In 2008, an unknown author going by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto proposed a peer-to-peer electronic cash system called Bitcoin. The following year, the cryptocurrency that would change how we think about money was launched, using the benefits of a decentralized platform that made digital trust possible: Blockchain. Fast forward ten years and it seems that Blockchain has consolidated its role as one of the most fundamental technologies that could change every aspect of everyday life, from insurance and finance to voting and healthcare. In addition to cryptocurrency applications, Blockchain technology can be used in many ways and entrepreneurs have understood this, leading to a surge of innovations and investments that apply in almost all fields – and Big Data is one of them.
Benefits of Blockchain for Big Data
Year after year, specialists are dealing with increasing amounts of data, mainly because technology has become widely accessible and most consumers interact with brands through their devices. Moreover, there’s also the advent of Internet of Things, which generates even more data. While this is empowering for companies, because it offers them ever more opportunities to understand consumer behavior, it also poses new challenges in terms of data collection, analysis, security, and quality. Blockchain can solve all of these issues and streamline processes in many ways.
By using Blockchain technology to store data instead of traditional storage, companies could enhance data quality, because it would be structured and complete. This would increase accuracy and facilitate extensive data analysis, helping companies deliver products and services that meet their customers’ expectations.
Traditional data networks, which are currently the most employed options, have certain points at which data could be corrupted or altered by human errors. Blockchain, on the other hand, doesn’t have weak spots, and if at one point a user inputs incorrect data, it will not be recorded. For businesses, this means that they will no longer make incorrect decisions based on inexact data. They would be able to focus on developing growth plans based on accurate data and the time needed to check errors in traditional data networks could go into other, more important processes.
Thanks to its security and transparency, Blockchain is the natural home of data. In Blockchain, you aren’t dealing with one party who makes changes and is therefore in control. Data cannot be changed without the approval of anyone in the network, so everything is more transparent. Furthermore, this basically eliminates the risk of fraudulent activities. Once all transactions are encrypted and time stamped, no one can alter them. ICO Advisors point out that security is a key word for everyone working in Big Data, because cybercrime rates are at their highest and experts predict that by 2021, data breaches would cost more than $6 trillion in damages. Big companies are not immune to hacker attacks – on the contrary, they are the most vulnerable: Sears, Best Buy, Forever 21 and Whole Foods are just a few of the victims of data breaches in 2018. By storing data in Blockchain, the risk of data ending up in the wrong hands would be eliminated, leading to increased trust between businesses and their clients. Personal details such as emails, addresses, phone numbers, and credit card numbers would no longer be accessed by unauthorized parties, giving companies and customers peace of mind. In Blockchain, suspicious activity could be detected immediately. The implications wouldn’t be huge just for the private sector, but also for the public sector. Government agencies could also use Blockchain to store citizen records securely. Estonia has already implemented a system of this type, and Georgia and Dubai are testing the applications of Blockchain in the public data sector.
Taking things further, Blockchain could also help streamline communication between departments by giving all users access to data. This way, everyone involved in the data analysis process will have the big picture and a member of the staff would no longer be required to micromanage. Staff wouldn’t waste valuable time trying to find data on a particular customer and data wouldn’t get altered in this back-and-forth.
Blockchain and Big Data – implementation challenges
The implications of Blockchain on Big Data and analytics are huge, and companies would have much to gain from making the transition. However, at this stage, there are some implementation challenges in the way and specialists say that it will take a few more years until companies become more receptive of blockchain. Right now, we are still talking about early adopters who have the money and resources to create an internal infrastructure to support Blockchain, but, in the following years, the Blockchain space is expected to grow by 42 percent. As the technology will mature and be able to support high transaction volumes, new scalability models will emerge and Blockchain and Big Data could seamlessly work together.