A lot of people still find it hard to believe that blockchain technology is built on open-source software code. And this openness is responsible for its security, efficiency, and reliability. This means that a community of developers with different perspectives and skillsets, all working on the same code base, can increase the number of applications built.
Open-source is everywhere
Open-source is more common than people think. For instance, Linux (one of the popular operating systems) is open-source software. Linux controls the servers for many platforms that we comfortably share our details on nowadays. This includes Google, Facebook, and other major websites.
Linux was created out of collaborative efforts, and over 20,000 developers from different companies have contributed to the code since 2005. That is basically how open source software works. People can freely change, add, modify, or even build off the open-source codebase to create new apps and platforms.
Many of the software code for blockchain and cryptocurrency use open-source software. Also, the good thing about open-source software is that it is created by reliable developers who are always on guard to check for bugs or errors. And when there is a problem, a community of developers works together (though at different locations) to proffer solutions.
Blockchain and Open-source
An overview of how blockchain works:
- Blockchain platforms have a transactional database. This database enables peer-to-peer transactions.
- There are user-identification labels that oversee transactions.
- Platforms have secure ways to verify transactions before approval.
- Any transaction without verification will not go through.
By using the open-source software, developers can build these platforms in a decentralized application, which is responsible for the efficiency of transactions in the blockchain. Note that this decentralized approach implies that there is no need for a central authority to instigate transactions. And as transactions are recorded in the ledger, they are sent across the system.
Furthermore, blockchain uses cryptography to ensure the security of transactions. Each transaction has information connecting it with previous transactions to ascertain its authenticity.
Is blockchain an open-source?
Technically, blockchain itself may not be open source, but blockchain systems use open-source software. These systems also use a concept that represents an open culture void of a central authority. However, proprietary software built by private financial companies is under the regulations of government agencies.
In the US, such regulatory bodies include the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Reserve Board, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). But blockchain technology is independent of government supervision, as the community of users verifies their transactions themselves. That is one of the reasons blockchain have gained so much attention since its inception. Its influence can also disrupt industries because of its no-central-authority nature.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
As of June 2020, over 50 million people own blockchain wallets. Individuals use many of the wallets for financial transactions, such as trading Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies. Many people now also use these wallets to check crypto prices the same way traders view stock prices.
In addition to that, cryptocurrency platforms also use open-source software. An example is the Ethereum project, which is free. Cryptocurrency blockchain is a growing record linked together in a sequence. There is no central bank in crypto blockchains, so anyone can verify transactions without changing the records.
A formidable chain
No government controls the blockchain system, as the distributed network keeps them secure. The growth of the chain also makes it more difficult to virtually destroy the network. And the code behind this decentralized ecosystem is open-source. This is why users trust each other in transactions rather than using an intermediary (bank or broker).