Blockchain allows the creation of a secure and anonymous decentralized network that can pretty much run and verify transactions on its own, without any human middlemen. Trust is established through a robust consensus protocol that ensures only legit transactions are recorded on digital public ledger. With all its advantages, one of its biggest is its decentralized architecture.
Traditional networks are centralized by nature. Let’s take the website of your local bank for example. All the financial and other relevant data are stored in a central server in at least a centralized location. Now, these data can be spread over two or more locations or across several servers. But the point is, that data is still stored in limited, known locations.
A Typical Configuration
Typically, different servers are dedicated in storing different data. So the front end (the actual website you see) data may be stored on a server. When you access your bank account details, that data is pulled from maybe another server, possibly in another location, which is dedicated in storing your account details.
What happens when one or more of these server nodes get knocked off the network? Since that data is centralized in only one or a finite number of locations, it means your data now becomes inaccessible in the event they do go down. Worse, it might get compromised or stolen. Even if there are redundant copies available in other locations as a failsafe, a hacker or attack worth his salt can easily go around this.
This is the major disadvantage of a centralized network. Since data is compartmentalized into a few nodes, taking those down will take a whole chunk of the network’s capability down. A major attack, such as a big Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), can quickly take down any major website or server and make it unavailable by flooding the target nodes with overwhelming traffic.
Picture a fort being attacked on all sides. Even the most heavily guarded fort can eventually be broken into. There’s always a loophole, a security flaw that can be exploited.
Blockchains mitigate this dilemma by applying a decentralized architecture. All the data is not located on one or few servers or data centers. Instead, each node in the network carries a copy of the entire data blockchain. Whenever a legitimate transaction is to be added in to the chain, all nodes update each of their copies. Since blockchains, by design, cannot be edited or erased once recorded, manipulation is completely avoided.
Whenever a few nodes get displaced or disconnected, this is of no concern. Since other nodes carry the same data, the network still works. The data is still there, available for all to see and use. To get to the point of total disruption means taking down the entire Internet, which is next to impossible. And even if it happens, the blockchain is the least of our worries.
Hacking or compromising a single node to do an unauthorized transaction doesn’t work. For transactions to be added into the network, the consensus algorithm in place ensures that all nodes agree on what transactions to add into the chain. Manipulating that node’s local copy of the blockchain will not work either, because remember, the network works by consensus. Unauthorized changes to that node will simply cause all other nodes to invalidate those changes.
This design also means that as the number of nodes in the blockchain grows, so, too, does security. It becomes increasingly harder to disrupt the network when more and more nodes are added into it. The above described DDoS attack would prove useless in a blockchain; it would even barely do damage.
The WAB Backbone
The decentralized functionality is further boosted in the WAB Blockchain, who is leading the pack in ushering in the Blockchain 5.0 era. This is due to WAB’s use of sophisticated techniques in its blockchain, such as the use of data sharding and multigraph methodologies. WAB also elegantly solves another kind of displaced node problem in blockchains — called orphan nodes.
An orphan node occurs when two nodes solve the cryptographic puzzle presented by the consensus algorithm at the same time (the probability of it happening is very low, but still it has occurred a few times). In traditional blockchains, the node which generated more computational power wins the right to mine the block, and the other node is placed “on reserve” as an orphan node.
Another miner eventually picks up this orphan node sometime in the future, so it is ensured that the orphan node’s transaction will eventually be validated and added to the chain. How long that will take depends on blockchain’s throughput speed.
WAB tackles the orphan dilemma differently: thanks to its consensus algorithm, sharding approach and multigraph architecture, simultaneous transactions are possible. When multiple transactions are up for validation, WAB runs a vote from all the nodes, and picks the transactions who “won” with the most vote, the other relegated to an orphaned state — but not for too long!
Since WAB’s speed is blazingly fast, the orphan node will not stay too long in its state. In a span of a few seconds, it will be up for validation again, by which it will get added to the chain with the right number of votes. WAB considerably solves the orphan node problem through a smart algorithm and fast throughput.
Blockchains offer a superior decentralized architecture that makes websites, online services and entities more robust and resistant to attacks and disruptions. By not concentrating data into a few and instead spreading it out into many nodes, it eliminates any singular weak link in the chain. Ultimately, blockchains ensure your data is more secure and crucial services are never disrupted despite any attack. The WAB platform is making a difference in our world.
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