Blockchain Programming

Blockchain is a technology that is known to store transactional records, simply known as ‘blocks’. The blocks are present in various databases which we call ‘chain’ and the network of block and chain is connected via peer-to-peer nodes. The complete storage phenomenon is called a digital ledger. Each transaction that a user makes in the ledger gets authorised by an owner as a digital signature. In this article, you’ll learn about what is blockchain programming, various types of blockchain programming, popular blockchain platforms, and some top blockchain languages for programming.

Blockchain Programming - Table of Content

What is Blockchain Programming?

Blockchain is basically a kind of digital ledger that helps in maintaining transactional records. We had heard of Facebook where Facebook acts as a middleman between its customers and the advertisers. Similarly, in the case of a bank, the bank acts as a middleman between its lenders and borrowers. All this power lies in the hands of the middleman here who is controlling everything amongst the parties. Blockchain allows its users to have a platform where there are no middlemen and the controls are solely in the hands of the users using the blockchain, thus increasing the immutability. To make this work, blockchain requires a few programming steps which we will be discussing in the sections below.

Types of blockchain Platforms

There are mainly 4 types of blockchain platforms. Let us have a look at them below: 

Public Blockchains:

These blockchains are open and allow anyone to join the network. These allow all the present blockchain nodes to gain equal rights for creating new data blocks, accessing the blockchain, and even validating the data blocks. They were initially used for cryptocurrency mining and its exchange. Some examples of public blockchains are Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc. The estimated efficiency of this blockchain is low as compared to other types.

Private Blockchains:

These blockchains are meant to have control by a single organisation and are permissioned. The central authority decides whether to grant permission to a node or not in a private blockchain. Private blockchains are mostly decentralised as their public access is regulated. There are a few examples of private blockchains such as business-to-business,  virtual money exchange, umbrella projects, etc. 
There are drawbacks to both private as well as public blockchains. The private blockchain has less validation time for fresh data as compared to the public blockchain. It is also stated that private blockchains are riskier and are vulnerable to hacks and frauds. Hence there was a development of consortium and hybrid blockchains to overcome these drawbacks

Consortium Blockchains:

These blockchains are taken care of by a group of people in an organisation rather than a single community like a private blockchain scenario. Consortium blockchains are comparatively more decentralised as compared to private blockchains and they retain high-security levels. However, when we talk about the drawbacks of this blockchain, the cost is really high. It is very difficult to digitise the data and create connections to the other members present in the supply chain. The estimated efficiency of this blockchain is high as compared to other types.

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Hybrid Blockchains:

These blockchains are generally controlled with an oversight performance handled by a public blockchain and are done by a single organisation. They perform the transactions together. There are several examples of hybrid blockchains such as  IBM Food Trust, developed for improving the efficiency of the complete food supply chain. 

Popular Blockchain platforms

Ethereum:

Ethereum is a blockchain-powered decentralised network that works globally as a powerful unit. The cryptocurrency working for Ethereum are crypto, ether, and ETH. This technology is used by the people who aim to design a digitally secure network. It is not only secure but decentralised as well as scalable. Ethereum is the top choice for industries and enterprises in today’s era. 
Ethereum works in a very powerful manner. Let us suppose that there is a long chain of blocks present. These blocks contain all information and it is then transferred to each newly-created block including the new data that is created. There is an automated duplicate as well as a distributed copy of the network being created throughout. Unless there is permission granted from the network, no one can make the changes to the blockchain hence Ethereum is a very secure network. Its currency can be stored as mobile wallets, hardware wallets, web wallets, paper wallets, or desktops. 

Corda:

Corda is a very famous open-source project in the blockchain. It is designed for enterprises that design businesses from scratch. The main advantage to work with Corda is it allows its users to build an interoperable network that ensures strict privacy. Corda is also known for its smart contract technology that allows upcoming businesses to make transactions directly. It also offers services such as timestamping for ordering the transactions temporarily, ignoring the disputes. It consists of smart logic that can specify constraints ensuring whether the state transitions are valid in the contract code. Corda also ensures privacy, identity, scalability, and security in transactions. 

Hyperledger:

Hyperledger was created in the year 2015 as an open-source community that focuses on the development of a stable suite of frameworks, libraries, and tools for permissioned blockchain deployments. Hyperledger is hosted by The Linux Foundation as a globally created collaboration. It includes several member organisations which are dealing in banking, finance, IoT, supply chains, technology as well as manufacturing. It has a few sub-projects as well such as Cello, Composer, Hyperledger Fabric, Sawtooth, etc.
The main purpose of this blockchain technology is to accelerate an industry-wide collaboration to develop high-performance as well as reliable blockchain based on distributed ledger framework which can be used globally in the various industry sectors. It aims at enhancing efficiency, transactions, and performance of all the business processes. 

