What is common between blockchain and big data/data science? A few things that immediately hit our mind are that both are amongst the top emerging technologies. Both have the potential to revolutionize the way businesses are running, and both offer promising employment opportunities.
Many of us think that these are disparate and independent technologies with different sets of pros and cons and separate paths. While data science is a relatively established technology, blockchain is in the nascent stage. To compare them better, let’s understand more about each of them.
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What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a distributed ledger consisting of multiple nodes connected without a central server. This ledger is spread across a range of computers across the globe and run by anyone with an Internet connection. True to its name, blockchain technology revolves around the concept of a series of interconnected blocks that form a chain.
Blockchains are greatly famous for their role in the cryptocurrency systems like Bitcoin that maintain a safe and decentralised transactions record. The innovations in data science and blockchain promise the security and fidelity of a data record. Moreover, both promise reliability without depending on a trusted third party.
One major difference between a database and a blockchain system is how the data is organized. A blockchain gathers information in groups, called blocks that store information sets. These blocks have certain storage capacities. When filled, closed, and connected to the prior filled block, they create a data chain called a blockchain. The combination of data science and blockchain allows the compilation of all information that follows the newly added block into a newly created block. Consequently, it will be incorporated into the chain after being filled.
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Applications of Blockchain
Primarily used in Bitcoin, blockchain is no more restricted to its original cryptocurrency application. The technology is being used in digital wallets and micropayments. Besides the financial sector, the technology can be used in Smart Contracts that perform listed tasks without human involvement.
Blockchain can also be used to store patients’ data in the healthcare industry securely. It’s also considered as a possible means to combat election fraud at the ballot box. Additionally, the technology can help carry out secure, personal transactions between two parties in the private consumer world. Read more about the applications of Blockchain.
Blockchain technology facilitated the rapid growth of the wallet system. Using that, anyone can transfer money quickly. No need to enter the public key; simply scan a unique QR code and do the payment in a few seconds.
The law enforcement agency is employing Blockchain technology. It aims to create a common database of criminals and their crimes. The database stores their biometric details, as it is extremely secure, and nobody can change it without access.
Currently, blockchain technology is also used in IoT. It guarantees that data transferred among the devices will be safe and encrypted without interference.
Various companies now use blockchain technology for digital ID. The owner’s private keys manage these digital IDs, and these IDs also prevent surplus personal information on the internet.
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Blockchain technology has facilitated the rapid growth of online music. These days, companies are storing their music in blockchain where everybody can access it but can’t change it. Moreover, a customer can pay for a specific song and download it from the blockchain platform.
The combination of blockchain and data science is used in the gambling industry to benefit the players. It promises transparency among the potential gamblers.
Blockchain can be potentially used in voting owing to its revolutionary static nature. This technology makes voting safer and fail-proof.
The food and medical industry can also use Blockchain technology to effectively track their food products from when they are manufactured to when they are delivered to customers.
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Benefits of Blockchain
Characterized by decentralization, the blockchain transactions are carried out with mutual user consensus and offer safety, speed, and transparency. The digital signature feature used by the technology enables fraud-free transactions preventing the attempts to change or corrupt data. Each transaction is encrypted and consists of a link to the old transaction using a hashing method. The technology is programmable and automatically triggers systematic actions, events, or payments on the specified criteria. Read more about the advantages of blockchain in everyday life.
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Challenges faced by Blockchain
As already mentioned, blockchain technology is in its early stage and is yet to mature. The technology can currently process a maximum of 7 to 20 transactions per second as compared to the capacity of traditional transaction networks, which can process thousands of transactions per second. Most of the blockchains are incapable of communicating with networks of other blockchain-based systems, and businesses also face challenges to integrate them with their legacy systems.
Lack of universal standards across different blockchain networks also poses a significant challenge. The current blockchain mechanism needs substantial computational power to work, and efforts are in progress to reduce this energy consumption. Also, despite the soaring demand for blockchain professionals, there is an acute shortage of blockchain experts.
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What is Data Science?
With the advent of big data, organizations can store massive information. Data science enables businesses to make better decisions and predictions by discovering hidden data patterns from raw data. It’s all about deriving data insights from the historical trends that reveal multiple data angles, which might be unknown earlier.
Data Science Applications
Data science is used for building predictive causal analytics models, such as to ascertain the probability of customers making timely future credit card payments or loan repayments. The technology can be used in prescriptive analytics where you can build models with the intelligence to make decisions to modify it with dynamic parameters, such as a self-driven car.
Besides this, data science can be used to build predictive models using machine learning, such as fraud detection, and explore pattern discovery, such as identifying an ideal tower location for a network provider for delivering optimal signal length. Read about data science applications.
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Benefits of Data Science
Data science helps businesses enhance efficiency by taking faster and better decisions and earn higher profits. It improves the quality of data and information and helps deliver superior services and products using customer trends and likings. In healthcare, technology enables taking life-saving decisions such as detecting early-stage tumours. The technology offers highly paid career opportunities across various domains. Read on why data science is important.
Challenges faced by Data Science
Data used in making decisions can contain personal or sensitive data. Any data leakage can result in privacy threats and data issues. As the data is used to make critical decisions, any unproven data can lead to unexpected results, affecting crucial decision-making.
