Immutable ledger in blockchain refers to any records that have the ability to remain unchanged. It cannot be altered and hence the data cannot be changed with ease, thereby making sure that the security is quite tight. Immutability means that it is very difficult to make changes without collusion. The central idea behind the blockchain ledger is the security of data and the proof that data has not been changed or altered. Let us delve a bit deeper into the topic to understand more about blockchain immutability and the benefits it offers.
Understanding Blockchain Immutability
Immutability is defined as the ability of a blockchain ledger to remain unchanged, unaltered, and indelible. Each of the blocks of information like facts or transaction details is carried out with the help of a cryptographic principle or a hash value. Now, this hash value has an alphanumeric string generated by each block individually. Each of the blocks contains a hash value or digital signature for itself and for the previous one as well. This, in turn, makes sure that the blocks are retroactively coupled together and unrelenting. It is this functionality of blockchain technology that makes sure no one is able to interfere with the system or change the already saved data into the block.
In this regard, it is also quite essential to know that blockchain is distributed and decentralized in nature. Here a consensus is made among the different storing a copy of the data. It is this consensus that makes sure the originality of data is righty maintained. Immutability is undoubtedly one of the most definitive features of blockchain technology and also brings out the best use cases of smart contracts that can be deployed. The concept can simply redefine the entire process of auditing of data to make it much more efficient, and cost-effective, along with bringing about more trust as well as integrity into the data.
How to Achieve Immutability?
As explained above, the hash value helps in securing each block of code in a separate manner. To understand how to achieve immutability, clarification of the concept of cryptographic hashing is essential. Nowadays, the generation of a cryptographic is not quite a dreadful task. It is because of the fact that modern programming languages come with an array of hash functions. With the help of these hash functions, it is just required to pass a set of bytes and the function will be returning a checksum signature. These functions always generate a string of length of 64 characters and we would always be getting the fixed string length regardless of the size of the input, which is referred to as a digital signature.
The digital signature points to the exact data that the users input. But hash cannot be reverse-engineered which means that the users cannot make use of this output string for the purpose of finding the input data. This, in turn, results in the immutability of the blockchain ledger. In this system, each of the transactions is verified with the help of a blockchain network. It includes blocks of information embedded with timestamps and is secured by a hashing process. It links together and incorporates the hash of the last block. This mechanism plays a major role in developing the chronological chain which helps in joining each of the blocks.
The meta-data of the last block is always included by hashing at the time of generating a new hash for it. This, in turn, helps in creating a link between the block and the chain, thereby making it unbreakable. Once this is done, none can alter or delete the data of the block which is placed in the blockchain. It is because whenever anyone would be attempting to make a change, the modification is rejected by the subsequent block since the hash of the block would not be valid anymore.
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Understanding the Challenges to Blockchain Immutability!
It is true that the entire blockchain mechanism is quite robust but there are a few challenges that the mechanism requires to overcome. Let us understand the challenges in detail.
- 51 Percent Attack – The major challenge for this mechanism is the possibility of a “51 Percent Attack” where an attacker can acquire an enormous power of computing over the other members in the network. A blockchain is a decentralized form of network and no single entity is in charge here. But the miners can still spell death for the blockchain system’s immutability by the creation of hashing power. Now, at this point in time because of the rapid rise in mining marketplaces and the accessibility to renting mining capacity, it is not at all very difficult for people to carry out such an attack. This, in turn, makes it easy for the attackers to change the transaction data that is supposed to be “immutable” first. With the help of this facility, the attackers are able to reverse the high-value transaction, spend the money the second time, and make the profit secure.
- Quantum Computing – Another major challenge in blockchain mechanism is quantum computing. It is threatening the immutable nature of blockchain. Several studies from experts have brought to light that quantum computing has the potential to reverse-engineer the public key of the blockchain network, which in turn, is able to find the private keys for breaking into the system. It is undoubtedly a real challenge in this space and can affect almost 50 percent of blockchain.
Overcoming the Challenges
Overcoming the challenges mentioned above is of immense importance in this regard. Studies from experts suggest that the “51 percent attack” can be dealt with in the right way by the creation of a powerful protocol and by making use of a consensus algorithm like delegated “proof-of-stake” or simply “proof-of-stake” algorithm. It is quite difficult to stake numbers of tokens on a network instead of renting out the power of computing. But it is still quite hard to ascertain that these solutions can be completely trusted upon for a threat like this.
For rightly dealing with the challenge of quantum computing, integration of quantum cryptography into the core of blockchain is recommended. In the time to come, the architecture of blockchain developed with quantum particles will have the potential to record all history in a more secure manner. The solutions to overcome the challenges are still quite futuristic. Thus, for the time being, it is essential to be cautious while adopting blockchain to deal with the challenges.
Benefits of Immutable Ledger in Blockchain
Let us now understand the benefits of the immutable ledger on the blockchain.
