Blockchain technology has, in recent times, taken the world by storm. Cryptocurrencies were the first product of which blockchain made possible, with which people have made and lost millions or more, and the exchanges of which have become hotbeds for cybercrime , fraud, and dishonesty, and the subject of debate over regulations, etc.
And just off of this branch of the technology, aside from the different types of traditional cryptocurrencies, we also see things like stable coins (which are supposed to be pegged to the value of actual assets), and central bank and government-issued tokens as well.
After Ethereum though, a whole new dynamic was added to the industry - the upgrading of the blockchain itself enabled dApps (decentralized applications). It is these that have enabled the likes of CryptoKitties - the blockchain-based digital cat collectors platform, which has seen some of its digital cats sell for obscene amounts of money for pieces of digital artwork.
Of course, it’s not all fun and games, blockchains have also enabled, it would seem, improvements in the shipping industry and in supply chains.
For example, blockchain can greatly reduce paperwork, and help to track aspects of a product from point to point along its production or distribution paths.
Blockchain technology is still in its infant stages, however, and for all the praises you will read about it online, there’s also, of course, individuals and companies with dissenting or neutral views of it. For example, some larger corporations have pointed out that blockchain tech (assumingly private blockchains) hold no advantages over their current systems.
On a similar note, it can in fact be said that a blockchain can never be faster than a centralized database, as not only does it need to perform the same things the central database does, but it must also have each node in the network process transactions, each of which must be digitally signed (with public-private cryptography), and the blockchain must ensure that all the nodes have reached a consensus.
Of course, as with any tech, blockchain technology has its own pros and cons, especially considering it’s so young. Positive things include it’s decentralized and transparent nature (positive only for some applications of course), automated processes based on coded smart contracts, and faster international transactions, among others.
Some of the negative things include it’s previously mentioned slowness compared to centralized databases, the difficulty and expensive nature of integration, a lack of trust and understanding from the public, uncertainty concerning regulations in some places, and the older PoW consensus protocol requiring huge amounts of electricity for mining.
The infographic below sums it up very nicely and gives much more details that we have given in this short article.
This infographic was created by Cyberius.