Blockchain Programming

How to Become a Blockchain Developer?

Posted in Blockchain Programming
How to Become a Blockchain Developer?

What is Blockchain?

As the name implies, it is a chain of blocks. A Blockchain is a timestamped series of immutable records of data called Blocks managed by millions of computers and not owned by any single entity and is connected by cryptographic principles called a chain. A Blockchain has no transaction cost and is the safest automated way of passing information from person A to person B. Each block is unique and added to the chain after verification and validation by millions of computers.

What is a Block?

A Block is similar to a page of a ledger or record book. It records the latest Bitcoin transaction, which is not in any previous block, in a new block after proper validation or verification. This block gets added to the Blockchain, thus extending it. Each block has the address of the previous Block and Current Block.

Blockchain development is similar to web development.

Development with bitcoin was limited.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency or a decentralized virtual currency or a decentralized digital currency. There are no middlemen or banks involved in its transactions. Its transactions are public so that nobody can duplicate or play fraud with it. It is a file.

Then Ethereum happened.

Ethereum is a foundation for a new era of the internet. An internet where you do decentralized financial transactions. Ethereum is a programmable Blockchain. It means you can build your apps over it. Ethereum has a cryptocurrency called Ether ETH. Using ETH, you can buy real goods and services just like bitcoin.

How to Become a Blockchain Developer?

People started doing development on top of the Blockchain.

This era is called the Blockchain era.

The journey for Blockchain developer would be something like this:

1. Understand the basics: Some terms are not very easy to pronounce, and their meaning needs to be fully understood.

Blockchain Technology Common terms:

Blockchain

Is a chain of Blocks. Represents historical information of all transactions starting from genesis block (starting block) to the latest block.

Decentralized

No central authority.

Consensus

Common acceptance by different users distributed over Blockchain network

Miners

People who use cryptographic mathematical functions to understand the hash functions to verify and validate transactions, thus gaining rewards by getting bitcoin. People use the speed and computational capability of a computer to understand the cryptographic functions. So the computers used in the Blockchain network are unique and high powered to do mathematical calculations

Address

Cryptocurrency addresses are used to send transactions on a network. Each address is an alphanumeric string.

ASIC

Short form of Application Specific Integrated circuit. These are used in computers specially designed for mining.

Ehtereum is a decentralized Blockchain network for apps that run smart protocols and is aimed at solving issues like censorship, fraud, and third-party interference.

Fork creates an alternate version of Blockchain. Thus, two Blockchains would be running on different parts of the network.

Hard fork

This makes all previous invalid transactions valid and vice versa. The users and nodes have to be upgraded to the latest protocol for this.

Hash Rate

Hash per second is the Hash rate for a mining rig.

Public address

Can be published anywhere like email.

Private Address

Like a password, the only owner knows it.

Smart Contract

These are business rules enforced in a programmable language on the blockchain network to be followed by all participants of the network.

Transaction fees

All cryptocurrency transactions involve transaction fees, which is given to the miner who validates the transaction successfully apart from bitcoin reward.

Wallet

This is a file that has the private key to transactions on a specific Blockchain for which this wallet is designed.

ICO It is the Initial coin offerings by investors used for fundraising by companies at the time of starting a business like IPOs.

Cryptoeconomics

Cryptoeconomics is made from two words – Cryptography and Economics

Let us understand each of these terms:

Cryptography

Blockchain technology uses Cryptographical functions for its operations.

These functions are:

  • Hashing
  • Signature
  • Proof of Work
  • Zero-Knowledge Proofs

Hashing is used in Hash functions to get an output of fixed length from an input string of any length.

Mining

A difficulty level is set in the computer and when a new block is tested on the difficulty level. It gets added as a new block to the existing Blockchain if the difficulty level is less than the difficulty threshold and is rewarded with a bitcoin. Otherwise, another permutation combination is done to test the difficulty level.

Signature

The properties of a sound signature are that it should be verifiable, it should not be forgeable, or it should not be repudiated that is a person should not disown it. This is accomplished by cryptographic functions using Public and Private keys. The sender A sends the message using the private key (K-msg), and the receiver decrypts it using a public key such as K+(K-msg) and retrieves the original message “msg.”

Proof of Work

The consensus by which the new block gets approved to be added to the existing Blockchain is called “Proof of Work.”

Zero-Knowledge Proof

If the Prover can convince the Verifier that the block is indeed validated ad complete. The Verifier need not know the actual proof. This is called Zero-Knowledge Proof.

