Given the potential security benefits of using a blockchain approach to storing data, there’s naturally a lot of interest in applying what amounts to a new method for constructing a distributed database. There’s not much agreement, however, when it comes to how best to go about building such databases.
One alternative to the blockchain technology that is used to drive Bitcoin currency transactions is known as a distributed hashgraph consensus platform that is being advanced by Swirlds. To help build developer momentum around that approach, Swirlds has now made available a free software development kit.
As founder and CEO of Swirlds, Dr. Leemon Baird contends that two primary problems with the blockchain technology are the amount of processing power it takes to drive a Bitcoin database and the fact that it’s possible to tamper with the order in which transactions are recorded. The former issue makes using Bitcoin technology unaffordable to the average organization, while the latter casts doubt on the integrity of the whole approach, says Baird.
In contrast, Baird says, the distributed hashgraph consensus platform developed by Swirlds creates a distributed ledger that doesn’t require independent software vendors (ISVs) to invoke the CPU horsepower of a supercomputer to run it.
“For most ISVs today the blockchain technology used in Bitcoins is cost prohibitive,” says Baird.
Just as significantly, Baird notes, a distributed hashtag consensus platform eliminates any possibility of tampering with the order that transactions are recorded in. Each recorded transaction has to gain the timestamp consensus of all the other transactions recorded in the database, says Baird.
Because the blockchain format is invisible to most end users, Baird adds, ISVs and enterprise IT organizations alike won’t care what the specific underlying blockchain technology they use is, as long as it’s both affordable and truly secure.
It’s early days when it comes to usage of any particular type of blockchain technology. But if history is any guide, the first iteration of any emerging technology is not usually the ultimate form it arrives in for consumption by the IT masses.