Blockchain has been one of the most loudly trumpeted new technologies on the enterprise database scene in recent history, writes Big Data Quarterly columnist Jim Scott. However, he notes, the concept of a blockchain is not really a new notion: “It is more of a repackaging of existing constructs to deliver a new set of benefits to any organization leveraging it for their use cases. It provides the benefit of irrevocable proof, and it reduces friction with information exchange.”
At the heart of a blockchain, writes Scott, there is the notion of a shared distributed ledger. “This is exactly what it sounds like: a ledger, which is equivalent to a checkbook. Each entry is written to the ledger, which contains a complete history of all entries/records. Importantly, in order to make a change to a single entry, the entire ledger would need to be rewritten. This ledger is at the core of using the blockchain as a system of record. Because of its underlying immutability, it can deliver a higher level of trust. When leveraging the sharing feature to share the ledger with a notary service, there is an additional layer to prove that nefarious actors could not have tampered with the data in the ledger.”
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