Economics

This is not the only decentralized peer to peer system. How Blockchain technology differs from other such systems is that it gives monetary rewards and incentives to its participants

The participants who behave actively and contribute to Blockchain get tokens or virtual currency or rights such as decision-making capabilities like which transactions should go in the block, and participants who do not good are charged a monetary fine or their rights are revoked.

Bitcoin is the best examples of Blockchain.

2. Learn the process

Here is a simple summary of the process. Any person who is willing to create a fintech or financial application on Blockchain can do so on the internet by creating its cryptocurrency or using existing bitcoins or any other virtual currency. This person can raise funds to start its app by exchanging its cryptocurrency with virtual money from investors. He or She can visit coinbase websites or exchanges and buy some coins or have online wallets available and can make use of them to do its transactions. One has to be cautious with online wallets, though, as its private key would go to another server. Play safe by storing small amounts of money in the wallet.

3. Actual Coding

Programming languages that can be used to create Fintech applications on the Blockchain network can be C++, C#, Go, javascript.

Challenges faced by a blockchain developer are:

  • Security: The code is open, and anyone can see it and hack it, so the development of Blockchain is prolonged.
  • Resource Management: Once you are life, you have to meet the demands of all remote and local users with real-time response.
  • Performance: The coding language has to be versatile as some functions of code can be run parallel, and some cannot be run parallel. Some languages are suitable for parallel processing, and some are not.
  • Isolation: Each transaction in all circumstances should give the same result meaning it should be deterministic. Similarly, smart contracts should be deterministic, and we should isolate transactions and smart contracts from non-deterministic elements.

Now we start coding as follows:

1. Create a block

  • The block should have
  • Index or Block Number
  • Timestamp when the block was created.
  • The data inside the block
  • Hash of the previous block
  • Hash of the current Block

2. Create a Block Chain

  • Create a first block or genesis block if it is a new Blockchain.
  • Otherwise, find the last block and add the new block to it after proper validation
  • Create cryptocurrency for Blockchain.

4. Smart Contracts

Knowledge of smart Protocols is necessary for Blockchain development.

Let us see some of the desirable properties of a smart Contract:

Anything that runs on the network must be immutable and must follow data integrity even though the network is distributed globally.

A smart Contract must be

  • Deterministic: Meaning that each transaction with the same inputs should give the same output in all circumstances
  • Terminable: A predefined timer is kept, and if the transaction does not complete at this time, then it is externally killed.
  • Isolated: Anybody can upload their contracts on the computer and may carry viruses and bugs. To prevent this, smart Contracts are store separately.

5. Join the Blockchain development groups

Join groups like Github pages, Reddit forums, and StackExchange and connect with other developers and always be on the lookout for any news regarding the technology.

6. What does Blockchain developers do?

There are two types of Blockchain developers:

  • Core BlockChain developer
  • Blockchain Software developers

Role of Core BlockChain Developer

  • Design of Blockchain protocols
  • Design of consensus protocols and security patterns for the network
  • Design of the network architecture
  • Supervision of the entire network

Role of BlockChain Software Developer

  • Development of Smart Contracts
  • Development of interactive front-end designs for Dapps(Decentralized apps)
  • Backend development about Blockchain
  • Supervision of the entire stack running their Dapps

7. Technical skills required to become a Blockchain developer

  • BlockChain Architecture
  • Data Structures
  • Cryptography
  • Smart Contract Development
  • Web development

8. Companies Hiring Blockchain developers

Many fortune 500 companies like Accenture, IBM, Capgemini, and more are hiring Blockchain developers. For every 5 Blockchain developers' job, there is only one person available at present, so the demand is more than the supply.

9. Examples

While buying railway tickets from web apps, we pay transaction cost to the credit card company. This can be replaced by Blockchain network; each ticket is a block and added to ticket Blockchain. The two parties are the railway company and the passenger and no intermediator. In Blockchain, the transaction is free. Even companies like Uber are feeling threatened by this technology.

Conclusion

This is just an outline to become a Blockchain developer. The more you dig into it and drill down each relevant term of Blockchain, the more knowledge you would get.

Earlier Blockchain technology was developed for Bitcoin originally, but it is finding many uses today.

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Simran Kaur Arora

Simran Kaur Arora

Simran, born in Delhi, did her schooling and graduation from India in Computer Science. Curious and passionate about technology urged her to study for an MS in the same from the renowned Silicon Valley, California, USA. Graduated in 2017, she flew back to India and now works for hackr.io as a freelance technical writer. View all posts by the Author

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