Blockchain: Revolutionizing Data Storage

In the age of information, multiple corporations and individuals seek ways to keep data secure. Not only does data need to be accessible in order for consumers to see their own data, but it also needs to be unchangeable in order to minimize the tampering and alteration of that data. In order to do that, multiple sources are needed in order to check and confirm that data is consistent throughout a single server. This could take multiple computers and even more people to manage. However, this could all be made possible through one simple data processing tool called blockchain.

In the simplest terms, Blockchain is a sequence of blocks or groups of data that are chained together and distributed among users. A block of data is created whenever a user wishes to add or alter his or her own information. This block is then attached at the end of a chain of pre-existing blocks containing the information the user previously had. The verification of the data occurs when that block of data is cross-checked and validated across all existing copies of the original data. Instead of the data only existing on a singular, external server, the blockchain data exists on every single user’s server instead. This serves as multiple, consistent records of the data. Since only the user has the unique identification needed in order to change the data, the system accepts the change and adds the block to the existing chain of data, hence the name Blockchain. This method of information storage allows for an immutable record of information, in which only the user can alter the data by adding another block to the end. It is impossible to simply edit and alter a block of data because that would mean altering every single existing instance of that data on each and every user’s server.

Early Years of Blockchain

The Blockchain system gained popularity only in recent times, but its creation dates back to 1991. Originally created in order to achieve an inalterable time-stamping system, Blockchain grew in popularity when it became the backbone Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency created by Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2009. Now, almost every form of cryptocurrency uses Blockchain as their way of securing transactional data. Because of its immutable and inalterable nature, it became the perfect way for users and creators of cryptocurrency to store and keep track of transactions.

Gaining Traction and Criticism

Although cryptocurrency dominates the usage of Blockchain technology, multiple corporations have shown interest in investing in the system. Investors in the stock market have shown interest in using the blockchain system in order to secure their finances. Multiple data storage corporations are looking into Blockchain as a method of securing the information of their clients. Since Blockchain does not require external parties to store and monitor the data, it makes for an efficient way for corporations to store and keep track of data without having to contract third-party data managers.

However, Blockchain also has its imperfections. The data transparency is polarizing at best, with critics saying that it does not keep your data safe, just unchangeable. Multiple corporations also point out the complexity of the technology, having to learn an entirely new vocabulary just to grasp the concept of the system. Smaller groups and companies will also have difficulty with the system since it requires a huge network to act as a check and balance for the data and information being stored. Without a robust and significant network with a widely distributed web of users, it becomes significantly more difficult to reap the benefits the peer-to-peer verification offers.

Blockchain provides an alternative to conventional, database-based data storage. It removes the need for a middle entity to exist in order to hold and secure your data. However, the question of accessibility to smaller corporations still holds value in the debate against the new technology. Ultimately, blockchain could change the way we handle and store our data. It is only a matter of when corporations will be able to apply it to their own products and services.

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