There’s no way around it: at the time of this writing, everyone, regardless of their sector, industry, or organization, is paying attention to blockchain technologies. There are bidding wars over developers, apps that track sexual consent through blockchain, and the constant analysis and introduction of new cryptocurrencies that harness the power of blockchain. For the uninitiated, all this talk of hashes, blockchains, and cryptocurrencies can be overwhelming. In this post, we’re going to give a rough overview of the technology and what advantages, if any, exist for mobile apps willing to adopt the framework.
A Digital Ledger
One of the best ways to envision a blockchain implementation is as a ledger that tracks transactions between parties. Obviously, the actual code behind the process is much more advanced and nuanced, but thinking about the whole thing as a digital ledger tracked by many different parties is a good start. The thing that makes blockchain unique is its interconnected nature between stakeholders. Put another way, everyone connected to a blockchain network has knowledge of every transaction between every other party. Using unique digital signatures for each user, each and every transaction is verified and applied to the blockchain.
First and foremost is the inherent transparency of a blockchain. No transactions between any parties are hidden or obscured to any members of the network. Anyone can go all the way back to the very first transaction in the blockchain to see who sent what and when. This reduces, and arguably eliminates, the possibility of nefarious or false transactions. Because of the decentralized nature of the blockchain, no one entity can change or alter the transactions. Every node has a copy of the entire blockchain, which is verified by other nodes.
Another powerful aspect of blockchain technology is the elimination of trust between the blockchain’s users. It sounds strange to phrase it like that, but this is the foundation of the entire technology. Blockchain systems require no faith or goodwill between users in order to guarantee the validity of a transaction. When two nodes on the blockchain initiate and approve a transaction, they need no formal knowledge of each other. While this anonymity has lead to problems in the cases of Bitcoin and the Silk Road, this can also have positive and legitimate applications in the real world.
Blockchain in Mobile Applications
Presently, the most common implementation of blockchain technology exists in cryptocurrencies. New cryptocurrencies seem to be created on an almost daily basis, and all of them utilize blockchains in one form or another. However, their market volatility and high rate of failure overshadow the usefulness of blockchain technology. If your app idea depends on peer-to-peer currency transactions (fiat or otherwise), blockchain technology could be a natural fit. But in other cases, where you need to keep dedicated and unalterable records of transactions of any kind, blockchain tech might also suit your project. Implementing a sound, secure, and reliable blockchain solution for your project and deploying it are demanding tasks. If you’re ready to start developing such an app, it can pay off, in the long run, to work with mobile app developers with a track record of secure and scalable solutions. Consider reaching out to one of our account managers to find out how we can help you integrate blockchain technology into your project.