HEAT Blockchain Micro-Services: Benefits & How to Operate One
This post explains HEAT's blockchain-enabled microservices platform and the benefits compared to running digital services on traditional infrastructures. This article was requested by the HEAT community after introducing HEAT's latest server update, on the titled HEAT Blockchain: Unlimited Size to Enable the Adoption of True Decentralization, written by HEAT's CTO, Dennis de Klerk.
HEAT micro-services offers you an alternative way to communicate digitally with your customers.
Instead of hosting a server which is accessed by a client over the HTTP protocol, with HEAT micro-services all communication takes place in the form of digitally signed blockchain stored transactions.
Transactions are distributed across the HEAT p2p network in an uncensored way. Since you can access the blockchain data, you can essentially operate the micro-service.
HEAT Micro-services is a low cost, highly secure, and extremely transparent platform to provide online services as all communication between you and your customers is archived forever on the scalable HEAT blockchain.
HEAT Micro-services' operators have a choice of communicating in the open (for all to see) to offer unparalleled transparency in their operations. This is a great chance for operators to reach extreme high levels of trust and loyalty with their customers extremely fast.
Alternatively, through blockchain grade end to end encryption, communications could also be hidden from the public but would still be available to be revealed, or partially revealed, using cryptographic proof in case of disputes.
Blockchain, the Trust Machine: Benefits of Blockchain Enabled Micro-Services
The problem HEAT Micro-services sets out to solve is one becoming bigger and bigger due to the way the current internet works, the lack of credibility and trust. Some examples are:
- trust a customer has to have in a service provider
- trust a service provider has to have with a customer
- which customer are we dealing with?
- are we sure it’s this customer?
- are we sure the customer said or ordered what you believe he did?
- trust in your own data.
- do you have a clear view of all communications?
- do you have all data to base your decisions on?
- is that data guaranteed to be correct, perhaps fraudulent, perhaps someone altered that data?
- trust in the communication channel
- did your customers message reach you correctly?
- did your message reach your customer?
- can we be sure, can we prove at a later time that any communication was sent, delivered and received?
When dealing with cryptocurrencies extreme care must be taken before deciding to make any payment as unlike traditional banking cryptocurrency payments are final and cannot be rolled back.
It is typically cryptocurrency related services that require the highest levels of trust before performing any irreversible actions. Service operators MUST be sure the data as they observe it is correct and can be acted upon- Did the customer send X amount of cryptocurrency? Did I already pay customer Y? What is the current or past market price of Z?
The same goes for customers or clients making use of online services. A customer would like to see if anyone has ever had a dispute- remember disputes can be proven with on chain evidence- and if those disputes where handled in a provably fair manor.
The only way to do such a thing is if there is an archived record of all communications somewhere, and if all communications come with digital signatures that can prove each message's authenticity.
Introduction to HEAT Micro-Services
So now that we sketched the problem above, how does a service built on the HEAT Micro-services' platform solve all that?
At its core, HEAT Micro-services provides service operators with an interface to start coding against. As explained above, the communications between a customer and a service or a service to another service happens through messages which are stored on the blockchain.
This immediately highlights the problem at hand. The questions are how to interpret, read and write those messages and how to deal with them in your service code.
That’s what the essence of HEAT Micro-services boils down to.
HEAT Micro-services turn those transactions (payments, orders, messages) and their attached digitally signed data, into a stream of easy to process events flowing into your service code. When writing your service you don’t have to deal with any encryption, work with binary data, or even keep track of which events (transactions) your code has processed or not.
You can also set the security level to whatever level you need. For low risk operations, like for example a user signing up for your service, you can set the invocation level to IMMEDIATE, meaning your service runs the instant the transaction hits the network.
For more risky operations like sending money to a customer in response to you receiving money, you would set the security level to HIGH which means that your service does not run until 30 new blocks (15 minutes) where mined and the network indicates there are no forks detected.
How you operate a HEAT Microservice
In order to operate a HEAT Microservice you need just a few things. These are:
- a HEAT account for your service, clients will communicate by sending transactions to that account,
- a HEAT server running on your laptop, PC or hosted somewhere online,
- your HEAT Microservice code that you prepared (programming language agnostic, should be able to use any language for which a HEAT Microservice SDK was written),
- and an internet connection (yet processing could be done while offline as well).
And that’s it! As you notice services can be run from anywhere you would like as long as they are hosted in a HEAT server that is connected to the HEAT network. This could be hosted online or if you prefer, connected over the Tor network for enhanced privacy.
Welcome to drop your comments, questions or doubts. Debating is the best way to learn. Thanks in advance!
by Dennis de Klerk — CTO, HEAT Ledger Ltd.
More About the Author
Microservices Kit (currently being updated for the new chain version — stay tuned!)
Blockchain Integration Kit (minor updates are to be expected but its functional, please contact us for details)
About HEAT Ledger
Heat Ledger Ltd. (HEAT), founded in 2016, is a Finland based blockchain development company and creators of the HEAT blockchain protocol. The HEAT Blockchain protocol operates live since January 2017, it is capable of doing 1,000+ (real) tx/sec in a decentralized network and has virtually unlimited storage capacity through its custom storage engine. HEAT’s blockchain lowers the entry barrier and becomes the perfect solution for anyone to run their own micro-services and benefit from all the efficiency gains of a blockchain infrastructure.