Are Blockchain Blocks Really Immutable?

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Blockchain – here’s a word that keeps radiating brilliant light these days.

Bitcoin is the one that gave wings to the Blockchain as a concept. Bitcoin is what boosted the popularity of the Blockchain, but the emerging technology managed to climb to newer heights on its own.

Blockchain’s philosophical spectrum goes from Satoshi minimalists to broad maximalist enterprise adopters.

The Blockchain continues to fly higher, at faster speeds, fueled by features that flaunt both uniqueness and a sublime state.

One of them is the trait of immutability, and this is the Blockchain feature that we’ll address in-depth.

Immutability - a core defining feature of the Blockchain

Immutability is a feature of the Blockchain that can morph the auditing process.

Auditing might become a quick, smooth, and cost-efficient procedure. Blockchain also helps boost trust and integrity to data business daily use and share.

Businesses are now spending trillions of dollars while struggling to get the best out of cybersecurity solutions.

Such solutions are built with the specific target of keeping bad actors and prying eyes away. The goal also includes stopping them from spying on sensitive data.

But there is a more intense battle rarely fought the right way – the internal cybersecurity war.

Cybersecurity involves ensuring that the data has not been manipulated, falsified, and replaced by a company or its employees.

Usually, all that we can do is trust that the data is correct by using private keys or users' permissions.

But unfortunately, in reality, we cannot prove that the data in a standard application database is unequivocally tamper-free. That is why auditing has become a costly weapon of defense.

Here is where the Blockchain enters the building and comes to rescue the day.

The Blockchain implementation can bring an unprecedented level of trust to the data that businesses and large enterprises are using daily.

It’s safe to say that immutability offers integrity to crucial information.

Blockchain will turn out your MVP by successfully proving to your stakeholders that your information has not been tampered with.

It also transforms the auditing process into an effective procedure that is not that expensive.

Cryptography and the Blockchain hashing process ensure data immutability.

Every transaction that the Blockchain’s network verifies ends up timestamped.

This timestamp is embedded into a block of information. The transactions are secured cryptographically by a hashing process.

This links and incorporates the hashes of previous blocks. It joins the chain of the network as the next chronological update.

If someone were to tamper with the data, the Blockchain would break.

In other words, it’s impossible to manipulate or delete data after it’s been validated and placed into the Blockchain.

If a bad actor attempts such a thing, the subsequent blocks in the chain will reject the attempted change.

You will not encounter such a feature in traditional databases. In traditional databases, you can easily change and delete data.

Immutability’s benefits for businesses

Immutability is a vital concept for enterprises.

The advantages include fraud prevention and easier auditing efforts.

All ledgers that deploy the Blockchain tech will be able to offer a guarantee and full history, data trails of an application. Anyone can validate the chain’s integrity at all times.

Another benefit is simplified auditing.

The ability to produce a transactional ledger’s complete and indisputable history allows for easier and more efficient auditing.

Companies that can prove that their data has not been tampered with will gain a significant competitive advantage.

And last but not least, we are talking about boosted efficiency.

It’s vital to understand that keeping a full, accurate historical record is great for auditing. More than that, it brings new opportunities for the overall business process.

All in all, immutability will make the current data-related issues usually plaguing businesses' applications irrelevant. Immutability brings peace of mind and success.

Proof of fault is another perk seen by businesses that use the Blockchain. Companies can leverage proof of fault to prevent most disputes regarding data integrity.

Are the Blockchain blocks 100% immutable?

The feature of immutability refers to something that cannot be altered following its creation.

It’s probably safe to say that software programming enthusiasts know the importance of immutable objects best.

In the crypto and Blockchain space, you’ll see the question of whether the blockchain blocks are immutable and whether it’s possible that a bad actor or malicious attacker can change the block somehow in their favor.

A blockchain block might not be 100% immutable, but a complex mathematical puzzle approach makes it practically impossible.

For an attacker to succeed, they need to create a longer chain of blocks than the existing one.

