How Is Blockchain Different From Traditional Database Models?

A blockchain is a type of database that stores data in blocks that are chained together. Each block contains a record of multiple transactions, and once a block is added to the chain it cannot be altered. This makes the data in a blockchain tamper-evident and immutable.

A traditional database is a collection of data that is stored in a structured way, typically on a server or a computer, and is used for fast and efficient data retrieval. Databases can be used for a wide variety of purposes, such as storing customer information, product inventory, and financial records. Unlike a blockchain, the data in a traditional database can be easily modified, deleted, or added to by authorized users.

One key difference between a blockchain and a traditional database is the way they are distributed and maintained. A traditional database is usually controlled by a single organization or entity, while a blockchain is decentralized and distributed across a network of computers. This means that multiple parties can access and contribute to a blockchain, and no single party has complete control over it. This makes blockchains more resistant to tampering and censorship, and enables them to be used for a variety of applications, such as peer-to-peer transactions, supply chain management, and voting systems.


What is the difference between a blockchain and a database?

If you know about cryptocurrency, then you probably know what blockchain is. Blockchain is the technology that makes sure transactions are correct, clear, and can't be changed. What's the point of this tech? When you're working with a lot of different people, there's always the chance that things won't be the same. Even if you trust the other person completely, mistakes will happen.

Let's look at a quick example. If you're meeting a friend for dinner and their clock didn't change for daylight saving time, it was an accident, but it didn't make them any less late. Blockchain technology works in a way that is similar to how the clock on your phone automatically adjusts itself, but instead of the time coming from a single central authority, it is decided by a majority vote of everyone on the network.

Distributed Database vs Blockchain

Centralization is the main difference between a blockchain and a database. In a database, all of the records are kept in one place, but in a blockchain, each participant has a secure copy of all of the records and all of the changes. This way, each user can see where the data came from. The magic happens when there is a difference between the records. Since each participant keeps a copy of the records, blockchain technology can find and fix any wrong information right away. Your friend's watch would immediately adjust for daylight saving time. Even if a third person changed the time on purpose to make them late, the time would be checked against all participants and adjusted right away.

When data can automatically identify itself and fix itself based on coded business logic (smart contracts) and consensus, participants can trust it on its own. Most of the time, when two businesses work together, they don't share a single database with a single set of records. This is because a database administrator keeps the database up-to-date (DBA). One of the companies pays that DBA, so he or she has an interest in the success of one of the companies, but not necessarily the other. If they want to make a change that helps their company, the other company would never know. On the other hand, if a competitor pays off the DBA in a sneaky way, they can make any change they want to the database and neither party will ever know.

When blockchain technology is added to the data process, you get rid of the single point of failure, which in this case is the DBA, and make sure that if one participant makes a change, the other participants immediately fix it. After the data fixes itself, the record of changes that can't be changed will show who tried to make the change. With the data process secured, a business can not only trust the data shared between the companies they are working with but can even trust the data shared by competitors. For example, if Samsung and Apple share technology, Samsung can trust that Apple has paid for it, and Apple can trust that Samsung has given it to them.


Trust the data

When competitors can trust the data being shared, an interesting thing happens: it opens the door for more people in the same industry to join the blockchain network and see more of the data. Expanding on the previous example, if Samsung and Apple are sharing technology and data on a blockchain network and a transportation company joins the network, the data that the transportation company wants to share on the network is immediately available to each of the other participants and then copied to their records. Every time one of the participants makes a change, all of the participants validate the new version of the record. In this case, Apple could follow the shipment from Samsung's factory to Apple's manufacturing center.

Also, if a bank is added to the network, payment to the bank and to each participant after a transaction can be triggered automatically when a condition in the data is met. Because this data is secured and validated by all the participants, no single participant can fraudulently or accidentally change the data to meet the conditional trigger in the data.


How is blockchain different from traditional database models?

Blockchain and traditional database models have some key differences that set them apart. Here are some of the main differences:

  • Decentralization: A blockchain is a decentralized system, meaning there is no central authority controlling the network. In contrast, traditional database models typically have a centralized structure, where a central authority manages the data.
  • Immutable: In a blockchain, once data is recorded, it cannot be altered or deleted. This creates a tamper-proof ledger that can be trusted. Traditional databases, on the other hand, allow for updates, deletions, and modifications to data.
  • Consensus Mechanisms: Blockchains use consensus mechanisms, such as Proof of Work (PoW) or Proof of Stake (PoS), to validate transactions and add new blocks to the chain. In contrast, traditional databases do not require consensus mechanisms as they rely on a central authority to manage and validate transactions.
  • Transparency:: Blockchains are transparent, meaning anyone can view the data stored on the chain. In contrast, traditional databases may not be transparent as access to data is controlled by the central authority managing the database.
  • Security: The decentralized and immutable nature of blockchains makes them more secure than traditional databases. Since data cannot be altered or deleted, it is much harder for bad actors to manipulate the data or commit fraud.

Overall, the key differences between blockchain and traditional database models center around their structure, governance, and security. Blockchains offer a more decentralized, transparent, and secure way of storing and managing data, while traditional databases are more centralized and offer greater control over the data.

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