Top Blockchain Programming Languages

java:

There are a few steps that a user needs to follow for implementing blockchain in Java. Let us see the steps to be followed below:

  • Creating Blocks: The user needs to create the blocks to implement a block class. A user will hash (will contain the block hash), previousHash (will contain the previous block’s hash), String Data (stores the block data), long timeStamp, and calculateHash() function for generating the hash.
  • Generating Hash: There is an algorithm that is used to generate the hashes. It is SHA256 that needs to be implemented. 
  • Storage of the blocks: The blocks can be stored in ArrayList of blocks. They also store the hash values and this is executed by calling a constructor of the block class. 
  • Blockchain Validity: This is executed by creating a boolean method that checks the validity of the blockchain. This method is generally executed in the main class of the java program. The main class checks if the hash matches or not. If the calculated hash matches, then the block is marked valid otherwise it is marked invalid. 

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Python:

The user has to follow the steps below in order to execute the implementation process of blockchain in python:

  • The data is stored in the form of JSON format and it is very easy to read as well as implement. Same as java, the data gets stored inside a block and a block can hold multiple data. There can be as many boxes as the user wants and all of them can be differentiated using fingerprints.
  • The process of fingerprint authentication is done by using hash and hashing is executed using SHA256 algorithm. This way each block has its own hash value along with the hash value of the previous function so that it remains unique.
  • The purpose of fingerprints is to chain all the blocks together. A block is attached to the previous block using a hash and it gets attached to the next block by giving its hash to the next block. 
  • It is difficult to exploit the proof of work using these techniques. 
  • A block is only added to the chain after the mining process is successful.
  • The validity of the chain needs to be checked after the mining process to prevent any kind of tampering with the network of blockchain.
  • A web app is then created using Flask which is then deployed publicly according to the requirement of the user.

C++:

This language has several features that make it largely useful for blockchain. Since a blockchain needs to make interactions with a huge number of untrusted nodes, it still delivers quick service to all the nodes. Here comes the role of C++ as it provides a very critical prompt service to its users for cryptocurrency. This language makes sure that all the needs are taken care of and the demands are fulfilled at their best by providing the required memory usage and CPU control to its users. C++ is also known to be an efficient language for blockchain memory management as well as providing high performance to the blockchain.

Golang:

The user has to follow the steps below in order to execute the implementation process of blockchain in Go language:

  • A Go project has to be created and all the necessary packages have to be imported.
  • A custom block is created for holding the data in the blockchain. Cide is added to the ‘blockchain. go’ file. Then the genesis block property is added to the first block of the blockchain.
  • The user has to calculate the hash value for the block now using SHA256 algorithm.
  • The next step is to mine the new blocks by generating a block hash which will start with a required no of zeros. After this, the genesis block is created.
  • The new blocks are then added to the blockchain and their hash and mine values are calculated. 
  • Finally, the validity of the blockchain is calculated so that the transactions are recorded successfully. 

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Conclusion

Blockchain programming allows its users to have a platform where there are no middlemen and the controls are solely in the hands of the users using the blockchain, thus increasing the immutability. To make this work, blockchain requires a few programming languages such as java, python, go lang, etc which we have discussed in this article. We have also discussed Blockchain types and various types of popular blockchains and their uses.

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Manikanth
Manikanth
Research Analyst
As a Senior Writer for HKR Trainings, Sai Manikanth has a great understanding of today’s data-driven environment, which includes key aspects such as Business Intelligence and data management. He manages the task of creating great content in the areas of Digital Marketing, Content Management, Project Management & Methodologies, Product Lifecycle Management Tools. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

A blockchain programmer is responsible for the development of blockchain protocols, developing smart contracts, and the right architecture of the blockchain technology using apps.

Yes. blockchain requires programming and it can be done using programming languages such as java, python, GoLang, etc.

A person needs to have certain skills such as a master's in data structures, knowledge of Corda, Hyperledger, Ethereum, etc to be the right person for pursuing blockchain coding. Otherwise, it will seem difficult. 

Yes. It is a very good career option as this technology is growing very fast along with the opening of a number of job opportunities for the users.

Skills such as Corda, data structures, Hyperledger, Ethereum, etc are required for blockchain.