Blockchain Architecture: The Fundamentals, Structure, and Benefits
In this article, you will learn the core components of Blockchain architecture, key characteristics of Blockchain architecture, Blockchain algorithm, and types of Blockchain architecture.
However, there is a difference between various Blockchains, but herein is a general architecture. Meanwhile, it is worthy to note that some Blockchains like Polkadot, Ontology, Cosmos, etc operate multiple chains.
Before we go any further, let us explain Blockchain architecture.
What Is Blockchain Architecture?
Blockchain architecture explains everything that is involved in the development of Blockchain technology. You can refer to it as the basis of Blockchain technology. For example, the architecture of the World Wide Web uses a server-client network. The server confines all the information in one place (a single point of failure).
However, the architecture of Blockchain technology is such that every participant within the network approves, maintains, and updates new entries. In other words, the Blockchain architecture ensures that all records and data are valid and secured. Although the participants may not trust one another, they are always able to reach a consensus.
This architecture is made up of many structures and components that work together to provide users with an immutable system. This brings us to the components that form the basis of Blockchain technology.
The Core Components Of Blockchain Architecture
Here are the fundamental components of the Blockchain regardless of types.
The Block This is a data structure that stores all transactions, distributed to all nodes present in the Blockchain network. A block contains certain data, the hash of itself, and the hash of the block before it. Just like fingerprints, no two blocks have the same hash. Each of the blocks is created using a cryptographic hash algorithm for instance, (SHA 256). This ensures that individual blocks within a Blockchain structure can be identified easily. Hashes help to identify changes in any block. The hash is the main element behind the security of any Blockchain architecture. Theoretically, a strong computer processor can adjust all the blocks. However, such a possibility is eliminated with the proof-of-work concept. The proof-of-work allows a node to slow down the process of creating new blocks.
Node This is a user or computer within the Blockchain architecture. It has an independent copy of the entire Blockchain ledger.
The Chain It is a sequence of blocks arranged in a specific order.
Miners/Stakers These are specific nodes that are responsible for carrying out the block verification process. This takes place before any block is added to the Blockchain structure. Meanwhile, miners are peculiar to Proof of Our Work-related Blockchain.
Consensus Also known as consensus protocol; it is a set of rules set to carry out every Blockchain operation. Every node within Blockchain architecture creates this consensus protocol. Once everyone abides by them, they become self-enforced within the Blockchain.
Transaction This is the smallest component of a Blockchain system which includes records, information, etc. In reality, it is the purpose of the Blockchain system. Before a transaction is added to a Blockchain, it must be proven and digitally signed for authenticity. It is also verified by the nodes in the system.
Key Characteristics of Blockchain Architecture
Below are the key characteristics you can see within a Blockchain architecture.
Immutability This is one characteristic that made Blockchain technology dependable. After entering record or data into a Blockchain system, you cannot alter or delete it.
Provenance It means that you can track the origin of every transaction that takes place within the Blockchain ledger.
Anonymity Each Blockchain user has a generated address and not a user identity. It helps to ensure the safety of user identity, especially in a public Blockchain network.
Transparency It is highly improbable to corrupt the Blockchain system. Before someone can corrupt a Blockchain system, such a person would need enormous computing power to overwrite the Blockchain network.
The Blockchain Algorithms
Since the inception of Blockchain technology, there have been lots of established algorithms. Also, more algorithms are being developed to solve the faults of the already existing algorithms. Let’s take a look at the various Blockchain algorithms.
Consensus algorithm Although they are complex, the consensus algorithm helps to create reliability on networks that involve nodes. It ensures that the majority of the nodes present in the Blockchain system conform to the existing rule or action. The chain doing the most work defines consensus. For instance, if you fork and change the Proof-of-Our Work (PoW), you will not have the mining power to secure it. The Proof-of-Our Work (PoW) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS) are both existing consensus algorithms. Other broad types of consensus are the Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) Model, Hybrid Model, delegated Proof of Stake, Proof of Burn. Meanwhile, the Blockchain Consensus Encyclopedia, suggests that there are over 72 consensus mechanisms.
Mining algorithm There are three major components: Clustering is the analysis you carry out on a set of data. It also involves the generation of grouping rules that can be used to classify future data. The Association rule is the specific association relationship that exists among a set of objects in a database. Sequence analysis is the analysis of patterns that appear in a sequence. In a Blockchain network, miners use computers to quickly guess the answers to a puzzle. When a miner locates the hash that matches the target, he/she will be awarded in cryptocurrency. The block is then validated by each of the nodes in the network and added to their copy of the ledger. When miner A finds the hash, miner B will stop all work on the current block. In Ethereum, a miner finds a block in 12-15 seconds. The algorithm automatically readjusts the difficulty level to ensure all miners remain within the 12-15 second solution time.
Traceability chain algorithms Traceability establishes the origin and all practices that support a transaction and planning activity of each node within a supply chain. They help to reach traceability decisions fast. Because of the interference mechanism, it runs faster than the consensus algorithm. The Takagi-Sugeno Fuzzy cognitive map uses the traceability chain algorithm.
Types Of Blockchain Architecture
There are three basic categories of Blockchain architecture and they include the following:
Public Blockchain architecture
Consortium Blockchain architecture
Private Blockchain architecture
The explanation of these three Blockchain types is in the table below.
Only selected set of nodes
Either public or private
Can be public or restricted
Highly improbable to tamper
Could be tampered
Could be tampered
The consensus process
Blockchain offers solutions to organizations, centralized security, and privacy. Hence, Federated and Hybrid Blockchain becomes necessary. Hybrid Blockchain combines the strengths of public and private Blockchain. Federated Blockchain is solely for the consortium to manage organizational processes and governance. However, more research will deepen decentralization, privacy, and scalability with several Blockchains.