Blockchain- the immutable, distributed, encrypted- refers to a digital ledger that has attracted significant attention from the tech community and various industries. The reason for this significant attention is that today almost every centralized application, function or system can be decentralized. The everyday instances include currency exchange, insurance, banking, contract management, voting, etc. And thus, Blockchain has emerged as a technology which can eliminate intermediaries, secure data and help gain transparency. Here are a few potential use cases of Blockchain that make it an extremely appealing technology. In this piece of content, we will try to comprehend the process of Blockchain application development. We will understand how to begin with blockchain development and what are the potential decisions to be made. Anyway, we have outlined this article from a non-technical perspective to help you gain a general understanding of the blockchain application development process.
The very first step of the process of developing an application is to start with outlining the problem statement. At this stage, you need to be clear when defining the problem to your blockchain application developers. Also, you need to tell them that how you expect the application to solve the problem. Although Blockchain has garnered considerable hype in the industry, there are still many misconceptions surrounding it. Chances are that you might to be able to solve the problem without having developed a blockchain application for it. Or perhaps it might not be solvable by blockchain either.
Blockchain is a decentralized system. It requires all the participant of the network to verify a transaction. This process refers to consensus Mechanism. For instance, Bitcoin uses proof of work to authenticate a transaction. While it’s one of the most popular ways, there are other alternatives available based on particular needs as well. The following are the most popular – Proof of Stake, Byzantine fault tolerant, Proof of Elapsed Time, Federated, Delegated Proof of Stake and Round Robin. One can choose an ideal method based on his particular use case.
Blockchain platforms can help blockchain developers to build a decentralized application without having the need to create a separate blockchain from scratch. Many of these platforms are open-source. Therefore, your choice must rely on the consensus method and the problem you want to fix.
Some of the most robust blockchain platforms include Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, BigChainDB, Monax, Quorum etc. However, while making a choice, do not forget to ensure that you go through the pros and cons of each platform. And identify the talent pool for excelling the development ahead. In case if you are looking for an enterprise level blockchain app, you must put special emphasis on the security and stability of a blockchain platform.
Blockchain can be developed on the cloud, in a hybrid model or in-house. There are various options available for software and hardware configuration like operating system, processors, memory, and disk-size. Although this may look like trivial work, you must determine that the entire architecture supports the high-level requirements of the application.
Configuring a blockchain application is one of the most important aspects of Blockchain application development. It requires extremely careful and thorough planning. It’s because there are a few aspects of the platform that once when configured, they are cumbersome to fix or alter. Some of those key aspects include user permissions, atomic exchanges, asset issuance and re-issuance mechanism, consensus, parameters, signatures, key management and structure, hand-shaking and address formats. Consider looking for expert consultation, if you are a layman in this technology.
Although you may get a few pre-built APIs for development purposes, most of them will be created for different use cases. Some of the usual reasons for which APIs get created are; running functions pertaining to auditing, generating key addresses and pairs, for data authentication using hashes and digital signatures, storage of data, management and trigger of smart contracts relating to the payment, issuance, exchange, retirement, and escrow.
The last step is to create a UI and admin console for the application. At this stage, you are required to make decisions regarding the front-end programming language, external databases, and servers for the app. This console will come in use for managing the soft launch of the application. Hence, do not forget to incorporate proper analytics into the system.
Since Blockchain is in its development stage, it is advised to use the MVP model for scaling the application. In this approach, instead of focusing on developing the complete application, you go for developing a workable solution that can prove your hypothesis without being loaded with high-end UI or side features.
At this stage, you will need to find out any performance issues, crashes, latency, storage and memory glitches. With this, you can save potential resources that might otherwise be spent on scaling a redundant solution.