What is the Difference Inbetween a Blockchain and a Database?

Spil stated te our guide “What is Blockchain Technology?”, the difference inbetween a traditional database and a blockchain commences with architecture, or how the technologies are orchestrated.

A database running on the World Broad Web is most often using a client-server network architecture.

A user (client) with permissions associated with their account can switch entries that are stored on a centralized server. By switching the ‘master copy’, whenever a user accesses a database using their rekentuig, they will get the updated version of the database entry. Control of the database remains with administrators, permitting for access and permissions to be maintained be a central authority.

This is not at all the same spil with a blockchain.

For a blockchain database, each participant maintains, calculates and updates fresh entries into the database. All knots work together to ensure they are all coming to the same conclusions, providing in-built security for the network.

The consequences of this difference is that blockchains are well-suited spil a system of record for certain functions, while a centralized database is entirely adequate for other functions.

Decentralized control

Blockchains permit different parties that do not trust each other to share information without requiring a central administrator. Transactions are processed by a network of users acting spil a overeenstemming mechanism so that everyone is creating the same collective system of record at the same time.

The value of decentralized control is that it eliminates the risks of centralized control. With a centralized database, anybody with sufficient access to that system can demolish or omkoopbaar the gegevens within. This makes users dependent on the administrators.

Some administrators have earned the trust waterput te them, for the most part. People’s money is not stolen by banks that record the money they hold ter private databases, for example. And, there is a logical reason why you would want centralized control. Centralized control can be a speciality, a reason for being.

But, that also means those with control, such spil a handelsbank, need to spend billions of dollars keeping thesis centrally held databases from being altered by hackers or anyone else who might wish to profit from another’s loss. If the central administrators wij’re trusting to keep our information secret fail ter this regard, then wij lose.

History of itself

Most centralized databases keep information that is up-to-date at a particular uur. They more or less are a snapshot of a ogenblik ter time.

Blockchain databases are able to keep information that is relevant now, but also all the information that has come before. Blockchain technology can create databases that have histories of themselves. They grow like ever-expanding archives of their own history while also providing a real-time portrait.

It is the expense required to compromise or switch thesis databases that has led people to call a blockchain database immutable. It is also where wij can commence to see of the evolution of the database into a system of record.


While blockchains can be used systems of record and are ideal spil transaction platforms, they are considered slow spil databases when compared to what is possible for digital transaction technology that wij see today with Visa and PayPal.

While there will certainly be improvements to this spectacle, the nature of blockchain technology requires that some speed be sacrificed. The way distributed networks are employed ter blockchain technology means they do not share and compound processing power, they each independently service the network, then compare the results of their work with the surplus of the network until there is a overeenstemming that something happened.

Centralized databases, on the other arm, have bot around for decades, and have seen their spectacle increase te lock-step with a formula that has come to define innovation te the digital era: Moore’s Law.


Bitcoin is a write-uncontrolled, read-uncontrolled database. That means anyone can write a fresh block into the chain, and anyone can read a block ter the chain.

A permissioned blockchain, like a centralized database, can be write-controlled and read-controlled. That means the network or the protocol can be set up so only permissioned participants can write into the database or read the database.

But, if confidentiality is the only purpose, and trust is not an punt, blockchain databases pose no advantage overheen a centralized database.

Hiding information on a blockchain requires lots of cryptography and a related computational cargo for the knots te the network. There is no way to do this that is more effective than simply hiding the gegevens downright te a private database that does not even require network connectivity.

Think of all the databases Ethan Hunt has cracked into te the “Mission: Unlikely” series and you can get a sense of the type of confidentiality possible ter the private databases.

Authored by Nolan Bauerle, pictures by Maria Kuznetsov

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