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Are you wondering how to create a blockchain database?
Blockchain is still a niche skill amongst the developer community. In this article, we will guide you on how to create a blockchain database.
How to use blockchain to build a scalable database
While innovative individuals and companies attempt to overcome the current limitations of a purely blockchain-based database, the current prevailing wisdom is to combine the strengths of a conventional relational model of a distributed database with that of a blockchain database.
One of the companies leading the way with this combined distributed/blockchain database model is BigchainDB.
This combined software stack will allow for the best features of both technologies to be incorporated into one database. From the blockchain stack, the database will have decentralized administration, immutability, and enhanced assets, while from the distributed database it will offer scalability and faster data processing speeds.
The key to implementing such a hybrid model is to ensure that the database has several administrators who control how the data is shared. This will allow the database to maintain the decentralized characteristics of a blockchain database while still being a distributed database.
4 Ways To Create a Blockchain Database:
Operational Blockchain Data Store With Enterprise
An operational data store (ODS) is used for operational reporting and in making decisions. In our combined distributed/blockchain stack database, the operational data will represent all the information being received from business processes that are not involved with the blockchain database.
In order to incorporate the blockchain feature of decentralization, the database needs to be controlled by two or more administrators, each of whom is operating from a different location.
In the case of a company based in a single country, these administrators could be based in two separate offices, while in the case of a multinational, they could be based in different countries.
These administrators would then be responsible for the overview of the database and reviewing transactions where necessary. Part of the data stored would be on the blockchain, however, this operational blockchain data store model does prevent outside clients from accessing the data.
Non-Operational Blockchain Data With Enterprise
In order to facilitate client access to the database, a non-operational approach is needed. This approach involves setting up intermediaries who can access the information held on the blockchain database and send it to clients.
While clients would not be able to access the database itself, they would still be able to get the information contained in the database. A key benefit of this approach is the short-latency periods when compared to a standard blockchain database.
Operational Blockchain Data With Consortium
The consortium approach is more in line with traditional blockchain ideology. A consortium could be made up of multiple databases from as many individuals or companies as is required.
This would ensure that the database was completely decentralized and that no one individual or company maintained control. All the companies would act as individual nodes and therefore be required to maintain the database. Such an approach is ideal for supply chain management, etc.
Non-Operational Blockchain Data With Consortium
Once again, intermediaries would be put in place to allow clients to access the data held in the database. Companies that hold personal data or sales information that might be required by outside parties and affiliate organizations, who are not authorized to access the database directly, would benefit from such a database implementation model.
In case you’re thinking about building a scalable database, the first and foremost requirement would be to hire top blockchain developers capable of delivering up-to-standard performance.
Lessons from the BigchainDB project
We talked about various approaches to building a scalable blockchain database. Since blockchain is new, the technology will evolve. Naturally, we will see newer solutions and approaches to building blockchain databases. Newer solutions will evolve based on the lessons from the existing projects.
In this context, it’s important to learn the lessons from the BigchainDB project. We talk about the challenges concerned. Subsequently, we talk about the technology stack that BigchainDB chose. Finally, we talk about the approach that BigchainDB adopted.
The challenges to building a blockchain database
Several challenges exist when we try to create a database using blockchain. These are as follows:
- Low throughput and high latency: We mentioned this in our guide to the blockchain consensus mechanism algorithms. Popular public blockchain networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum have low transaction throughput and high latency.
- Scalability: Adding decentralized nodes to a blockchain network results in more network traffic, and this further reduces blockchain transactions throughput. Public blockchain networks lack scalability.
- The lack of querying capabilities: You need querying capabilities in a database. Blockchain lacks that, which is a key disadvantage.
Turning the question fundamentally: Adding the features of a blockchain to a database
The team at BigchainDB thought of tackling the above-mentioned challenges by changing the fundamental assumptions. We talked about the challenges of using blockchain as a database. However, the BigchainDB team changed the question fundamentally.
The project team decided against using blockchain as the starting point and creating a database from it. Instead, the team chose to take a database solution to start with. The team added the relevant features of blockchain to this database.
