Why Blockchain Technology Is Here To Stay

Why Blockchain Technology Is Here To Stay

We keep up the tradition of giving the stage to crypto advocates to talk about the cryptoindustry. This time we will review the usefulness of blockchain technology and why it deserves a say in the modern world

If you asked anyone about the blockchain technology five years ago, they would have probably rolled their eyes in dismissal. However, the dramatic rise of Bitcoin has put its underlying tech in the limelight. Even though some people are predicting the fall of Bitcoin, everybody agrees that blockchain will stick around for a very long time.

Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that still many people have a hard time comprehending how it works. Simply put, it includes an immutable, decentralized public ledger that eliminates the need for a central authority, ensures privacy, and makes the transfer of data transparent. Bitcoin was the first implementation of this tech, and many industries quickly found numerous applications for it within their niches.

For example, did you know that 90% of major North American and European banks are exploring blockchain-based solutions? Or that 15% of healthcare organizations adopted blockchain for commercial deployment in 2017?

Businesses and organizations across multiple industries seem to be on a race to adopt blockchain technology, and it’s for a good reason. The way it works just makes uses keep rolling out.

How Does It Work?

The blockchain-based system is a decentralized or distributed network that works on the peer-to-peer principle. This means that it is not governed nor maintained by any central authority or administrator, but by several or numerous independent computers.

A blockchain system can’t work without a ledger which registers any change of data on the network. It is not possible to conduct any transactions or transfers of data without this registration. Depending on the needs of the users maintaining the network, these ledgers could be public (the most popular use), private, or consensus.

Now, before data transfer is completed and registered on the ledger, other members on the network need to verify it. This step is necessary to prevents frauds and double transactions.

After verification, transactions are added as a block of data to the chain that contains all previous blocks of data. Each of them contains information of the previous blocks, making the chain unbreakable. In other words, you cannot cut the chain and remove any part of it without destroying the entire system.

This is precisely what makes it so secure. As we already said, the chain of data is not stored on a central network of computers but is copied over across different computers. If hackers ever wanted to breach into a system, they would first have to gain control over individual computers. This is nearly impossible, considering that a blockchain network could be composed of millions of different machines.  

This way of storing data and other opportunities that blockchain offers have quickly attracted many businesses and organization who began implementing blockchain solutions in their daily operations. Not relying on a central clearing authority translates directly to improved security, lower costs, and faster transactions.

Since the system completes most of the operations by itself, the need for human interference is nearly eliminated, which further means that human errors could not impact how blockchain and transactions work.

Furthermore, transactions between people conducted on such a system can be trustworthy, as it is not possible to change or remove data once it’s registered on the ledger and added to the blockchain.

Some Implementations

Nearly all major industries have already adopted the technology. Let’s see a few examples.

Cybersecurity

In the cybersecurity industry, for example, there are already countless startups working on improving online security and eliminating hacking, identity thefts, etc. By using blockchain, these new solutions do not have to rely on the old 'username-password' system, as it is now possible to access and use a service without ever creating usernames and passwords.

The improved security levels are, of course, much better than what we had before, but since the industry is still young, these solutions are not perfect yet and could be still vulnerable to attacks in some cases.

Internet of Things (IoT)

This is yet another industry that has profited from implementing the blockchain technology. Some big names like IBM and Samsung, as well as numerous startups, are working on creating decentralized apps that will be responsible for controlling IoT devices. Since they will be blockchain-powered, the network will be harder to breach into, and there will be significantly fewer abuses.

Healthcare

Blockchain solutions in the healthcare industry are already the old news. Since it is now possible to store patients’ personal and medical data on a distributed network, there are fewer frauds with leaked social security numbers, insurance, social benefits, etc.

Conclusion

Considering that the blockchain technology is currently the best way to store and transact data, many experts agree not only that it is here to stay, but that it will grow in the future. We should not be surprised by such predictions, as it is not easy to replace it with other currently existing technology.

The competing tech would have to be simpler, offer higher levels of security, efficiency, and transparency, but also be able to penetrate all major industries.

At this moment, blockchain does not have such competition.

