Blockchain Technology: Functional Characteristics of Blockchain Technology

Blockchain is essentially a distributed storage system. Because it adopts a transaction accounting storage model, it can also be called a distributed accounting system.

Blockchain Technology: Functional Characteristics of Blockchain Technology
Blockchain technology

Let’s talk about the functional characteristics of blockchain technology:

1. Decentralization

In traditional platform technology, central decision-making is a very common data processing method. For example, in the traditional bank transfer method, transaction information must be processed by the bank’s central server cluster, and the two tasks are completed through layers of data upload and instruction distribution. transactions between accounts. Every transaction in the blockchain is directly communicated and transacted by both parties. From the initiation of the transaction to the confirmation of transaction completion, all nodes are equal and have exactly the same permissions without going through any intermediaries. This kind of The peer-to-peer transaction model in the network makes blockchain applications free from the risks of intermediary transactions.

It should be noted that although blockchain is often called a distributed ledger, and is even essentially a distributed storage system, blockchain is different from conventional distributed systems in that its distributed structure is more special. Distribution is a concept corresponding to centralization. All sub-nodes in the centralized structure only interact with the central node and have no connection with each other. Therefore, the central node needs to bear all the load. A centralized system Efficiency is basically only related to the processing speed of the central node. At the same time, once the central node encounters problems such as blocking, deadlock, and downtime, the entire centralized system will stagnate or even collapse directly. The characteristic of the distributed structure is that there are multiple nodes that can interact with other nodes for data. Distributed network storage technology stores data dispersedly on multiple independent machines and devices. This sounds a bit confusing, but it is easy to understand if it is classified and described based on the characteristics of centralization. The distributed structure includes multi-centralized structure and decentralized structure.

A polycentralized system refers to a system composed of multiple centralized systems, each of which includes a master node and several slave nodes. When performing task processing, the master node decomposes the task into multiple sub-tasks and sends them to multiple subordinate slave nodes for simultaneous processing. After the slave node transmits the processing results back to the master node, the master node will integrate the processing results of each sub-task and finally complete the task. Of course, this is just a simplified description of task processing. A multi-centralized system may have a multi-layer master-slave structure, forming a tree-like task allocation structure. At the same time, slave nodes may also take orders from multiple master nodes to maximize efficiency based on complex task management mechanisms. But the fundamental difference between multi-centralization and decentralization is whether there is a central node that controls the operation of each master node. If the top-most node is multiple nodes, then it is decentralized. On the contrary, if there is only one node at the top, it is decentralized. It’s multi-centered.

In decentralization, there is a more special structure that does not have any center, which can be called a completely decentralized structure. This is also a peer-to-peer network structure. This structure is reflected in the Bitcoin network. . The relative advantages of point-to-point network structure are high fault tolerance, strong node scalability, strong privacy and data consistency, etc. However, there are also problems such as redundant communication and message delay.

The “decentralization” emphasized in the general blockchain field mostly refers to the ownership level of the system. The system is decentralized if it belongs to the community and all accounts, and the system is centralized if it belongs to an institution or even an individual. Decentralization is a common feature of blockchain, but the completely decentralized structure of peer-to-peer networks has few current applications. Only public chains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum belong to this structure, because anyone in the world can Enter the system at any time to read data, send confirmable transactions, and compete for accounting activities, which results in the inability to guarantee its security and system efficiency. Private chains often have one or more centers that control the nodes, and all operations require permission from the center and are subject to its constraints and restrictions. Although it uses a decentralized mechanism for routine data processing, it is strictly A distributed blockchain deployment model. The alliance chain can be regarded as a collection of private chains, which is a compromise between the security and efficiency of the public chain. It adopts a multi-center technical architecture.

2. De-trust

Due to the natural characteristics of the blockchain that cannot be tampered with, it is based on the consensus algorithm to ensure data consistency. No node in the system can tamper with or forge transactions. All transaction contents are certain and undisputed, and there will be no credit risk in transactions. Then The blockchain system also has the characteristics of trustlessness.

Based on the changes in the content carried in the block from transactions to smart contracts, the trustlessness of the blockchain has two stages. The first stage is trust in the authenticity of historical transaction behaviors in the blockchain network, and the second stage is based on smart contracts. Trust in future trading behavior based on contract rules.

The first stage of trust in the authenticity of historical behaviors can be simply understood as the blockchain system eliminates the process of proving historical transactions. When we tell others that something has happened, we need evidence to make others believe it, and this evidence often needs to be proved by a credible third party and provided with a credit guarantee through verification. For example, the electronic transaction slip provided by the shopping platform is evidence when shopping online, the tax bureau invoice provided by the restaurant when dining out is evidence, or the marriage certificate provided by the institution when purchasing a house using the identity of a couple is evidence. The person who accepts this information also needs to verify the evidence to be sure that these things have indeed happened. Corresponding to the previous article, when an online shopping dispute occurs, it is necessary to check whether the electronic transaction slip of the shopping platform actually exists; When reimbursing expenses, the signature of the invoice needs to be verified; when confirming the identity of two people as a couple, the anti-counterfeiting mark of the marriage certificate needs to be verified. However, the data in the blockchain system is considered to be non-tamperable and non-forgery. Therefore, as long as you explain a historical event to other nodes on the chain, you do not need any third-party certification, because the information on the data block can be obtained at any time. Come out and verify it directly, which results in the distrust of historical transactions in the blockchain.

The second stage is trust in future transaction behavior, because in an ideal state, the smart contract of the blockchain is bound to the business, that is, the smart contract has enforceability in the blockchain system. Because the smart code is completely public and is recorded in the main chain and stored by all accounts. After the smart contract is called or triggered by a certain mechanism, the transaction will be enforced and there is no possibility of denial. Therefore, users in the blockchain system do not have to worry about the other party’s credit risk in the future, and there is a lack of trust in future transactions.

3. Open traceability

In the public chain, the ledger of each node completely records all transactions. The blockchain does not directly record real-time account information, but obtains real-time account information through transaction tracing. At the same time, because anyone can create a zone If a blockchain account is used to form a blockchain node, then the information in the public chain can be considered open to everyone, which forms the open and traceable features of the blockchain. And because the code of the public chain is often open source, what is open and traceable is not only the transaction data in the system, but also the transaction rules of the entire system. The high degree of openness and transparency enables the blockchain to meet many application scenarios that require open data. .

However, the blockchain has developed a variety of variants based on the Bitcoin network, such as lighter nodes, private chains, and consortium chains. These variants cannot meet open traceability in the strict sense. Light nodes can only execute and verify transactions, and do not have all transaction data for traceability, so light nodes do not have traceability. However, this problem only lies in the user’s choice. If there is a good enough hardware environment, the user can choose to become a full node instead of a light node in order to master all data. In addition, access permission or verification is required to join a private chain or alliance chain, and read permissions are selectively open to the outside world and are not open to the entire network, which does not meet the strict sense of openness.

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