Since the Bitcoin disruption in the cryptocurrency industry, Blockchain technology adoption has accelerated in many sectors. The blockchain solutions are so promising that tech giant IBM is investing over $200 million in research. 90% of European and US banks have also joined the club. Interestingly, blockchain works well for the government, finance, insurance, personal identity security, gaming, and hundreds of other fields.
Gartner projects that blockchain technology will become mainstream by 2028, enabling a digital business revolution across business ecosystems. It will become scalable technically and operationally, and adopters won’t worry about portability, interoperability, and scalability.
“Blockchain is a system for authenticating transactions or trading, storing, or selling cryptocurrency only”— is a common misconception about blockchain. But the technology is beyond what you see. Blockchain foundation offers chances to create new social and economic models in the world. It’s not bound to crypto only. Organizations, companies, computers, people, bots, and algorithms can transact and exchange information in real-time without any politics and conflict.
You can use Blockchain technologies as public means of transactions and private ledgers for record-keeping and transactions within the company. Let us understand what blockchain is and its capabilities before analyzing whether you need it or not.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a system that records digital information in ledgers, aka blocks in chain format like a lego snake. Each block contains information in a decentralized, secure, and permanent way. All blocks are cryptographically linked together under a blockchain network. Once the data is stored in the blockchain, nobody can tamper with it as it becomes decentralized, immutable, timestamped, and transparent.
The significant benefit is blockchain eliminates any third-party interface from the safety equation. It creates distributed nodes—core building blocks of blockchain architecture— all are connected in a peer-to-peer stack, exchanging and synchronizing information. If anyone wishes to transact, they don’t edit a block or node. They submit a request to the network to be validated and approved.
In other words, blockchain combine peer-to-peer networks, public-key encryption, and distributed consensus that validate data with high certainty, increasing trust. If you create your app on the blockchain, all of its benefits extend to your solution.
What is Blockchain application development?
Blockchain application development comes about the same as any other app. Blockchain is just another implementation choice in app development. You start by deciding the problem you want to solve. Who is facing the issue? Will it be open-sourced? Does any solution already exist in the market? How will you compete with your competitors? Such questions will help you lay the foundation of your business model.
What’s noteworthy is, blockchain development projects require more time to build than your standard mobile application. Hence, consult and estimate the time with blockchain developers beforehand, especially if it’s your first time. Now let us discuss blockchain development comprehensively.
Once you have a concrete business plan, you can focus on blockchain implementation.
Scoping major approaches for developing blockchain applications
There are different types of decentralized applications you can build from the blockchain. However, the approach you choose depends on the project’s end goal and the problem your application solves.
A decentralized Platform means creating a new token system like Bitcoin of your own. You can make the platform either from scratch or by splitting existing blockchains. Technically, you build a platform that allows other people to develop their products. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Hyperledger Fabric, etc., are real-world examples of blockchain platforms other developers build on.
- Create a blockchain platform when: your vision is system-oriented, and you want to offer a platform for others to create apps and services.
- Advantage: By creating a new blockchain by forking existing ones like Bitcoin or Litecoin, you learn how blockchains work and are leveraged. You get the scope to differentiate yourself in the blockchain ecosystem.
- Downside: Blockchain development from scratch requires a deep understanding of cryptography and p2p network programming. You need to be careful with the design, planning, and community-building for a new platform’s success. The whole process may take up to hundreds of hours, and blockchain development is on the top.
In this approach, you create software on a pre-existing blockchain platform, i.e., Bitcoin, Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, or similar. Your software works as a network that runs on a known decentralized platform. Take EtherTweet, for example, a blockchain alternative to Twitter built on the Ethereum blockchain. It’s a decentralized microblogging platform where nobody can remove any tweet except for the publisher.
- Create a Blockchain software when: you want to address a particular problem with a definitive solution. No matter you create an app or API, you have to develop it on top of one specific blockchain.
