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By security practitioners, for security practitioners

Blockchain – How it Evolved from a Trending Buzzword to Protecting Data Integrity

Best known for being the technical foundation of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Blockchain has also found purchase in cybersecurity as a reliable technology for enforcing data integrity.

Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta first introduced blockchain as a concept in 1991. In 2008, it caught fire and became the backbone of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Blockchain continued to garner much attention across many industries and, for a time, became the industry’s biggest buzzword.

Throughout its history, blockchain has consistently focused on delivering greater transparency, security, and efficiency in the handling of transactions and data. While many remember it for its association with Bitcoin, blockchain technology has created major excitement for many other reasons.

Let’s look at how it evolved from a buzzword to protecting data integrity.

Blockchains are Made of Blocks

As we all know, blockchains are made up of blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and data and carries over transaction information from the previous block. At one time, the term blockchain was a trending technology featured everywhere due to its relation to digital currencies, such as Bitcoin.

The technology records transactions across multiple hardcoded computers so that they cannot be altered retroactively. Data integrity and security are integral to the decision-making process, and blockchain technology has emerged as an innovative component providing much-needed enhancements.

Looking Back in Time

Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta introduced the concept of a cryptographically secured chain of blocks in 1991. At the time, their vision was for its use in Bitcoin with the aim of enabling timestamping in documents to prevent tampering.

The blockchain we know today was presented in a whitepaper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” by an anonymous person or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008.

It elaborated on plans for a decentralized digital currency (Bitcoin) and the underlying blockchain technology that would enable direct transactions between individuals without intermediaries.

Nakamoto mined the first block of the Bitcoin blockchain in 2009, which came to be known as the Genesis Block.

Bitcoin’s Use Of Blockchain

Bitcoin was the pioneering application of blockchain technology. Its developers harnessed the potential of blockchain to create a decentralized ledger—a digital record of all transactions relating to the purchase and sale of the digital currency, Bitcoin.

The transactions are validated using nodes, which consist of a peer-to-peer network of computers.

The nodes generated data strings for transactions and added them to blocks. Each new block was then permanently linked to the existing blockchain.

In the context of Bitcoin, the blockchain process guarantees that the same Bitcoin cannot be used for more than a single transaction (also known as counterfeiting). The process protects the data integrity of the new digital currency.

Early Development

While developers initially used blockchain primarily for Bitcoin, it was quickly noticed that the technology had many other use cases in addition to financial transactions. One example is Ethereum, which launched in 2015. It introduced the concept of Smart Contracts, which are the core of its application layer.

When Ethereum allowed developers to build decentralized applications (“DApps”) on its blockchain, it opened many avenues for using blockchains.

Since then, numerous other blockchain platforms, such as Ripple, Litecoin, EOS, Cardano, and other cryptocurrencies, have emerged. Along with them came innovative features and new use cases.

A Fading Buzzword or Developing Technology?

There was a lot of buzz around blockchain in its early days linked irrevocably to cryptocurrency. The buzz has faded considerably since then, making some wonder if blockchain still has relevance as a technology now or was a one-trick pony.

Most experts say it’s still a significant player in data integrity, and in recent times, it has gained adoption across many industries. We see the advance of blockchain technology, which has received significant attention from many organizations and government entities. They want to harness it for its potential to increase transparency, streamline processes, and offer cost savings.

Industries such as supply chain, finance, healthcare, and real estate, are now exploring or implementing blockchain solutions.

Beyond the Realm of Finance

When people think of blockchain, they typically associate it with the early days of cryptocurrency and the finance sector overall. However, significant advances in blockchain technology have carried it forward, allowing it to expand into numerous other areas.

Blockchain currently has use cases in all of these sectors:

    • Finance

    • Digital Currency

    • Real Estate

    • Healthcare

    • Voting

    • Cybersecurity

It’s an exciting time for blockchain because other areas of its application and expansion are continually being explored.

Blockchain in Cybersecurity

One area of significant interest is how blockchain technology is being implemented in cybersecurity. As we’ve all seen, cybercriminals now pool their knowledge and use new technologies. Some of these include artificial intelligence and botnets, which are helping them increase the frequency and sophistication of their cyberattacks.

Experts note that using blockchain presents an alternative route to enhance security. In addition to being innovative, it’s not as welcoming to cybercriminals. This strategy minimizes weaknesses, uses robust encryption, and better confirms the validity and ownership of data. It’s possible it can remove the necessity for certain passwords, which are often thought to be the weakest link in cybersecurity.

The distributed ledger used in blockchain technology is its primary advantage. It removes the more notable targets by reducing much of the risk associated with stored data through a dispersed public key infrastructure. Additionally, since all transactions are recorded across every network node, cybercriminals find it challenging to steal, tamper with, or compromise the data. The only exception is if there are vulnerabilities present at the platform level.

Blockchain’s collaborative consensus algorithm wipes out another typical security weakness. It can track the network, looking for anomalies, malicious actions, and false positives. It doesn’t need to use a central authority to do this and acts as many pairs of eyes on glass at any given time.

In addition to all the new methods used by blockchain, encryption is the most important traditional tool it continues to use. Encryption and the public key infrastructure used in blockchain help protect physical IoT devices connected to a network. Some of these include smart doorbells, thermostats, security cameras, and other vulnerable edge devices.

Blockchain Protects Data Integrity

Blockchain records every transaction securely and immutably across a network of computers, making it an ideal approach to improving data integrity due to these key concepts:


Once data is recorded on a blockchain, it becomes permanent. It can’t be changed without the consensus of network participants. These features guarantee the data’s traceability and integrity over time.


Storing data on a peer-to-peer network with multiple nodes removes the risk of single points of failure, decreases the chance of data manipulation, and safeguards the authenticity of the data.

Cryptographic Security

Using advanced cryptographic methods, blockchain ensures the protection and integrity of data transactions by preventing unauthorized alterations. Every network member has an individual cryptographic key, which verifies their identification and guarantees the legitimacy of the data.

Taking Blockchain into the Future

Since its humble beginnings, blockchain has continued to evolve, implementing new innovations such as sidechains, sharding, and layer-2 solutions. These aim to improve its usability for data integrity and address scalability. Experts say the integration of blockchain in emerging technologies such as IoT and AI is likely to carry it forward as it increases its impact on data integrity and security across industries.

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