The blockchain is an emerging technology that came into the market in the first decade of the 21st century. Nowadays it is a hot topic for discussion but most of don’t know why it is considered as a breakthrough in computer science. In this article, we will be discussing features and components of blockchain which makes it a prominent candidate who deserve this hype.
Peer to peer network
The blockchain is a peer to peer network which means devices on its network will be interlinked with each other and every device will have a copy of this decentralized ledger. Whenever these devices sync over the internet this copy of ledger will be updated and validate the new transaction block depending on consensus algorithm. Being on peer to peer network is a critical feature of blockchain as it establishes distributed trust.
Nodes are Components of the blockchain , each and every participant of blockchain is called a node.
These nodes will have copies of the ledger which is used to verify that there aren’t any anomalies in previous transactions with a new update for the ledger.
Whenever a document or some data is sent then the user needs to be verified using digital signatures. Hashing feature of blockchain is a part of that process where the content of the document is passed through a hash function to create a digest on the sender’s end as well as receiver’s end.
Cryptography is a process of converting it to unreadable text by passing it through a complex mathematical function. Cryptography feature of blockchain is used to encrypt data and hash digests before sending them to the receiver. Data is encrypted using receiver’s public key and decrypted using private key whereas sender’s private key is used to encrypt digest which becomes a digital signature and sender’s public key to decrypt digital signature for procuring digest.
Digital signatures feature of blockchain is used to verify the identity of the user. A digital signature uses public key and private key but it doesn’t encrypt the data on the document. Whenever a user sends a document in blockchain hashing is done to create a digest then this digest is encrypted using a sender’s private key which makes a digital signature. This digital signature is attached with the document and the receiver can verify the sender’s identity by decrypting the signature using the sender’s key and gets a digest of a document. Now receiver can verify that the information on the document is intact and it has not been modified while sending by creating a digest of the received document and matching it with the one procured on decrypting digital signature.
Although there are dozens of startups working on new consensus algorithms which will be much faster as the transaction costs are going to be less. Conventional algorithm feature of blockchain is referencing for writing this article.
Consensus algorithm is a process to reach an agreement by receiving 51% votes in a distributed system. In blockchain Consensus algorithms are used for the following:
- Designating some nodes as leaders in blockchain to speed up the validation process.
- Decision to commit transactions to database.
- Synchronizing participants of blockchain and their copies of the ledger.
Consensus algorithm is the heart of blockchain because it is the most important and time-consuming process. Above mentioned three functions are implemented differently by blockchains to emphasize either on security or on speed depending on their targeted application. Consensus algorithms are continuously being developed, we will discuss some of them in the next article.
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