November 9th, 2022
Blockchains are compelling vehicles of technological change with decentralization, security, immutability, and transparency lying at their core. Distributed databases that enable secure, transparent, and tamper-proof transactions, blockchains have seen a massive surge in usage over the past ten years. But to achieve these characteristics, blockchains rely on architectures that distinguish them from conventional databases.
As noted above, the primary benefits of blockchain technology include decentralization, security, immutability, and transparency. Decentralization denotes the absence of a central authority or server for database management. Here, power is dispersed across a network of peers, making the structure resistant to hacking and data breaches. Blockchain security is maintained by utilizing a variety of cryptographic techniques. Once data has been published on the blockchain, its immutability ensures that it cannot be modified or removed. Transparency refers to the visibility of blockchain transactions to all network participants.
Individual blockchains often feature trade-offs between security, transparency, decentralization, and more, depending on their unique type and architecture. In this article, we’ll discuss various blockchain networks, their strengths, and their weaknesses.
There are four main types of blockchain networks: public, private, hybrid, and consortium. Let’s take a look at the main features, advantages, and disadvantages of each.
Blockchain networks are typically peer-to-peer (P2P) as opposed to client-server (C/S) architectures in traditional databases. In a P2P network, there is no central server; instead, each node in the network connects directly to other nodes without an intermediary. This architecture is implemented in blockchain networks because it offers more decentralization and security. However, P2P networks can be more difficult to scale than C/S databases.
In a traditional C/S architecture, a central server manages all transactions on the network. However, C/S networks are less decentralized and consequently less secure than P2P networks.
When contemplating the right network or architecture for the blockchain, security is a crucial factor that must be carefully considered. Both public and private blockchains are vulnerable to distinct attack vectors. A private blockchain, for instance, may be susceptible to hacks and data breaches, while PoW-based public blockchains may be vulnerable to 51% attacks. Additionally, blockchains host smart contracts that may contain vulnerabilities. The growing importance of decentralized ledger technology strengthens the case for enhanced security measures such as penetration testing and smart contract audits.
For inquiries about smart contract security audits, please contact our blockchain security experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.