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15 Must-Have Analytics for Ethereum Blockchain Development

Launching dapps? Monitoring network health? Here are the Ethereum analytics you need so you can build and deploy with confidence.By Danning Sui and Bogdan Gheorghe, Data Scientists at Alethio.Alethio is a comprehensive suite of blockchain exploration, analysis, and forecasting products for the Ethereum network. Visit Alethio’s ethstats.io to explore the Ethereum network today.Last month, in a radical show of transparency, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin shared his public address so the community could see exactly how much ETH he had liquidated for himself. But for Ethereum developers, transaction logs are still only the tip of the analytics iceberg when it comes to deployment.The Ethereum blockchain provides a wealth of data, but as a developer, you need a powerful data engine so you can monitor and process everything from minor behavior to smart contract activity. These metrics help you understand the health of both your deployments and the network at large.This article highlights 15 kinds of real-time Ethereum analytics you need as a builder so you can interpret the network, flag risks, and monitor your dapps. The charts below are from Alethio’s Ethereum testing series. You can subscribe to the series here.Network HealthThe data below is based on reporting from the week of January 13–20, 2019.Gas usage and feesGas is the measure for computational effort performed by the network. Gas usage per block shows the amount of computation triggered by the transactions included in that specific block. The block gas limit is designed to keep block propagation times low, and limit the number of transactions included in a block while also preventing potential misuse by adding a cost layer (having a price per unit of gas prevents potential DOS attacks by making them too expensive). From a high level view, senders pay this cost in exchange for using the Ethereum Virtual Machine. The closer blocks are to getting filled (i.e. reaching the gas limit), the better. Ethereum was designed as a dapp hosting platform — every transaction, every function call, and every token transfer will use up gas — so using the platform = filling the blocks.A Guide to GasBecause miners are responsible for transaction inclusion — and there are always more pending transactions than there is space in a block — miners have to order transactions in a way that maximizes their profit. That usually means ordering them by the amount of gas they will use if included in a block, times the ETH price you pay for each unit of gas (gasPrice * gasFees). This creates a “market” for gas fees — how much you pay per unit of gas used. Your transaction is going to use the amount of gas it needs to succeed (depending on the complexity of the EVM operations it triggers), and there’s nothing you can do about that. However, by setting a higher gas price, you can incentivize miners to pick your transaction above others, increasing the chances that it’s included in a block and executed and doesn’t get stuck in the pending pool. For example, this week, to get their transactions processed, users paid an average of 6.07 GWei in gas fees, which meant they paid 0.2 GWei more than they did last week.Active distinct accountsIn the week analyzed, there were 987,825 different users that either sent or received transactions — more than 40% of those were newly seen for the first time. The number of new accounts gives us insight into the growth of the community. As far as Ethereum addresses go, you don’t exactly “create” a new address. When creating an account, you just generate a random private key, from which you derive the public key. The 40 character hexadecimal strings, (42, if you include the ‘0x’ prefix) that we know as addresses are just the hexadecimal representation of the rightmost 20 bytes of this public key. So by new accounts, we don’t exactly mean “new”. It just means that it’s the first time these accounts were active, by either sending or receiving transactions.Transaction volumeBy comparing the volume of transactions with the past, we can see how active the network has been. The Ethereum Network processed 3,614,857 transactions this week, moving over 15,687,020 ETH. Of those transactions, more than 98% were successful. This success rate indicates both efficiency and that people are using the network as intended. Most transactions fail because they run out of gas — basically, they trigger more computation that they pay for.Hash rateHashrate totals the computing power of miners in the network and is positively related to the difficulty of mining. The difficulty algorithm is sensitive to these changes, meaning it adjusts the difficulty accordingly as to not increase block times. A decrease in activity is always reflected in the hash rate and difficulty of the network. Both hash rate and difficult decreased during the week analyzed, as we can see below. A cause may be that mining profitability has decreased lately, enough to cause some miners to quit and/or others to downsize their activity.Miner BehaviorThe data below is based on reporting from the week of January 20–27, 2019.Mining Pool PayoutsHere we listed the number of blocks mined, number of payout accounts (usually