"The main thing distinguishing a blockchain from a normal database is that there are specific rules about how to put data into the database. That is, it cannot conflict with some other data that’s already in the database (consistent), it’s append-only (immutable), and the data itself is locked to an owner (ownable), it’s replicable and available. Finally, everyone agrees on what the state of the things in the database are (canonical) without a central party (decentralized).
It is this last point that really is the holy grail of blockchain. Decentralization is very attractive because it implies there is no single point of failure. That is, no single authority will be able to take away your asset or change “history” to suit their needs. This immutable audit trail where you don’t have to trust anyone is the benefit that everyone that’s playing with this technology is looking for. This benefit, however, come at a great cost. "
Jimmy Song Medium
Song summarises these costs
- Development is strict and slow
- Incentive structures difficult to design
- Maintenance is very costly
- Users are sovereign encouraging malicious users
- Upgrades are voluntary
- Scaling is really hard
Follow the link at end of blog to see the detail in Sing's compelling article.
Centralisation is easier and delvers the same functionality at a fraction of the cost. A single digital record is easier to maintain and as easy to share securely. Perhaps most importantly of all blockchain does nothing to improve or even validate the accuracy and completeness of data. The old adage "rubbish in and rubbish out" is as true as ever. All blockchain can enhance is that the user is indeed the user.
Blockchain is still a developer's environment rather than a solution to a problem. And best left there until and unless it is proven to solve an issue. Not to say here will not be singular practical solutions though invariably in a private blockchain in which the participating parties have complete control.
That is far from the hype of blockchain evangelists.
Blockchain is a popular term these days and unfortunately, this “blockchain not Bitcoin” meme won’t die. If you are a centralized service, a blockchain doesn’t get you anything that you can’t do a thousand times cheaper with a centralized database. If you are a decentralized service, then you’re probably fooling yourself and not thinking about the single points of failure that exist in your system. There wouldn’t be a “you” at all in a truly decentralized service.