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MongoDB: The database that the BigchainDB team chose
The BigchainDB team chose MongoDB as the database for this. We can certainly say that it’s a sound decision. MongoDB offers the following advantages:
- It’s one of the most popular open-source NoSQL databases.
- MongoDB stores data elements as documents using the BSON (Binary JSON) format. This allows developers to store unstructured data like documents, key-value pairs, lists, etc. to store data on MongoDB.
- MongoDB doesn’t require a rigid schema since it’s not an RDBMS (Relational Database Management Systems).
- MongoDB offers performance, availability, and scalability.
- You can deploy MongoDB on the cloud and on-premises.
- You can get both premium support and robust community support for MongoDB.
A brief overview of the solution that BigchainDB implemented
BigchainDB uses two distributed databases. It calls one database “S”, and this is the transaction backlog database. BigchainDB calls the other database “C”, and this is the blockchain database. The project connects these two databases using the BigchainDB Consensus Algorithm (BCA).
This solution from BigchainDB includes “signing nodes”. These nodes validate transactions, and they can form a federation. “Non-signing nodes” are the other nodes, and they can’t validate transactions. These nodes can request transactions, read records, transfer cryptographic assets, etc.
BigchainDB runs BCA between the two databases. This process takes transactions from “S”, validates them, and forms new blocks in “C”. With two distributed databases and a consensus algorithm running between them, BigchainDB creates a blockchain database.
My Final Thoughts
So, this is it for how to create a blockchain database. The benefits of blockchain databases are simply too huge to overlook. In the business world, anything that gives a company the edge over its competitors must be implemented as quickly as possible.
While a purebred blockchain decentralized database is not yet ready to replace most existing distributed databases, when blockchain technology is implemented alongside a distributed database, a new realm of exciting possibilities opens up.
As I have shown, these hybrid databases are able to combine the strengths of both technology stacks to make better and more secure databases. The ramifications of the wide-scale implementation of such databases are enormous.
Sensitive company/client data can be made even more secure and resistant to manipulation. This will help to build trust with clients and outside agencies such as governments etc.
This will effectively lead to greater transparency between companies and their clients, something which will inevitably result in increased confidence and trust among all parties involved.
Since governments would know that these databases are more secure and resistant to manipulation, they would be able to reduce the level of oversight and even regulate certain parts of the industry. Fewer regulations lead to a better and more efficient business environment, something which will benefit everyone involved.
In the next few years, we should see most of the top global companies implement at least one of the blockchain systems approaches I have just outlined.
With the number of global database breaches increasing every year, many of which are now being targeted for cyber ransoms, databases based on blockchain architecture are now more important than ever.
These kinds of concerns will be the catalyst that fuels the real blockchain revolution, which I believe will be a lot bigger and long-lasting than bitcoin.
If you are looking forward to implementing your own blockchain system for your enterprise and want to partner with experienced blockchain developers who are familiar with the underlying blockchain technology, DevTeam.Space can help you.
Write to us your blockchain project specifications via this form and one of our competent managers will get back to you to discuss further details and connect you with the relevant blockchain developer.
Here are a few articles that might also interest you:
Frequently Asked Questions on a how to create a blockchain database
Blockchain is a type of database but not all databases are blockchain. It is a digital ledger technology that allows databases to be managed over a decentralized network. The blockchain structure involves data being recorded in blocks. Blocks are added in such a way that they are linked to each previous block data structure on decentralized nodes in the network and form a secure chain of data entries. This makes blockchain ledger an immutable data storage technology. There are public and private blockchain networks
Blockchain technology currently has a number of advantages over other databases approaches. The information is not held in any centralized database meaning that no one entity is controlling all the transactions ensuring data integrity. Blockchain stores information on decentralized databases. The other big benefit is that the data is recorded in a blockchain through data structures called blocks which makes it immutable.
Provided that it is possible to both add more nodes as well as upgrade the blockchain operations processing capacity of the existing nodes on the blockchain solution network, theoretically, blockchain projects can be scaled as much as is needed.