indicates the number of miners registered to the mining pool), total rewards, and payout amount. All the top 5 mining pools appear to have downsized their activity in the past week. The number of blocks they mined and the number of hashers participating in the pool both went down, and with them so have the ETH rewards and payouts.ETH createdAs blocks are mined, ETH are created as rewards for miners. During the week analyzed, 113,650.31 ETH were created, 95.22% of which were from mined block rewards, with the rest consisting of rewards for the occasional mined uncle.New miners added to the networkOut of the total of 4,593 different miners that ever mined on the Ethereum Network since its inception, 86 different miners actually mined blocks this week. For 13 of those, it was their first time. The number of new miners is not interpretable in the sense of “new mining entity”. This wouldn’t be something reflected on-chain. However, any address that mines its first block to the main chain would be.Uncle rateIn Ethereum, when two miners produce competing valid blocks, and broadcast them to the network, one will necessarily be left out, which is known as an uncle. The uncle rate is the rate in which uncle blocks are produced compared to regular blocks. High uncle rates may indicate high network latency, meaning mined blocks don’t propagate efficiently. In the dashboard below, we see that the uncle rate implies good network health condition for the week analyzed.Whale MovementWhales are those top ETH holders who may have huge impact on the network. Their fund movements would likely affect the market price of ETH. The whale movements below are based on reporting from the week of January 27–Feburary 3, 2019.Top 10 balance changesAll of the current top 10 ETH holders have kept their spots in this week: 1 contract, 4 known exchanges, and 5 unlabelled addresses. The only changes registered were slight increases in the balances for 3 of them.Top 1000 balance changesThe top 1000 ETH holders collectively own around two thirds of the entire ETH supply. They remained pretty constant in their composition. Only 29 of the current addresses weren’t present 7 days beforehand. The balances have also remained fairly constant: over 65% of these accounts remained untouched.Biggest send / receiveThe cryptocurrency exchange Binance was responsible for both sending and receiving the largest amounts of ETH this week, moving over 1.2 million ETH in total.Contract ActivityThe data below is based on reporting from the week of February 3–10, 2019.Most popular contractThe most popular dApp, measured by the number of transactions, was Dice2Win, the online ETH betting platform. It was only topped by Sum Token, a utility token, which was the most popular smart contract during the week analyzed, receiving more transactions than any other.Contract populationDuring the week of February 3, a total of 184,933 new smart contracts were created, while 105,814 were destroyed. Both types of operations enjoyed average success rates of over 99%.Contract interactionsContract interactions accounted for almost 80% of the gas usage of the Ethereum network this week. This breakdown bodes well for the Ethereum network and its intended use as a dapp platform. People are using Ethereum to mostly interact with contracts, proving that Ethereum’s applications extend well beyond the scope of a cryptocurrency.Biggest gas guzzlerThe biggest gas guzzler was the contract at address 0xae9b8e05c22bae74d1e8db82c4af122b18050bd4, who was responsible for 7.36% of the entire gas usage. The second biggest gas guzzler was smart contract creation, which used up another 4.1%.Beyond Block Explorers: The Future of Ethereum AnalyticsWe built the Alethio analytics suite to service not just Ethereum enthusiasts but also the developers, dapp teams, and enterprises who need more robust analytics on their builds and deployments. As always, we strive to keep blockchain data as digestible and actionable as possible. We will regularly share our insights around on-chain activity with the ecosystem so both users and builders can better understand and act on the state of the network.The Alethio blockchain exploration and analysis suiteJoin us on ethstats.io to view, search, and zoom in on blockchain data. You can switch between graphs and table views, and sort data sets to get the best view on what’s most important to you. On net.ethstats.io, you can see the bigger picture on network statistics, including best block, network hashrate, and average gas price. And stay tuned for more. Next month, we’ll be releasing an API at EthCC to make blockchain analytics automatic and flexible for you and your team. Alethio is here to make Ethereum data work for you.https://medium.com/media/eb70db0a21c4e8715b29a5306af17d39/hrefDisclaimer: The views expressed by the authors above do not necessarily represent the views of Consensys AG. ConsenSys is a decentralized community with ConsenSys Media being a platform for members to freely express their diverse ideas and perspectives. To learn more about ConsenSys and Ethereum, please visit consensys.net.15 Must-Have Analytics for Ethereum Blockchain Development was originally published in ConsenSys Media on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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