Blockchain is more manageable a field than it seems. In this post, we’re going to explore the various aspects of the framework and give you a few pointers on what to learn before embarking on your journey into the blockchain.
We will begin by outlining what blockchain is, why it has captured so many people’s attention and the components that make up this exciting new framework.
Because we will be discussing the technical side of blockchain, you should stop here if you wish to stick to a purely technical frame of reference.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a distributed ledger in which transactions made in cryptocurrency are stored chronologically and publicly.
Each block includes a cryptographic hash of the past block, a timestamp, and transactions. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to the upgradation of the data.
A blockchain can act as an open, distributed ledger that can store transactions between two parties effectively and in a verifiable and permanent way. A blockchain’s open and distributed nature allows participants to verify and audit transactions inexpensively. This allows for a decentralized network and a distributed ledger.
Blockchain is a database on many computers with no central administrator. Cryptocurrencies are digital assets built using cryptography to secure transactions and data transfers.
Cryptography is a way to secure communication (e.g., send digitally encrypted emails) and store/transfer value (e.g., send digitally encrypted money). Protocols are rules everyone who uses the blockchain must follow to create new blocks and add them to the chain.
What should you learn before blockchain?
Knowledge in Technical Field: You must know what blockchain is, how it works, and how it’s used in the real world. If you don’t know anything about bitcoin, you need to learn how it functions. For a beginner, it’s best to start with the history of bitcoin and blockchain.
Programming Skills: You need to understand how the blockchain works technically. For example, you should at least be familiar with Bitcoin’s smart contract scripting language, Script. This is likely important if you are planning on writing smart contracts.
It starts with a solid understanding of computer science fundamentals, then moves on to more advanced topics like data structures, consensus algorithms, and cryptography (private key cryptography, to be precise).
Distributed systems and Networking: The most popular blockchain networks are built on the internet protocol suite. These networked systems require a good working knowledge of networking concepts. You need to understand what a peer-to-peer network is, how networks communicate, and the internet protocols such as TCP/IP that underpin all communications on the internet.
Designing With Blockchain: You should also be familiar with basic security design principles, like keeping your private keys safe, being mindful of common attack methods, and keeping your passwords secure. Designing for blockchain is fundamentally different than most projects you’ll work on.
Cryptography: Bitcoin is used as a medium of exchange and a store of value because it uses cryptography to secure transactions. Building on top of Bitcoin, you must understand basic cryptography, particularly public key cryptography (advanced techniques like elliptic curve discrete logarithms, digital signatures, and hash functions).
Data Structures: Blockchain is a distributed ledger which means that all its components are spread over multiple computers. This means you must know how to design and implement a distributed system and use data structures to store and retrieve data efficiently.
Consensus Algorithms: These algorithms govern how transactions are propagated through the network. For example, Bitcoin uses proof of work as its consensus algorithm. You should also know about Byzantine fault tolerance because it forms the bedrock for designing a distributed system that needs to be fault tolerant.
Economics and Finance: You need to understand how incentives influence people’s behavior. For example, if the blockchain you’re building is used for accounting, you need to know how accounting works and what gives businesses an incentive to keep their books in good order.
Smart Contracts: Blockchain technology is primarily used as a decentralized ledger where each block contains cryptographic hashes of the previous blocks.
However, there are several other types of applications for blockchain technology, including smart contracts. Smart contracts are computer protocols that facilitate, prove, or enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract.
Understand Blockchain Security: It is essential to understand the security principles of blockchain. You must know security concepts like hackers and exploits, private key encryption, secure coding practices, data encryption standard (DES), and public key infrastructure.
Blockchain development is one of the most relevant and lucrative strategies for programming. It is also quite a challenge to master all of these areas, so we recommend you learn one new skill every month.
After some time, you will see that your understanding of the topic has grown significantly, and you will be able to design and develop sophisticated blockchain applications.
Some of these will get you hired. As the market is still quite nascent and there is no clear leader, you must be very picky about which blockchain project you join. Therefore, you need to learn how to evaluate a blockchain project effectively and generate quality code that can help improve your product.