It is very crucial to understand the network type used in the Blockchain. Blockchain uses Distributed Peer-to-Peer Networks. Usually, there are three types of network. Centralized, Decentralized and Distributed. Let’s look at all of these networks one by one. Then, we will also look at what does it mean by Peer-to-Peer.
Centralized Network – In the centralized network, all the data is owned by a central authority. Everything connects to a central network owner. An owner can be company or database.
For Example, A library contains all the books in the world. Anytime you want information, you’d have to go to this library to get it. The information, in this case, is completely centralized. So this can be very effective and is an extremely common way to share information.
But what if our library were destroyed?
Well, in this case, we would lose everything. In a completely centralized system, we wouldn’t have any way to recover this information.
Another possible issue could be the speed. To get a book, you’ll need to go all the way to the library no matter how far away you might live.
Decentralized Network – To help address some of these concerns, other types of networks have been created. One of these is called a decentralized network. In a decentralized network, there’s no longer a single point where all this information exists. Instead, this information is spread across multiple locations.
So instead of holding all our books in a single library, we have many libraries spread throughout the city. Duplicates of each book could exist in each library. Suppose, now one library gets destroyed there are no worries because a copy of books (data) is available in other libraries (nodes/servers).
In a decentralized system, Instead of having to go all the way to the centre of a large city, you have a library down the street or in your local town.
Distributed System – A distributed system is a decentralized system pushed to its furthest limits. In a distributed system, everyone gets a copy of the information with the same access and control as anyone else. There’s no centralization of the information at all.
This gives everyone equal access to whatever information they need. If we extend our library example just a little bit further, we can use it to describe a distributed system. To help imagine it, pretend our library holds 50 books.
This is small enough that you could fit them all in your personal bookshelf.
So let’s say a whole group of people each get their own 50 books to put onto the personal bookshelves. This will create a network where everyone has quick and easy access to all the information that already exists. This is the idea behind a distributed network.
So that’s the idea behind centralized, decentralized and distributed networks. Now, let’s go back to the blockchain. Why was all this important?
It’s important because the blockchain is a distributed network. If a distributed network gives everyone ownership of the information, how do we do this with a blockchain?
Here, everyone downloads a copy of the blockchain to their local computer. They interact with this copy of the blockchain and have full access to all the information it contains.
This is similar to the library example with everyone having access and control over their books. So we don’t need to go to the library to find them. With everyone having access to the transaction information, we don’t need anyone else like a bank to track that information for us.
This distributed system is one way the blockchain is attempting to bypass the need for external third parties. So, that’s how the blockchain operates as a distributed peer-to-peer network. It allows everyone to interact freely with one another on the network, and it gives everyone full access to the transaction histories held on the blockchain.
About Peer-to-Peer and Distributed
Peer-to-peer is a network of computers that allows information to be shared across users. It allows users known as nodes to send information directly
between one another without the need for a central authority to hold that information. So it’s a way to connect users to be able to share information. As an example, think of any chat service like Skype, WeChat or Google Hangouts. These are all peer-to-peer networks that allow you to talk with your friends and family. The blockchain is also a peer-to-peer network.
A distributed network is similar to the idea of a peer-to-peer network. It’s a network that allows information to be spread across many users. So while being peer-to-peer allows open communication across users, being distributed allows that information itself to be owned by those users.
In the future articles we will see what is Memory Pool in the Blockchain.