The blockchain – what it is not (part 1)

by Lumai Mubanga

Not hundred percent perfect

In parts one and two of “blockchain – what it is”, we discussed why the tech design of blockchain has enabled it to be adaptable for worldwide use and adoption. Features such as decentralization, cryptographic keys, chain of blocks and process integrity have enhanced its worldwide admiration, adoption and focus for global and economic revolutions. After the internet, blockchain technology is now seen as the next breakthrough in human endeavours to equitably share resources in a completely new way as never seen before. Unlike the internet, blockchain is all about resource and asset management as opposed to information sharing and determination. But is blockchain infallible? What is it not?

Much like the internet in those days, a lot of misconceptions have been formed around what blockchain is or is not. This article will cover just a few misconception of what it is not. This will give our readers some insights that will give a balanced view of this technology.

Relationship between blockchain and bitcoins

truth be told, blockchain is not bitcoins. The advent of bitcoins and blockchain seems to have occurred almost during the same decade and this has led some to connect the two. Some people think blockchain is bitcoins and vice versa. These are separate entities. If you have basics on computers, you first power on the computer, allowing the operating system to initialize, and then launch an application software such as Microsoft Word to do your typing work. Similarly, blockchain is the underlying technology on which bitcoins as a cryptocurrency is supported. Without blockchain, bitcoins wouldn’t be implemented. So, blockchain is not bitcoins.

Full proof Integrity

The fact that blockchain has a well set out process integrity that allows participating nodes to verify entries does not mean that it’s integrity is full proof. Process integrity is subjective as far as data input is concerned. It is not correct to assume that blockchain can verify all transactions and data entirely contained on its platform. Like all computer systems, it operates on the principle of garbage in garbage out (GIGO). Blockchain cannot verify or assess whether any external input is truthful or not. All that the blockchain will do is to ensure the integrity of individuals making the entries, ensuring that they have the right combination of a public and private key. So blockchain is not 100% integrity proof.

Better than traditional database

While there have been several enhanced features of traditional databases within the blockchain design model that makes it a world-class platform, blockchain is still not better than traditional databases. To the contrary, the designers of blockchain as a wide world database had to carefully infuse in carefully selected trade-offs that would allow blockchain to be a global platform. It has its own disadvantages that traditional databases do not have.

Clearly, blockchain is not bitcoins, it’s not better than traditional databases neither is it process integrity full proof. However, it’s designed with strengths of its own to be a global platform to transform the world hopefully, for the better.

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