Assuring secure business with blockchain technology
“The blockchain is the most important technology since the Internet itself.”
- Marc Andreessen
Introduction to Blockchain
Since the advent of the internet, security has been a concern for both organizations and individuals. Most organizations, and especially financial organizations, fear storing their documents and monetary information on the internet. Individuals hesitate to complete online transaction due to hacking and other security threats. Enter blockchain technology, whose evolution has led to solving these problems.
Blockchain is a data structure in which information can be stored, along with some additional information for validations. This technology records every transaction like a ledger and checks its authenticity or relevancy by comparing it to previous transactions. These “blocks” or pieces of information are copied on every node or system in the network. This is called a distributed ledger.
We can define Blockchain as "a distributed cryptographic ledger that enables transactions via digital validation.” The whole process can be understood in three simple steps.
1. Request for Transaction
3. Addition of Blocks
The blockchain process starts with a request from user who wants to complete a transaction. This transaction can be cryptocurrency, records, or other information. The information is then broadcasted over a multi-computer network. These computers are called nodes. These nodes contain information about the existing blockchain of information. Using algorithms, this node checks new information against existing information and provides a go or no-go signal.
After the transaction is verified, a new block is added in the existing block of transactions, and its information is copied to all the nodes on the network. As all the nodes now contain their own separate copy of information, there is no need for a centralized governing body, hence the name “distributed ledger.”
Examples of Blockchains
The following terms represent a few popular Blockchains:
Implications for Testing
The validation of both functional and non-functional requirements should be done for blockchains as with any other application. Functional testing should focus on units, integration, and system testing, while non-functional testing focus should center on security and performance testing. Continuous integration and continuous delivery approaches should be adopted where testing is done several times a day, and a version control system should be used to keep tabs on the updates. Finally, service virtualization should be used to access virtual forms of the required testing stages.
Traditional testing processes are very slow and depend on manual testing scenarios. For blockchain testing, there is a dire need for testing teams to be very innovative and agile. Though organizations have started adopting agile, DevOps, and automation in their test approaches, the effective implementation of these processes and insights is always a challenge.
Blockchain ecosystems update themselves very frequently and require continuous testing so as to amass continuous feedback of business risk within the application. Continuous testing puts emphasis on extreme automation. The following are a few benefits from taking a continuous testing approach:
The World Quality Report 2016-2017 states that Blockchain and FinTech are accepted across multiple industries. In the hopes of achieving digital transformation and reduced time to market, Quality Assurance (QA) teams have to deliver results within a shorter timeframe and in a more complex technology environment.
For accomplishing business objectives, QA and testing teams need to adopt agile, DevOps, and continuous delivery approaches with a special emphasis on mindset about new delivery paradigms. The adoption of these technologies and frameworks is expected to spike in 2017 as a lot of banks, financial institutions, and supply chain giants have started testing Blockchain for their business processes.
(About the author: Renu Rajani is an analyst with Capgemini. This post originally appeared on her Capgemini blog, which can be viewed here).