Security is Tight in Blockchain
The immutable ledger on the blockchain is quite secure. We already know that blockchain is distributed ledgers. It means that there is no central point of authority that can control it. Thus, at any point in time, the hackers try to compromise the data, it is just next to impossible to do the same at the time when it is managed with more than two servers or nodes. Additionally, each of the actions that are made on a digital ledger is encrypted with a unique hash code to which the majority of the nodes must agree upon the action. This, in turn, makes sure that there is a free as well as a transparent flow of data along with protecting the information from being corrupted.
Ensures Authenticity and High Quality
It is known that an immutable ledger on blockchain benefits the users with its high level of security and traceability. These features play a significant role in effectively dealing with the fraudulent market. Every year counterfeit goods result in costing a huge sum of money to authorized brands, but the use of blockchain in this regard could certainly be the revolutionary solution. It works by registering different items on the blockchain system where the manufacturers can very easily provide all the required information to their customers regarding the origins of the products, their historic records, current and previous owners. By just tagging the items on a blockchain, the buyers would be able to understand whether the item is authentic or not.
Readily Benefits Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management is another area where the immutable ledger on blockchain proves to be immensely beneficial. The entire process of exchanging goods needs to be handled with a lot of responsibility. At the time of transporting items, there are chances of loss, stealing, misplacing, or damage. Keeping this in mind, a number of logistics companies have already started using blockchain to avail the benefits.
On the other hand, there are some companies that are currently experimenting with blockchain before using the same in their mainstream. With the use of blockchain technology, the parties are allowed to very quickly share data. Most importantly, even the slightest inconvenience caused at the time of a shipment would be registered. A digital ledger in this regard plays a crucial role in providing very tight security by enhancing transparency as well as traceability of goods in the supply chain.
Higher Level of Privacy
The information which we share or put online is always vulnerable to outside harm, like leaks, hacks, and personal threats. We tend to treat the data as private and try to make sure that that privacy is not easily compromised in this regard. The use of blockchain can prove to be quite beneficial here since it is different from the standard database which ensures that privacy is much better for the users. Blockchain is anonymous, and each of the users is protected with encrypted codes which makes it next to impossible to detect the account information of any of the users. But it is to be kept in mind that levels of privacy depend on a specific blockchain and the security features it possesses.
What is the Future of Immutable Ledger in Blockchain?
Immutable ledger in blockchain readily benefits brands in a wide range of industries. It helps to transform the overall landscape of business and create new methods of distribution goods as well as information. The benefits mentioned above clearly indicate a revolutionary change and at the same time have an enormous scope that is bound to be utilized in the time to come. With more and more industries as well as brands starting to integrate blockchain into their business, its popularity is on the rise. Using blockchain plays a significant role in solving an array of authenticity, security, and traceability issues.
In the year 2017, the blockchain market was valued at 708 million dollars. Studies conducted by experts forecast that by the year 2024, the value of the market would be reaching about 60 billion dollars. This forecast gives a very clear indication of the growth of the blockchain market. A number of market giants such as Walmart, IBM, Microsoft, Huawei Technologies, MasterCard, and many more are successfully implementing blockchain technology to their regular business operations. The entire picture tends to change at the time when the reputed and leading brands start depending on technologies that were rated negatively before.
Blockchain, a distributed electronic ledger system, was developed due to the previous limitations imposed by traditional databases. The primary objective of disseminating and synchronising data among multiple independent players is to democratise information. In the end, blockchain and immutable ledger technology will be a good alternative to all database applications for businesses. The trust in the data businesses use daily can be increased to an unprecedented level with blockchain implementations. Immutability ensures that fundamental and technical definitions are complete. Blockchain technology makes the verification process more effective, meaningful, and cost-effective, demonstrating that the information presented and utilised by stakeholders has yet to be altered.
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What does immutability mean?
Immutability is the capacity of an object to remain intact, unaltered, and indestructible. This feature of blockchain technology ensures that no one can tamper with the system or change the data that has already been saved into the block.
How does blockchain immutability work?
Blockchain Immutability = Cryptography + Hashing Process.
Each block of information, such as facts or transaction details, is created using cryptographic principles or hashes. A key aspect of blockchain immutability is cryptographic hashing, and the most common hash function is SHA-256..The algorithm is a subset of the parameters that connect all of the network’s blocks, resulting in immutability. These blocks cannot be altered and are sequentially secure.
What is the benefit of an immutable ledger in blockchain?
Blockchain immutable ledgers offer consumers a high level of security and traceability. These characteristics are crucial for effectively combating the counterfeit industry. Similarly, a digital ledger is necessary for the supply chain industry to improve commodity transparency and privacy to guarantee extremely high levels of security.
How can we use immutable blockchain?
Permanent record in blockchain promptly helps brands in many businesses. It assists with changing the general scene of business and making new strategies for appropriation merchandise as well as data. The blockchain exchanges’ permanent trademark eliminates the reliance on extra reviewing. It gives proof to members who execute on a carefully designed network.