ProvenDB, a new blockchain-enabled database service, has launched an early access program. The MongoDB-compatible database service aims to make it easier for developers to build cutting-edge apps which leverage the immutable public blockchain, and make it possible to maintain multiple versions of data and anchor these to the blockchain. The resulting database versions are tamper-proof, immutable, and cryptographically provable.
The company also announced the availability of an open source application called ProvenDocs, which allows end users to upload documents and get blockchain-certified proofs.
ProvenDB is built by a team of database experts, and led by founder and CTO Guy Harrison, who is an industry leader, DBTA columnist, and author of several books on databases, including “Next Generation Databases.”
it is part of Southbank Software, a Melbourne-based software development company funded by investment firm Toba Capital, whose founder, Vinny Smith, is the former CEO and chairman of the database management company Quest Software.
According to the company, ProvenDB bridges the gap between databases and the public blockchain by layering on top of a standard database engine, adding core blockchain characteristics to the database. The resulting database respects all usual database “CRUD” operations (Create-Read-Update-Delete)—but also leverages the blockchain to provide an immutable, tamper-proof history of the data stored within the database.
It provides a database service that combines the features of a familiar document database with the blockchain characteristics of immutability and tamper-proof storage. Using ProvenDB, applications can easily provide incontestable proofs of data integrity and provenance and allow users to view previous versions of the database and provide a complete and provable audit trail of data changes.
According to Harrison, up until now, data in a database can only be trusted to the extent that you trust the DBA or developer or application. There is no practical way to prevent backdating or tampering of data in most databases. One of the key revolutions delivered by blockchain technology was the creation of the proof of work algorithm, which for the first time allowed the creation of an immutable data ledger with tamper-proof data history and integrity. Unfortunately, blockchain is too slow and expensive to be used in real-world applications and demands that the application developers learn a whole new paradigm.
ProvenDB, said Harrison, integrates the blockchain with MongoDB allowing developers to add blockchain data integrity to their applications without requiring them to learn blockchain programming. The resulting applications acquire tamper-proof data integrity and history without suffering from the performance and economic penalties of the blockchain.
“Blockchain has sometimes been described as the world’s worst database,” explained Harrison. “It offers poor transactional throughput, and high storage costs. However, its killer feature is the ability to anchor items to a provable timestamp, allowing us for the first time, to prove the creation time of a data item and confirm its integrity. This is revolutionary for applications requiring legal or cryptographic proofs.”
“Blockchain technology represents the largest paradigm shift for data management since the advent of the relational database more than 30 years ago,” added Smith. “For blockchain to go mainstream, application developers need the performance and ease of use of a centralized database with the immutability and time stamps of the public blockchain. ProvenDB will usher in a new era of applications that have high transactional throughput, low latency, and legal proofs stored on the public blockchain for transparency and auditability.”
With the launch of the ProvenDB early access program, the company also announced the availability of an end-user application, ProvenDocs, built on ProvenDB, which allows users to upload any document. The integrity, ownership and creation date of the documents are reliably stored on the blockchain and the content of the documents can be private or shared.
Developers can register for early access at www.provendb.com and www.provendocs.com