApps is a member, is a partnership among Fortune 500 companies that have committed to working together to learn and build upon Ethereum’s smart contract technology.
What is Enterprise Blockchain?
Blockchain utilizes a distributed ledger to ensure everyone on the network is updated with verified data. This allows businesses to power more transactions because they don’t need to wait for a third party to verify the transaction or wait for funds to be sent.
This gives enterprise blockchain users a huge advantage, allowing settlements to automatically be verified and paid to an entire network. This reduces cost, improves security, minimizes the potential for fraud, and increases transparency among consortium members.
What is Public Blockchain vs. Private Blockchain?
Many businesses looking to integrate enterprise blockchains do not want their transaction data and processes to be visible to anyone but authorized users. Similar to private/hybrid cloud solutions, enterprises must adopt private blockchain architectures rather than public solutions.
With private blockchains, an enterprise then leverages two important concepts independent from private chains: permissioning and privacy.
Permissioning ensures that only nodes from ‘trusted’ participants and authorized personnel are allowed to participate on a private net. Think of only allowing authorized members to a group chat.
Private transactions run through smart contracts and secure the business logic from all but authorized users. However while specific prices and terms may be private, the verification of a transaction data is still visible.
At its core blockchain is an immutable database that preserves transparency, accuracy, and security among public and private networks. This basic data collection technology is powering the next phase of business applications and workflow, thanks to the power of Ethereum based smart contracts. Building on private blockchains gives enterprises the ability to permission users, privately conduct business on blockchains, and verify sensitive data safely.