What do you think of when you hear the word blockchain? For most people, they think about cryptocurrency powered by Bitcoin or Litecoin etc. Beyond that though, it’s worth taking a look at blockchain as it has some attributes which make it ideal for a variety of mobile apps.
Here at Kumulos, we decided to look into how blockchain could further impact mobile app development in the future. After all, if you’re a mobile app developer or software developer it’s good to understand emerging technology and know how to advise your clients when it comes to developing mobile apps. In fact, mobile blockchain was just one of the 2018 top mobile trends we highlighted along with augmented reality coming of age and more.
Like all emerging technologies – voice, IoT, AR, VR, robotics, AI, blockchain …it’s pretty certain that technologies are merging and we’ve reached Industry 4.0 – this is something Mozenix talk about a lot on their augmented reality blog which is featured in the top UK Augmented Reality development agencies. But now it’s time to look into how we, at Kumulos, see blockchain creating a positive change for mobile app development in the future with an even more secure environment and other benefits.
An even more secure environment
There is great transparency with blockchain technology. Everything is recorded so the information is easily tracked by users and you can see everything involved in the process. One way that we see mobile app developers investigating blockchain technologies is to help solve the unique challenges around HIPAA. Want to learn more? Take a look at our 2018 top mobile trends.
Blockchain adds a complex digital ledger system
Blockchain is a digital ledger, powered by a computer network, collaboratively sending and parsing data. When there’s a change in information, that change is transmitted to the other machines on the network that hold the same ledger, and therefore, the values are updated.
Mobile technology also has a need for this systematic type of approach. Most systems, not just mobile networks, use a client and server side system. The phone and mobile app act as a client, and a central server distributes data upon requests. Mobile networks are stressed as millions of users flood the channels trying to get data wirelessly. Blockchain technology could improve this with its advanced storage and data streaming! If your mobile app development agency would like to learn more about growing your business, check out these mobile app agency guides.
Safeguarding digital information for multiple users
Encryption is complex with blockchain. In fact, it’s so complex that it makes it impossible for anyone without a decryption key to trick the system. This definitely lends itself to any system that requires multiple user access and hence its impact on mobile app development. If you’d like to learn how to deliver app services to scale, it’s worth listening to this webinar.
What else should you know about blockchain?
One of our clients, Waracle recently interviewed Wallet.Services to reveal everything you need to know about blockchain. Wallet.Services aim to streamline, simplify and secure digital life by accelerating the use and harnessing the benefits of blockchain technology across society.
It’s a great Q&A session with Iona Murray, Marketing Manager at Wallet.Services – here are just some of the highlights!
How secure is blockchain?
Data contained on the blockchain is cryptographically secured, so it is mathematically implausible to cheat and expose the data.
Each user of the network has a private and public key. Unsurprisingly, it’s a user’s public key that is shown to the network, and the corresponding private key is kept hidden by the user. The combination of both these keys creates a unique digital signature on every transaction, keeping everyone accountable.
Think of a username and password: the username is what is recognisable to the network, and the password is what you keep to yourself to access the network. But people can often find ways of transacting on regular networks without necessarily being held accountable. It’s the digital signature in blockchain networks that is the added level of security – as it allows all transactions to be traceable (depending on the rules of the network).
These sort of security characteristics are quite unique to blockchain, and are some of the reasons why it’s getting so much attention.
Can you tell us more about Satoshi Nakamoto?
He/she is the supposed creator of Bitcoin, so in turn blockchain technology too. They have a few thousand bitcoin, and with the well known increase in bitcoin value they are worth billions. They’ve never spent any though! The public have never actually seen/heard from them, they pretty much went into hiding after the establishment of the bitcoin network. It’s a great story. I mean who knows, Wallet.Services MD, Stuart could be Satoshi on the sly?
What’s the most simple use case?
Probably the example of transacting money, as this is something almost everyone has had to do.
When data is put on to the blockchain, in this example a money value, it’s as real as having the cash. The data is secured and can’t be copied or spent more than once. Only the intended user can decrypt the data, so spend the money, and a record of all transactions is kept in a tamper-proof ledger. In this case, there is no need for a middle man such as the bank, to check if the sender has the appropriate funds or if the recipient is who they say they are.
Which countries are leading the way in terms of blockchain systems?
Well Estonia, of course – with talk about releasing their own national cryptocurrency estcoin.
Switzerland – because of the provenance of blockchain startups, one densely populated region is actually referred to as Crypto Valley.
Dubai hopes to establish themselves as a destination for innovative startups, a lot of which are focussed on blockchain tech. Along with this, their Land Department are building a real estate register system on blockchain.
And Scotland. Through Wallet.Services work on the Scottish Government DLT strategy we have kicked off a number of use cases for blockchain around the country. For example, Citylets is going to pilot blockchain to monitor rent rate increases to evidence for or against rent controls. In this case, landlords can steadily increase rent and due to the unavailability of data, councils have a tough time regulating this. This approach should mean that tenants get a fairer renting experience.
How can blockchain be used in healthcare to be a more secure system for managing medical records?
Estonian-based company Guardtime have been tracking changes to citizens’ healthcare record on a distributed ledger for years. This means that all updates, including checks, on medical records have been recorded and can be traced to an individual or organisation – so if an insurance company has looked at your medical records in Estonia, there is a record of this.
As a step further, if the medical records were originally stored on the blockchain itself this would mean that they were cybersecure and it would be almost impossible for unauthorised users to view a person’s medical record. Also, privacy and confidentiality would be assured as blockchain can eliminate overexposure of our medical records between the different health authorities. Digital health and blockchain go hand in hand.
So, if you’d still like to know more about how blockchain impacts mobile app development, give us a shout and we’ll explain the attributes which make it ideal for some mobile apps.
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