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key attributes

What are the trust attributes of blockchain?

Ahsan Amin

Two key attributes of blockchain that have increased the trust of people in it are:

  • Security
  • Accountability

Security

Public key cryptography

All the transactions are signed by the senders, thus making it difficult for an imposter to do a transaction on someone else's behalf. A transaction is only valid if it has a valid digital signature, which can only be obtained by someone who has access to the owner's private keyA secret key which which is used in making the digital signature..

Decentralization

Blockchains are decentralized networks meaning no single entity owns a blockchain. It is maintained by a network of nodes that are called miners. They validate all the transactions before adding them to a block and verify all the blocks (received from other nodes) before adding them to their local view of the blockchain, also called a journal, thus increasing the network's overall security.

Decentralization can increase the security of the network in the following ways:

  • Censorship resistance: Any entity cannot block the content available on the blockchain as it's difficult to identify and block all the nodes maintaining the blockchain at any time.
  • Fault-tolerant: Centralized systems usually have one copy of the data stored on a server, with a single point of failure. Malicious actors can exploit this by launching a distributed denial-of-service attack known as a DDOS attack. However, blockchains are maintained by a network of nodes, so even if a single node is attacked and goes offline, all other nodes would still be running, and the blockchain network would stay online.

Immutable transactions

Transactions are stored in blocks chained together through previous blocks' hashes, thus making the data and transactions in these blocks immutable (because if anything is changed in a block, it will result in a different hash and unchaining of the blockchain).

Accountability

All public blockchain data is freely available and can be viewed online. Thus, making it impossible to hide or modify transactions. Moreover, blocks are added to the global ledger through majority consensus. Every node in the network verifies all the transactions in a block before adding them to their journal. If someone adds a malicious transaction to their block, their stake is slashed (if the blockchain uses proof of stake as the consensus algorithm).

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