Evolution of Immutability in Blockchain: From Early Days to Now

Evolution of Immutability in Blockchain: From Early Days to Now
Evolution of Immutability in Blockchain: From Early Days to Now

Immutability, the ability of a blockchain to be unaltered is a vital aspect of blockchain technology. This technology has grown immensely over time. This article discusses the evolution of immutability in blockchain. 


What is Immutability in Blockchain?

Immutability in blockchain is the ability of a blockchain ledger to maintain a permanent, indelible, and unalterable history of transactions — it is a defining quality that blockchain proponents stress as a fundamental value. 


Immutability can change the auditing process into a quick, efficient, and cost-effective method and increase trust and integrity in the data that businesses use and share daily.


The Need For Immutability in Blockchain 

We spend trillions of dollars on cybersecurity solutions to prevent outside prying eyes from accessing our sensitive data. 


But we rarely fight the internal cybersecurity battle: ensuring that our data has stayed the same, replaced, or faked by a corporation or its personnel. 


In many circumstances, we have come to believe that the data is correct due to methods such as private keys and user permissions. 


However, we cannot logically or analytically establish that information in a conventional application database is tamper-proof. Auditing becomes our following (and most expensive) line of defense.


Blockchain adoption can bring unparalleled trust to the data businesses utilize daily – immutability gives integrity (both in its technical and core definitions). 


We may utilize blockchain to demonstrate to our stakeholders that the information we show and use has yet to be tampered with while transforming the audit process into an efficient, rational, and cost-effective approach.


How Immutability in Blockchain Works 

We’ll need to grasp cryptographic hashing before we get into immutability in blockchain. Here are the essentials:


A hash function takes existing data and returns a “Checksum” — a string of numbers and letters that serves as a digital signature.


The Checksum is guaranteed to refer to your specific data input – if only one byte differs between two files, the hashed outputs will be two completely distinct strings. 


This is analogous to the avalanche effect: a minor change in your input can significantly impact your production.


The NSA developed SHA-2 (and its derivatives, the most prominent being Sha-256 in the blockchain industry) as the most famous hashing algorithm.


The key advantage of the hashing method is that a hash cannot be reverse-engineered. In other words, you won’t be able to discern the input data by working backward from an output string.


It is also worthy of note that each transaction validated by the blockchain network is timestamped and integrated into a “block” of information, cryptographically secured by a hashing process that links to and incorporates the preceding block’s hash and enters the chain as the next chronological update.


A new block’s hashing process always incorporates meta-data from the previous block’s hash output. 


This link in the hashing process makes the chain “unbreakable” — it is impossible to manipulate or delete data after it has been validated and placed in the blockchain because attempting to do so would result in the subsequent blocks in the chain rejecting the attempted modification (as their hashes would no longer be valid). 


In other words, if data is tampered with, the blockchain will fail, and the cause will be apparent. This feature is not found in traditional databases, where information may be easily updated or erased.


The blockchain is a chronological ledger of data. These facts for Crypto include information regarding Cryptocurrency transfers between addresses. 


Advantages of Immutability in Blockchain

The introduction of immutability in blockchain has numerous benefits. In this present day, blockchain technology has an advantage over its equals because of the unique features of immutability.


Some advantages of immutability in blockchain are;

  1. Simplified auditing
  2. Complete data integrity
  3. Proof of fault
  4. Increase in efficiencies


Simplified Auditing 

Generating a complete, irrefutable history of a transactional ledger enables a simple and quick auditing process. 


Proving that data has not been tampered with is a significant benefit for businesses that must adhere to industry laws. Supply chain, finance, and identity management are frequent use cases.


Complete Data Integrity

Blockchain-enabled ledgers can guarantee an application’s whole history and data trail. Once a transaction enters the blockchain, it remains a representation of the ledger up to that point. 


The chain’s integrity may be checked at any time by recalculating the block hashes. The transactions are invalid if there is a disagreement between the block data and its associated hash. 


This enables businesses and industry regulators to discover data tampering fast.


Proof of Fault

Disputes about fault are all too typical in business. While blockchain will not eliminate this vast category of legal processes, it could be used to prevent the majority of data provenance and integrity conflicts (basically demonstrating who did what and when).


The finality of blockchain allows us — and a jury — to fully trust every piece of information.


FlureeDB secures every transaction, confirming who started it, when it was finished, and that it was not tampered with.


It even tracks modifications made to your transaction by a SaaS vendor before it reaches the data storage tier, allowing you to trust your SaaS data without entirely trusting your SaaS vendor.


Increase in Efficiencies

Maintaining a complete historical record improves audits and opens up new possibilities in inquiry, analytics, and general business processes. 


FlureeDB, for example, leverages the concept of time travel for business applications, allowing queries to be provided as of any block — or point in time — and instantaneously duplicate that moment’s version of the database.


This capability enables numerous time and cost benefits, such as pinpointing the origin of crucial issues, auditing specific application data, and backing up and restoring database state changes to retrieve information. 


Immutability can render obsolete the most contemporary data challenges afflicting enterprise programs.


Challenges of Immutability in Blockchain

As immutability in blockchain evolves, it faces certain challenges as it strives to be even more compelling today.


While blockchain’s immutability is recognized to ensure data security, there may be times when the sensitive data stored is vulnerable to attacks. 


The inability to repair inaccuracies in data once it has been posted to the blockchain is the most challenging difficulty given by immutability. 


This can be problematic when there is a legal duty to destroy particular information. Here are the two significant challenges in blockchain immutability:

  1. 51 percent attack
  2. Quantum computing


51 Percent Attack 

The 51 percent attack has the potential to change the blockchain’s immutability. A single entity or organization can gain control of the blockchain’s hashing power in this type of attack, creating disruption. 


To acquire control, the attacker must control more than half of the network’s hash rate. As a result, the attack is known as a 51% attack. 


With such capability, the attacker can prevent or reverse new transactions, resulting in a double spending attack.


Quantum Computing 

Another significant problem in this domain is quantum computing, which threatens blockchain’s immutability. 


IBM experts claim that quantum computing can reverse-engineer the blockchain network’s public key, allowing it to locate the private keys and disrupt the system. 


There is little doubt that this is a serious and credible threat in space, capable of harming over half of all blockchains.


Solutions to Challenges in Immunity in Blockchain 

Experts believe that the “51 percent attack” can be mitigated by developing a better protocol and employing a consensus method such as delegated proof-of-stake” or simply “proof-of-stake.”


Why is this required? It is challenging to stake many tokens on a network instead of renting out processing power. However, it is difficult to say that these methods are reliable enough in the face of such a threat.


Many application developers have proposed incorporating quantum cryptography into the heart of blockchain to combat the threat of quantum computing. 


In the following years, the blockchain architecture built with quantum particles will be able to store all history securely.


The solutions are futuristic. So, for now, be cautious of blockchain adoption and the benefits of designing solid application solutions.


Final Thoughts 

Immutability is a significant aspect of blockchain technology that distinguishes it from traditional databases, where data may be readily modified or destroyed. 


The immutability of blockchain records ensures that transaction security, transparency, and efficiency are always maintained. 


These advantages have expanded the applications of blockchain technology in industries such as finance, healthcare, and supply chain management. 


While blockchain technology is not always 100% immutable and may be vulnerable to attacks, putting in place suitable procedures to deter criminal behavior can help prevent such disruptions. 


Businesses and organizations must, therefore, embrace blockchain technology’s full promise while simultaneously managing immutability’s shortcomings.