Difference between Blockchain vs. Data Science
Now that we have in-depth information about blockchain and data science, it’s apparent that these are two disparate technologies with different goals. While data science aims to facilitate data analysis for actionable insights and better decision making, blockchain focuses on recording and validating data. Both of these technologies use algorithms to achieve what they are intended to do.
To summarise, data science enables data prediction, while blockchain ensures data integrity. Therefore, if we are comparing them, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. However, if we use them in tandem, they can provide precious insights.
Data science targets to construct the platforms for retrieving business-centred insights from data. On the other hand, Blockchain allows digital information to be recorded and immutably distributed. Data science allows data prediction, whereas Blockchain guarantees data integrity. These differences lead to a significant change in the data scientist vs blockchain developer salary.
Blockchain vs. Data Science: Which one to choose?
Both these technologies have their own targets. Both of them are emerging technologies with the ability to revolutionise business operations. When it comes to career opportunities, there are significant demands for both data science specialists and Blockchain developers.
The choice also largely depends on the blockchain developer vs data scientist salary. If you are more interested in embarking on a career in data science and match its pre-requisites, you can go for a data science career.
Data Science is an ever-evolving field. Through its robust security and record-keeping, blockchain can help data scientists achieve milestones previously deemed impossible.
How organizations can reap the combined benefits of Blockchain and Data Science?
Blockchain and data science have data at the centre. Blockchain focuses on recording and validating data, whereas data science focuses on developing valuable insights from data for solving problems.
But sharing, safeguarding, and guaranteeing data integrity has become challenging for many data scientists. Blockchain can solve data sourcing problems, so it has grabbed the data scientists’ attention.
So, what makes blockchain and data science a match made in heaven? Well, the following five aspects will throw more light on the impeccable combination of these two innovative technologies:
- Data Security – The ‘Decentralization’ of blockchain makes it difficult for hackers to attack sensitive information as it will require compromising all the nodes, which is virtually impossible. Further, blockchain automatically expels any node that behaves suspiciously, making the system secure.
Organisations are assured of data security when using Blockchain technology because it is decentralised. Due to this decentralisation, nobody can hold control over it. Moreover, it is impossible to modify, use or manipulate data without the confirmation of those involved. This instils data transparency in the system and gives data scientists more security about the data; it also assists in decreasing the risks of fraudulent conduits.
Blockchain and data science also offers enhanced and more secure data access. This combination can help organisations recognize the right use to be a part of the Blockchain post, which they could securely access data required for analytics. Considering the great benefits of these technologies, you may find blockchain developer vs data scientist salary similar in many cases.
- Data Integrity – Blockchain ensures data integrity with its encryption and stringent verification process. Further, it provides much-needed transparency through transaction traceability.
Data is more available these days. But the data that the organisation wants to use is scattered. Organising it can take a few weeks and even a few months. This will waste effort, time, and resources. Human error also influences data integrity, which ultimately influences the end analysis. We can’t eradicate the risk of data being compromised, particularly when it is saved in a centralised location.
Data science requires access to reliable and powerful data sets to prove its powerful data analysis and predictive modelling abilities. Blockchain’s decentralised nature allows data scientists to reinforce their capacity to organise data and also develop a powerful data infrastructure where data integrity is assured.
- Real-time Data Analysis – While blockchain offers real-time transactions, data science provides in-depth data analysis. These two technologies can be combined to deliver real-time data analysis that can revolutionize many industries and streamline business processes.
Real-time data analysis helps organisations promptly identify incongruities in a database. Data transparency increases significantly when Blockchain is used for data analytics. Using Blockchain, organisations can supervise changes in data in real-time. So, data scientists get remarkable opportunities to design predictive models to control these real-time changes. So, they can employ better decision-making practices and avoid malicious activities (like fraud in fintech and banks).
- Prediction Making – Data science’s capability can be utilized to analyze blockchain data to derive valuable data insights and hidden trends.
- Data Sharing – By using a blockchain network to store the data from data studies, project teams can prevent utilizing already used data or avoid repeating data analysis that’s already been conducted earlier. The technology can help send the information securely without the need to duplicate data cleansing.
- Better predictive analytics -Data science is renowned for its predictive capabilities. But the prediction’s quality entirely depends on the data being used. Data scientists can employ better predictive analytics if they use Blockchain data.
Similar to other data, Blockchain is used to derive insights into trends and behaviours. It can be used to predict future outcomes accurately. Blockchain offers data scientists access to massive volumes of structured data. Due to its distributed nature and the availability of computational power, even data scientists in small organisations can accomplish extensive tasks based on predictive analytics. When comparing the data scientist vs blockchain developer salary, you can consider these points to have a clear perspective.
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The Winning Combination
With their share of benefits and challenges, blockchain and data science can prove to be a powerful combination to manage data quantity with quality efficiently. More innovations and maturity of blockchain technology will facilitate the exploration of more use cases, including data science.
On the other hand, data science can help blockchain with its low storage cost. It will be interesting to see how these technologies evolve to address current challenges and showcase their potential to transform data management and usage.
As a result, now is the perfect time to dive deeper into the world of Blockchain and understand the finer nuances of how it works. To help you with that, upGrad brings you the Advanced Certificate Program in Blockchain Technology. Offered in collaboration with IIIT-Bangalore. So get yourself enrolled and start your Blockchain journey among global peers, industry-leading mentors, and all-around placement assistance.