What does the Rise of Blockchain Mean for Web Development_ (1)

What Does the Rise of Blockchain Mean for Web Development?

In Business Strategy, Blockchain, Website Development by Flying V GroupLeave a Comment

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Blockchain is a decentralized system offering secured and transparent peer-to-peer transfer of digital assets like contracts, crypto money, intellectual properties, etc. It is a technology that records all transactions in a public ledger verified by several computers having the authority to do so (which is called mining).

While blockchain is associated with Bitcoin for most people, its applications are useful in many kinds of public records of transactions. Businesses dealing in financial services, healthcare, media, government, supply chain management, Internet of Things, asset management, and many others rely on blockchain as a transaction ledger for digital activities.

Leveraging blockchain for website development is possible for a front-end developer without understanding every component of the technology, such as symmetric keypairs, blocks, transactions, and more.

Before developing a blockchain-powered website, the developer needs to install two dependencies, namely, Node.Js and Ethereum Node service. These are useful for developers to design and create a website with a successful connection to the blockchain.

Creating a blockchain-enabled website includes four key elements viz, Web App, API, Middleware, and database.

Blockchain in Web Development

The rise of blockchain technology can be a boon for web development. Given its massive, distributed database, blockchain helps web developers publish new data and a technique for internal nodes to verify publishing that complies with the network's standards and consensus processes. 

Due to the popularity and versatility of blockchain technology, many big IT companies have embraced it and begun selling blockchain as a service for AWS and ConsenSys Quorum.

Quick adoption of such services indicates that Blockchain technology is gaining traction amongst various industries. This is only the beginning, and the future should be taken seriously, as many new businesses' reliance on Blockchain technology becomes inevitable.

Consider blockchain as a database for a web server that other devices may access, including those not connected to your network.

So the question is...

Where does Blockchain Fit Into the Web Development Stack?

Since blockchain is essentially a distributed system with bespoke business logic and an API, it comes across as a backend.

Still, blockchain has many traits often associated with the frontend layer — ubiquitous, simple to deploy and scale, and naturally transparent. Just like everyone can see the source code of a Javascript+HTML application, anyone (with permission) can access the source code and data of a smart contract.

Because of this, you can consider blockchain as a hybrid of a backend and a frontend. Businesses can quickly equip themselves with blockchain technology to switch from legacy backends to more open ones like blockchain. Doing so would require web developers to include the functionality of current stacks or ensure the platform is integrated as a prerequisite. Even if blockchain fails to replace all backends in the long run, it may serve as a trust and reliability-enhancing intermediary layer for the time being. 

Blockchain for Website Wallet

Web wallets are hot wallets that remain online all the time. Websites can host such are browser-based wallets that a user activates by accessing the wallet URL on a website and signing in. The growing amount of cyber threats has pushed website owners (accepting online payments) to look for safer options. A compromised wallet is vulnerable to hackers, leading to the loss of valuables. You can safeguard payment by implementing a Blockchain Wallet with many security layers in such a case.

Blockchain wallets on websites keep private keys on the blockchain network, unlike traditional wallets that store keys on user devices. Users may download and store private keys in non-hosted wallets like MyEtherWallet and MetaMask. For instance, both Coinbase and CEX.io have hosted wallets.

It is possible to store many cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, in a blockchain-based wallet. A blockchain wallet makes it easier to transfer money with asymmetric cryptography used in blockchain transactions. And because of that, all your web-based blockchain transactions are safe. User privacy and identity are protected, and the best bitcoin wallet may be accessed from any web-enabled device, including mobile ones.

There are plugins available to add cryptocurrency features to a site for WordPress merchants. Create a cryptocurrency calculator, add real-time rate charts, determine transaction totals, etc. When creating a website for blockchain transactions using WordPress, you can use any of the following plugins:

Blockchain Across All Layers of a Website

It is possible to leverage blockchain across all the layers of the website. Ethereum and Aergo are attempting to replace not just the data layer like MySQL but also the business logic (PHP), server (Apache), and transport layer (HTTP). While this is an excellent value offer for developers and companies, it is also very difficult to implement.

If we are expecting blockchain to stay for long, some of its components must develop into web standards. Fortunately, this has already started in the right direction. For instance, there is a W3C working draft for Decentralized Identifiers (DID), a system that was obviously inspired by blockchain technology but is currently being raised to a general standard. You can expect to see more of such ventures in the future.

Compared to conventional backends written in PHP, Python, Ruby, or Java, Blockchains have limited frameworks and APIs that web developers can utilize. Still, you have plenty of blockchain API providers to choose from. Blockchain lacks adequate solutions for testing and debugging, application-level APIs such as authentication, data fetching and synchronization, and continuous deployment, to mention a few. Traditional web apps often depend on REST APIs, OAuth, and sessions, for which blockchain is not ready yet.

On the flip side, we have Truffle as an available solution to address key issues related to testing and deployment. Also, blockchain can benefit from oracle networks as it drives external systems interaction coupled with layer-2 identity protocols. But, if compared to traditional web development solutions, they are far less mature and standardized.

For instance, developers equipped with Ruby on Rails, Spring, or Django may not fancy blockchain supports. So, we’re still at the experimentation phase where everyone creates their own solutions, and therefore, it might take some time and plenty of community input for stronger blockchain adoption in web development.

Conclusion

It is better to consider blockchain as a part of a cohesive website technology stack and not in isolation. The roadmap for web applications with blockchain do not work in isolation, and instead, must be treated as a part of a stack. This demands much-improved integration, standards, and best practices to ensure success with blockchain. And even if blockchain-as-we-know-it falls out of favor in the future, it will have facilitated many innovations for the decentralized web.


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Robb Fahrion
Robb Fahrion, Partner
Flying V Group

 

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