Sunday, August 20, 2017

Standalone PC to Decentralized Ethereum Platform

Early 1980s witnessed the beginning of a new era in computing owing to the birth of the general purpose personal computers. This PC technology penetrated homes, small business and schools.  At that time most of these computers are standalone and worked independently.

Slowly these independent computers had to connect to other independent computers to share data and resources. Computer networks which already existed at that time allowed these independent computers, sometimes called as nodes, to connect and share resources. As technology progressed the demand to connect more and more computers grew tremendously.

Early 1990 marks the transition of these smaller computer networks into a global system of interconnected computer networks. Thus giving birth to Internet. The Internet, sometimes called “Net”, is a massive network of networks that consists private, public, academic, business and government networks. Internet revolutionized how we exchange data between millions of computers. With computers spread across the globe forming a global infrastructure, Internet is the beginning of decentralized computing. No one owns Internet, and no single person or organization controls the Internet.

With increase in sharing between nodes or computers, a new communication protocol, BitTorrent, has evolved which enabled distribution of large data and files over the Internet. BitTorrent is the communication protocol for peer to peer file sharing (“P2P”) digital media using peer to peer networking technology. It relies decentralized network to effectively share resources and reduce burden on the centralized server. The decentralization technology continued to evolve.

With the advent of cloud, the environment changed drastically. All of a sudden a centralized computing took the prime seat. More and more servers were deployed on to the centralized cloud environment to perform computing, sharing resources etc.  The cloud revolution temporarily pushed the decentralized journey to back seat.

Bitcoin brought decentralization back to the table. It also revolutionized decentralized technologies with a decentralized peer to peer ledger that runs in a trustless public environment with immutable data and without any trusted central authority. It also introduced distributed consensus which helps all the nodes to validate the block and build the best block chain. Bitcoin uses Blockchain as the underlying technology.

Ethereum took this decentralized blockchain further by providing a platform where we can develop decentralized applications. Ethereum, sometimes called Blockchain 2.0, provides us a programming model which enables developers to write smart contracts that encapsulate user obligations in a decentralized network.

As you see the decentralization evolved from standalone systems to the current state and it will evolve further to become an efficient system with millions of transactions and capable of changing the technology we know.

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