You don't have to be the most tech-savvy person on the globe to know that Blockchain has made some pretty severe waves across several industries. The technology itself enables its users to create a secure and decentralized method of storing their data and making transactions.
Simply put, Blockchain has the potential to rush into a new era of conducting business, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that forefront industries such as web development have also taken quite an interest in the technology.
As such, in this article, we’ll take a more in-depth glance at Blockchain, its potential advantages, drawbacks, and overall impact on web development and design.
You may have heard about the tech, but you may not know that initially, it was introduced back in 1991. The idea was to create a distributed ledger technology, and today, it’s still gaining strong global momentum, showing little to no signs of stopping.
As a matter of fact, several tech aficionados believe that Blockchain represents the next digital revolution. And while the initial introduction was in ’91, the first real-world Blockchain application happened in 2008, by the now legendary Satoshi Nakamoto, the father of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
Since then, tech has mated into finance, manufacturing supply chains, healthcare, government, advertising, and more. Still, how does it actually work?
As mentioned above, Blockchain is a disruptive technology, only storing and recording the ownership of decentralized ledgers or digital assets, promoting data integrity, transparency, and an overall distributed nature. Simply put, Blockchain holds data in individual blocks, linking them with a chain of cryptographic proofs. The stored data is in chronological sequence and can’t be deleted or modified without network consensus. Needless to say, this creates a decentralized, immutable, and transparent network.
From this aspect, Blockchain can truly revolutionize several industries working in trustless digital environments, as it can improve security. Still, this doesn’t mean the technology is bulletproof, but more on that later.
Blockchain and Web Design
From the standpoint of web design, Blockchain has definitely managed to make some serious waves. For starters, it bought about a shift in the development of decentralized hosting platforms.
In other words, Blockchain made the need for a central authority figure or the need for a third party to perform web hosting services obsolete. With the help of Blockchain, hosting is managed by the network users who maintain and store their data.
Hosting also became more secure, faster, and less expensive when compared to traditional authority or third-party methods.
Furthermore, the data on the website is immutable. In layman’s terms, Blockchain ensures that the data visitors see on the site is interchangeable, untampered, and consistently accurate. This raises the bar for website credibility, reliability, and trustworthiness.
Lastly, users can see every transaction on the network. This increased transparency has given website owners an excellent opportunity to build more trust with their users on their sites/networks.
Blockchain and Web Development
Blockchain has also had quite an impact on web development. For instance, in the case of smart, contract-based web apps, Blockchain is able to automate even more complex transactions and business processes, such as confirming online shopping deliveries and handling payments. This makes the interactions between apps and users faster, easier, and more secure.
Also, Blockchain security protocols generally provide a safer environment via secure authentication mechanisms and improved encryption, preventing sensitive data from landing in unauthorized hands.
How does this work? For instance, instead of just entering a password and a username, a Blockchain site will also prompt you to enter a unique code that’s generated by the network. When sure of the code’s validity, the security protocol will send back the confirmation to the site, enabling you to log in. Needless to say, the sensitive credentials will be encryption-protected.
And some might argue that the best part is that the tech allows seamless integration with already existing technologies like servers, APIs, databases, and more.
Are There Any Challenges for Blockchain in Web Development?
At first glance, it’s clear that Blockchain does have some serious benefits both in terms of design and development, but it’s not entirely smooth sailing.
First of all, some experts have criticized the technology for its limited capability. The more people you have on the network, the more you risk slowing down the system, and performance may go down the drain. Still, as the technology evolves, newer blockchain solutions are capable of handling more considerable traffic with more efficacy, and developers are also learning new ways to optimize performance.
On the other hand, the development processes in Blockchain can be utterly complex and generally more intricate than development with traditional frameworks and technologies. The process requires dedication, knowledge, and skills. Still, as time goes by, Blockchain will become increasingly adopted and will get more standardized, decreasing the challenges associated with development and expertise.
And sometimes, seamless integration may not be as seamless as we’ve mentioned above. The problem is that Blockchain basically functions differently (decentralized network), which is usually the opposite of how traditional web technologies work.
