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October 12, 2018

Did you know? (Blockchain Part 3 of 3)

In this conclusion of the 3-part mini-series on Blockchain, I endeavor to leave you with two important aspects – Accounts and Smart Contracts.

Accounts (also referred to as External Owned Accounts) are similar to any accounts we know in our daily lives – it is a placeholder to track an entity’s balance and can be transacted upon. The implementation of these accounts can vary from one blockchain platform to the other, but the concept is essentially the same. Accounts are usually protected by a passcode and the owner of the account can accumulate currency (in the case of Ethereum, ether) – either through transfers from other stakeholders or as a fee for mining one or more transactions (as explained in part 2).

Note: In the public Ethereum Blockchain, 1 ether is trading at $213.

 

A very important and meaningful aspect of Blockchain is the provision to deploy and transact through Smart Contracts. A smart contract is essentially a program written to enforce the core business logic of transactions that can occur between two or more stakeholders. For instance, if we write a smart contract for transactions between a motor vehicle registry, car dealership and its customers, then we would represent in code, the various parameters that would represent the state of the contract such as “Vehicle ID Number”, “Registration Status”, “Manufacturer”, “Model”, “Year of Manufacture”, “DateofSale”, “OwnerName”, “OwnerAddress”… and so on. Next, we would provide functions or methods to manipulate these parameters via the possible events or flow of transactions – for instance: something like SaleComplete() would allow the dealer to provide DateofSale, OwnerName & OwnerAddress. Similarly, RegisterVehicle() would allow the motor vehicle registry to allocate a license plate number to the vehicle. This smart contract will then need to be deployed to the Blockchain (basically, a new instance is created).

Once deployed or instantiated, it is copied across the different nodes and the stakeholders can transact by calling the relevant functions/methods. Each transaction of course, needs to be mined or processed by a mining node. The most popular language for writing Smart Contracts today is Solidity, although there are other choices such as JavaScript, Python and others.

Hope this brief peek into Blockchain was a useful primer – for those of you keen to learn more, I plan to run a 2-day workshop shortly at the UBQT Design School.

Nagendra N

Nagendra N

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