Also, such a process’s distribution and time-consuming nature make manipulation near impossible.

If you wonder whether an already accepted block can be prone to modifications, the answer is yes.

But it would require the attacker to take control of 51% of the network’s computers – this is called the 51% attack .

It’s reassuring to learn that this is highly unlikely.

Also, it would be more beneficial for the bad actor to earn Bitcoin by mining and play fair rather than cheating the system.

The Blockchain is nearly immutable - this is the correct answer. But it also depends on which Blockchain you’re referring to.

The Blockchain immutability myth

CoinDesk published a piece on the Blockchain’s immutability called “The Blockchain Immutability Myth.”

Their article refers to Dr. Gideon Greenspan, the founder, and CEO of Coin Sciences.

Coin Sciences is the company behind the MultiChain platform for private Blockchains.

He’s attacking the idea that the genuine immutability of the Blockchain can truly be achieved in Blockchain systems.

He’s arguing that there should be a more relative definition of immutability, just as we’ve explained above. A relative definition can indeed better encapsulate what Blockchain technology can achieve.

CoinDesk concludes that there is no such thing as perfect immutability in Blockchain technology.

They review the risks of Proof-of-Work Blockchains and the technical value of chameleon hashes, concluding that Blockchain immutability is a pretty nuanced concept.

According to CoinDesk, the real question is: “What are the conditions under which a particular Blockchain can and cannot be changed? And do those conditions match the problem we’re trying to solve?”

The viable solution to boost Blockchain security: Cryptographically-Encrypted Timestamps

To tackle the Blockchain bully called the 51% attack, experts suggest using more protection for the Blockchain.

This flaw is a window that allows tampering with the data in the Blockchain. But this window can be closed.

A conceptualized application scenario shows the benefits of Blockchain technology in providing genuine provenance and traceability to vital services and products.

By using cryptographically-encrypted timestamps, Blockchain technology is eventually able to solve the issue of double-spending.

Double-spending is when a user spends the same assets more than once.

This is the very issue that we were referring to above – the 51% attack or the double-spend attack refers to a miner or group of miners on the Blockchain who are trying to spend the crypto twice.

OriginStamp delivers robust solutions that can transform data ownership, access, and security by using the immutability of blocks to create tamper-proof timestamps for data and documents.

Benefits of tamper-proof timestamps

Flexible and scalable timestamps offer users the ability to add tamper-proof timestamps to documents, data, and any other digital asset. Here are the main benefits that come along with using tamper-proof timestamps.

Data integrity

The data posted on the Blockchain ledger is immutable in theory, and we’ve already addressed the very rare case in which this instance can be compromised. Using tamper-proof timestamps can tackle the risks and deliver state-of-the-art data integrity.

Making auditing a piece of cake

Cryptographically-encrypted Timestamps and the immutability of blocks allow the auditing process to become a genuine piece of cake.

End-users have to simply upload a document, and they’re done. The backend will have to comply with data protection regulations.

But using Blockchain technology, all they have to do is present the ledger to auditors who are certain that they can rely on the legitimacy and authenticity of the data source. They can enjoy boosted confidence.

Authenticity of traceability and provenance

The Blockchain provides a feature of traceability and provenance of data that is 100% reliable.

This is great for the auditing process and delivers great benefits for developers.

SaaS-based businesses can enjoy developers making rich queries and getting a lot of analytics from the Blockchain.

They will never have to worry about the truthfulness of data. The immutability of the ledger also diminished the probability of any potential disputes.

Besides the features mentioned above of high security, traceability, and immutability, timestamps provide more beneficial features that kill the industry’s limitations, such as accessibility.

Conclusion

The ability of the Blockchain to remain unalterable and permanent is a core feature that’s highlighted by Blockchain and Bitcoin evangelists. It’s crucial to make the best out of this key benefit and explore the multitude of use cases that it boasts.

The unique characteristics of the Blockchain boost trust, transparency, and security, and they continue to send businesses to new heights in the success realm.

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