Blockchain: Can this be done with a database?

Greetings, all! IBM Code recently published a blog post of mine of the same title as this post on the IBM Code Blog.

This is a good question. I mean, isn’t Blockchain just a new kind of database? Well, yes, and no. It’s a database in the sense that it is a data store. But it’s not like any traditional database I’ve ever worked with (and I’m talking about relational databases, mostly).

The first question to answer in this dialogue is: What is a “Database”? Once we answer that question we can get the discussion centered around the topic at hand, which is why Blockchain cannot be done with a database.

Then, we have to answer this question: What is the Blockchain, anyway? After all, if we don’t really know what we mean by “Blockchain” (not that we don’t; we just need to all get on the same page w/r/t to the term Blockchain) how can we really talk about what it is and is not?

As I explain in the IBM Code post, the attributes of blockchain that distinguish it from a traditional (relational) database are that it is:

  • Distributed across boundaries of trust
  • Visible to all participants
  • An immutable ledger
  • Always appended
  • A dis-intermediation enabler

That’s a lot, I know. So be sure to check out the full post on the IBM Code Blog.

Thanks for reading, and happy Blockchaining!

What? That’s a word.

–jsp

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