This can sometimes lead to integration delays as developers have to put in the work to ensure that everything works harmoniously together, and this often comes with a trial-and-error strategy. Still, the benefits can potentially outweigh the negatives, especially from the standpoint of elevated website security.
Summing Up The Pros and Cons Of Blockchain Development
Better Overall Transparency and Immutability
In traditional database settings, the data will be examined and verified by a centralized authority, while in a Blockchain network, the transactions will be recorded in a public ledger. This means that every user can view how pieces of data got collected, processed, and stored, increasing overall transparency across the entire network.
Apart from this, all transactions are date-and time-stamped, which eliminates the possibility of fraud because every node in the network will have the same documentation, and the shared versions can only be altered after consensus, meaning that every network member should agree on it.
This means that no transaction record on the ledger can be deleted or modified without altering all subsequent records. Lastly, the technology’s immutability makes the network resistant to centralized authority corruption, such as banking institutions and governments.
Low Maintenance and Operational Costs
By not needing centralized servers and other mediators to run operations, the overhead costs of running a site can be lowered with the help of blockchain development. On the other hand, all transactions will take place within the network; there’s no need to get a payment processing application or other gateways.
Lastly, there are also no additional costs associated with security protocols as Blockchain’s own out-of-the-box encryption and security processes are often more reliable than cutting-edge solutions used by traditional payment systems.
Blockchain technology can usually be easily integrated with other systems either as an application platform or in the form of BaaS (Blockchain-as-a-service).
In the first case, businesses will need to invest in developing the application platform to use the decentralized tech. Still, in the latter case, the business can simply connect with networks directly through BaaS “ports.” The latter provides a simple and easy way for businesses of any size to reap the benefits of Blockchain and the benefits it can provide.
Easy To Trace
Lastly, each Blockchain transaction is stored in a distributed database in the network. This creates an easily trackable audit trail. In contrast, traditional databases are usually not transparent and immutable, and verifying any arising problems can be time-consuming and an uphill battle with them.
As already mentioned above, Blockchain development technology, at the moment, can’t really handle more optimally than only a few transactions per second. On a large scale, performance can suffer, leading to crashes and delays. The problem behind this is that the blocks that record and store information only come in fixed sizes. Each block is only around 1MB, and because of this, scalability is generally referred to as poor.
Issues With Regulations
Today, money flow is regulated by the government in most countries. Blockchain tech, with its decentralized nature, poses a massive challenge in this respect. Also, this is why cryptocurrencies have had such a hard time gaining government acceptance.
Delays in Transactions
Another persistent problem of this technology is that miners need to solve computational puzzles to register transactions, which can take up to a couple of hours and takes much more time than traditional payment methods.
What About The Future of Blockchain in Web Development?
Those who strongly support the technology behind Blockchain are pretty convinced that its future is promising. Truth be told, it does have the potential to usher in a new era of new interaction with customers and can change the way we make transactions.
Blockchain can create transparent and secure supply chains, eliminating the need for intermediaries and building better trust between customers and suppliers.
With time, Blockchain will also be capable of facilitating less expensive, faster, and more secure online payment methods, and intermediaries like banks won’t be needed any longer.
Blockchain tech can also help with the verification of digital identities, which would mean the end of the good old username-and-password route. On that note, statistics show that the worldwide Blockchain identity management market is expected to boom by 2026, reaching a total of $11.46 billion, which is a respectable compound annual growth rate of 79.2% between the period 2019-2026.
To that end, Blockchain technology won’t only mean a new era in web design, but it has the potential to revolutionize the entire digital economy.
Summing Things Up
By now, you can see that Blockchain can potentially change how we conduct business. It’s a technology that does more than introduce a few cool features into web design. Still, this technology can improve security, which has been a crucial web development feature since the first cyber attack, ties into web development and design closely, offering better security and enhanced credibility, trust, and new job opportunities.
Still, the technology is far from perfect at this time. Performance issues can lead to painstaking delays, and until the legal issues surrounding the way money is being handled within the network, we probably won’t be able to see the true and full potential of the technology.
Still, in the long run, Blockchain can help web development services build more secure, better-performing, more reliable, and more trusted platforms that will definitely open new doors in the world of the digital economy.