While commonly associated with cryptocurrency, blockchain is a form of technology that is being increasingly adopted by a number of different industries. By 2027, the industry is expected to be worth $126 billion, due in no small part to its wide range of applications.
Blockchain technology offers many advantages, not least of all extreme security. How does this relate to app development? Well, given the increasing threat to online security posed by hackers and cybercriminals, teams that provide mobile app development in Melbourne are looking for ways that they can protect user data, promote transparency, and build trust.
The speed at which technology evolves can make it difficult to keep up with the latest developments in the app industry. Newpath Web is committed to keeping our finger on the pulse. In our experienced and trusted opinion, blockchain is set to be the future of mobile app development — so jump on board now!
What is blockchain?
Many people find blockchain a little difficult to get their head around, so let’s start with a basic definition. According to IBM, blockchain is a “shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets”. Still confused? Let’s break it down even further.
Blockchain is a system for recording information that makes it impossible to change. Think of it as an Excel spreadsheet — an application for recording data. What makes blockchain immutable? Well, the ledger (or spreadsheet) that contains the information is accessible by all network participants. No participant can alter a record after it’s been added. If an error occurs and a change needs to be made, these details are also recorded on the chain for everyone to see.
Each transaction is termed a ‘block’. These blocks are connected together to form a ‘chain’ (block+chain=blockchain). Once connected, blocks cannot be removed. Each transaction (or block) is then distributed to a number of connected devices, known as ‘nodes’.
The system of record keeping reduces the need to cross check information and means you won’t need to waste time tracking where and when errors occurred. Given that no one can delete or alter a transaction, you can be confident that your data is secure.
There are a number of different types of blockchain networks. Public networks are used for applications like Bitcoin. Anyone can participate in the network and view the ledger. Private or permissioned networks are often used by businesses and the number of network participants will be strictly monitored and limited.
Blockchain and app development
So, how can blockchain be applied to mobile app development?
One of the key terms used to describe blockchain is ‘decentralised’. This means that no one entity is in control of the database. Rather, all ‘nodes’ (remember, a node is a device connected to the blockchain) have equal and interconnected authority. Should one ‘node’ crash, the entire operating system can continue to run, and the user will not be affected. When used in mobile app development, a blockchain database means the infrastructure of your app will remain intact.
Typically, when building and running an app, you collect significant amounts of user data. The most damaging types of data breaches can occur when this user data is accessed by unauthorised third parties. Using a blockchain database can prevent this from occurring, thanks to the encrypted and secure nature of the technology.
Blockchain technology can also be implemented within an app (as opposed to used in the process of building), particularly applications that offer mobile payments. ‘Peer-to-peer transactions’ are spruiked to be the next big thing, removing the need for a third party, such as a bank, to authorise payment. Blockchain, with its permanent, time-stamped data recording capabilities, is expected to facilitate this type of transaction.
‘Smart contracts’ is another buzzword often used in relation to mobile app development and blockchain. A smart contract is a type of code written into a blockchain, which executes a particular action when predetermined conditions are met. For example, the insurance industry could benefit from the implementation of smart contracts. In the case of life insurance, uploading a death certificate would be the trigger to releasing payments to named beneficiaries. Whether or not an app will be developed with these capabilities remains to be seen, but it would certainly have a significant impact on the industry.
Newpath Web — innovative, passionate, and driven
Here at Newpath Web, we consider ourselves to be industry leaders in mobile app development in Melbourne. While blockchain may still be in its infancy, we are constantly looking for ways we can capitalise on the technology to the benefit of our clients.
Our team has experience in blockchain software development and can help you build secure, decentralised apps that increase transparency and customer trust. Contact our friendly team today to find out more.