What Mobile App Developers Need to Know About Blockchain
Bitcoin is a hot technology right now and continues to make headlines with turning more and more people into millionaires as the Bitcoin’s price has reached new heights. The way Bitcoin has reached the top has left some people to take it as one of the biggest speculative bubbles of all times which is ready to pop while others believe its value will rise to $60,000 for a single coin!
Bitcoin may or may not be a bubble but the technology that’s the foundation of it all; blockchain is here to stay for long and has the back of countless major financial institutions, healthcare organizations, real estate agencies and a lot more, especially any industry that needs to securely track transactions.
What is A Blockchain?
Blockchain technology is basically data structure that the Bitcoin cryptocurrency uses for its digital public ledger which is used to record transactions in a decentralized database located in multiple places. Ach block in a chain may contain transactions, records or programs. All the blocks in a chain are time-stamped and linked to previous block in the chain which ensures all the blocks and data cannot be tempered with and that makes blockchain technology and the apps made based on this technology rock-solid safe. This is exactly what people mean these days when they talk about blockchain, they mean a distributed database comprising a collection of blocks of timestamped data with a cryptographic link to a previous block and that data can be viewed by every party involved but cannot be changed by one person alone.
What Does Blockchain Have To Do With Mobile Apps?
Blockchain technology could possibly be the basis of countless mobile apps from retail to financial, supply chain, and more. It is already happening actually.
IBM is working on a blockchain based project that verifies people’s identities when they avail services such as opening a new bank account or getting their driver’s license. This network will most probably launch within a few months in Canada after which Canadians will be able to use it and have blockchain verify their identity using a mobile app.
Similarly, a company landmapp is working on a mobile app that uses blockchain technology to document land titles and land rights targeted at developing world, particularly Africa, as a means to dramatically reduce costs.
That being mentioned, perhaps the biggest use of blockchain technology in mobile apps will be by financial institutes allowing people to make payments online. Forbes notes that “Only 1.2 billion people have access to a bank account with payment capabilities, while there are approximately 5 billion unique mobile phone subscribers.”
And this is just grazing the surface. There is a lot more to blockchain technology and mobile apps and the future promises even more.
What’s In Blockchain For Mobile App Developers?
As a mobile app developer blockchain technology can grant you access to a higher degree of consumer protection and confidentiality in your mobile apps. Blockchain could easily be considered the new industry standard for encryption and privacy whenever you contemplate developing a mobile app that involves making and receiving payments. Of course the technology is not limited to finance sector alone. App developers are constantly working towards incorporating this technology in various ways into pre-existing services other than financial.
But, Is Blockchain For Your App?
Blockchain technology has immense potential but the real question for mobile app developers is whether it is suitable for their particular app. The answer to that strongly depends on what definition of a blockchain you are using. A good rule of thumb would be to compare your app to Bitcoin, if it seems more like Bitcoin then there are greater chances of blockchain being a good fit for it. If the application seems less or nothing like Bitcoin then blockchain will not be as useful for it. Therefore if you thinking of using blockchain for your app, start by conducting a detailed study of how blockchain works for Bitcoin and why it works that way. Doing so requires more than just reading a few articles and web pages but this is the actual work. Once you have a clear idea of how Bitcoin works you will be able to decide for your app better.