Blockchain Technology vs. Traditional Database Management

The technological landscape is constantly changing. Cutting-edge advancements continuously shape the way we connect, engage and interact with the world. It enables us to progress and become faster, smarter, and more efficient in the way we operate.

Blockchain is the next of these great advancements. Many call it the new internet, capable of applying itself in day-to-day operations far beyond what anyone originally envisioned. While much work is still to be done before we see this new technology embraced by different industries, a growing community has confidence in the future of blockchain.

Traditional Database Management

Traditional data management software has been used globally by businesses across practically every industry for nearly 40 years. These monolithic systems operate with one central server (authority) that allows its users to alter existing information within the database. This creates a single point of failure and numerous inefficiencies.

This central server is made up of administrators, who are the authority figures within the system. Administrators have full control over delegating access and granting various permissions to other users. Most notably, a single administrator can grant access or permissions to another user, without the need of approval or consensus from other administrators. With sufficient permissions, one can freely alter information stored on the centralized server.

Traditional servers keep information up-to-date at a point in time. Think of it like a snapshot of a particular moment. When information is updated or altered in any way, subsequent users only see the newly updated version of the database. There is no recorded archive of prior transactions or changes made, leaving no trace of what has been changed or who changed it.

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As an example, imagine two coworkers Sam and Susan, are working on a word document with each other. Together, they are editing and updating this document, but can only do so one at a time. When Sam is done editing, he emails it to Susan. Sam must then sit and wait to receive it back, before he can make any more changes. As a result, Sam has no real-time visibility into what changes are being made by Susan, and no record of these changes either.

Blockchain Technology

Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger that provides an alternative way to report, verify, and store massive amounts of data. Distributed ledger technology operates on a decentralized network, meaning there is no centralized server or single point of authority. Rather, it operates on a peer-to-peer network, where administrators also known as nodes, are equally privileged in their access and permissions. Public blockchain networks are accessible to anyone on the internet. Millions of nodes may host a single blockchain at any one point in time, and are incentivized to do so.

A private blockchain differs slightly in that nodes must be invited to join a network by existing administrators. However, no single administrator may onboard a node. Rather, consensus between the administrators responsible for onboarding must be reached for each node invited. A private network limits access and permissions of nodes, but it still operates under the fundamental idea of decentralization.

In order for any changes or updates to be made to the database, a consensus must be reached between nodes operating the network. Information is entered into the blockchain only once consensus has been reached for a particular transaction. As a result of decentralization, blockchain is less prone to hacking, has no single point of failure, and is completely immutable.

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Unlike traditional database management, every and all updates made to the blockchain are forever visible. Think of it like a growing string of archives that can’t be tampered with or deleted, information may only be added. All updates made to the blockchain are accessible to everyone and continue to be added upon by nodes in real time.

Consider a typical bank e-transfer. Currently, when Sam sends twenty dollars to Susan, his bank reviews the transaction and puts their formal stamp of approval on it. Twenty dollars is then removed from Sam’s bank account, held by the banks, and, after receiving approval, the bank adds twenty dollars to Susan’s account. In this transaction, the bank of choice is the centralized authority, holding access and permissions to Sam and Susan’s bank records, either approving or rejecting the transaction.

If we take away the centralized institution and replace it with a public blockchain network, the same transaction looks very different. When Sam sends transfers funds to Susan on a blockchain network, nodes operating the network must now reach consensus that this transaction did indeed happen. The transaction is sent to many different nodes for verification. Only once consensus is reached, will twenty dollars then be removed from Sam’s account, and twenty dollars added to Susan’s.

It is the public network of nodes that has access and permissions to grant this e-transfer transaction approval. The record of this transaction is then publicly visible and immutable, forever listed on the string of archives.

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Rubikon Benefits From Blockchain

At Rubikon CBN, we apply recent advances in blockchain technology to expand and secure our seed-to-sale data management software and ensure private cultivator information remains confidential. Combined with Rubikon’s hardware integrated Trackbadges, our proprietary solution enables the network to hold participating businesses accountable for their data input and upkeep while tracking cannabis products through their lifecycle.

Rubikon CBN is immutable, decentralized and operates on incentivization to ensure business compliance is met across the legalized Canadian cannabis framework.

Joel Semczyszyn & The Rubikon Team