- Advantage: Since the Blockchain platform inherently handles cryptography and peer-to-peer network, you don’t particularly need technical skills. Plus, you can reap benefits from an existing community and create a targeted solution.
- Downside: When you employ an existing platform, you also have to face its limitations and bugs.
Examples of Application Built using Blockchain
Civil: Digital Media, Journalism, Brooklyn, NewYork
The media company has created a blockchain-based media platform and decentralized how journalism is funded, and news is vetted. It’s a trustworthy platform owned and operated by the public. The news and stories are published on the blockchain and never deleted or edited to forge information.
Doc.ai: Healthcare, Artificial Intelligence, Software, Palo Alto, California
The doc.ai platform collects a patient’s medical data from medical sources—pharmacies, doctor’s visits, emergency room stay, etc.—under an app. The app combines blockchain and machine learning and lets patients get predictive insights about their illness, drawing from their health records and medical research.
Chronicled: Supply Chain, Logistics, San Francisco, California
The decentralized Chronicled ecosystem leveraged blockchain and IoT devices to make the supply chain more transparent. It helps the pharmaceutical, commodities, and precious metals industries to track and trace every move their shipment takes.
Pursue on how Blockchain can transform the manufacturing industry.
Circle: FIntech, Boston, Massachusetts
It’s a p2p money transfer and cryptocurrency investment platform that lets users transfer money in different currencies without exchange rate fees.
See how Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Revolutionize Finance.
When should a startup or existing platform opt for blockchain product development?
If the technology works for others, it doesn’t mean it will be good for you too. You might be better off without it. How would you know that? That’s why in this guide, here are some cases to help you decide if Blockchain technology fits your needs.
How well does the distributed network fit in your environment?
You know blockchain is a chain of distributed ledgers. So, before adopting, dig into the pros and cons of distributed networks and if you are comfortable with that. Besides, Blockchain implementation does not come easy on pockets. Hence, you must examine if the advantages justify the cost of developing a blockchain app.
Is transparency essential for you?
Wherever information is traced, transparency may be required. However, if you use external services, then blockchain development might be heavy on you. Blockchain would be a great fit when you want to let every stakeholder verify the transactions and data stored or shared by your platform.
Does your system require correction or remove a record at any point?
Blockchain ledgers are immutable. So, blockchain is not for you if your system allows fixing mistakes or any record to remove.
Do you want to remove intermediaries?
Does your solution need third parties, or does removing them from the system help you solve a critical problem? You need blockchain if you want the solution to be self-governed, free from any centralized authority to improve the work process.
Are you working with digital assets?
Building an app on the blockchain is ideal when your business is associated with digital assets. You can even digitize physical assets as well. For example, you can transform the data of real estate properties into a ledger.
Blockchain App Development Cost
Blockchain app development starts from as low as $30000. Nonetheless, like other mobile app development, the cost to develop a blockchain app also depends on multiple factors— Your blockchain app type, project requirements, complexity, app designing, coding, testing, and developer location.
Blockchain apps complexity level can be categorized as follows:
Low Complexity: Payment apps, Smart Contracts Development App
Medium Complexity: DApps developed on blockchain platforms, Hybrid blockchain apps, Semi-decentralized apps, Blockchain dApps
High Complexity: Blockchain platform development from scratch, A complete decentralized network
The Blockchain Future is bright!
Along with AI, IoT, and ML, Blockchain has gained tremendous momentum and appears as a promising technology for a secured future. Decentralization, transparency, trust, and security are at the crux of blockchain. The robust technology renders high processing speed, making the system self-sufficient and enhancing traceability.
Blockchain is shaping the business ecosystem through its solutions, including identity systems, world trade, smart contracts integration, cryptocurrency marketplaces, decentralized software, and more. Tech giants to government leaders and technology enthusiasts are rising in large numbers to support and fund Blockchain. Hope this guide helps you decide whether you need blockchain development or not. Let us know if you want to know more about different blockchains.