As the world of blockchain app development evolves, so do the applications that run on blockchain networks. If you’re looking to upgrade your blockchain app, there are a few things to consider.
But first, you want to understand why companies benefit from building on blockchain. Secondly, you have to evaluate the issues surrounding blockchain, both from an external perspective and an internal one.
After reviewing these points, we can analyze some practical ways to upgrade your blockchain app. With careful planning and execution, you can ensure that your app stays ahead of the curve.
Why build on Blockchain?
Blockchain development has many advantages. Let’s review why companies should build on blockchain, breaking down its main features and functionality.
What makes Blockchain-Based Apps Different?
A blockchain platform has a higher degree of functionality that helps both creators and end-users. Embedding this functionality into a blockchain-based app translates into increased transparency and decentralization.
One consequence is that random internet users cannot change this data, thus making it increasingly secure. Because each transaction is verified and recorded on the distributed ledger, it would be tough for someone to hack into the system and tamper with blockchain data.
Blockchain is also transparent.
That benefits blockchain development because all transactions are visible to everyone on the blockchain network. This strategy promotes trust and collaboration.
Decentralization is essential in blockchain because the lack of a central authority controlling the data makes these apps resistant to censorship and manipulation.
In addition, these apps can facilitate peer-to-peer transactions without the need for a third-party intermediary. Blockchain could eventually revolutionize the way we interact with apps, as well as how we make payments and store data.
As a result, it’s no wonder that blockchain apps are currently experiencing a boom in popularity.
What makes an app “blockchain”?
Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with apps. Blockchain app development can provide a secure, transparent, and tamper-proof method of storing and sharing data using a distributed ledger system.
Here’s how that works:
The blockchain ledger system is based on a peer-to-peer network of computers, each maintaining a copy of the blockchain. When a transaction is made, it is broadcast to all the computers in the network. Each computer then verifies the transaction and adds it to its copy of the blockchain. The result is a decentralized, secure, and transparent ledger that can be used to track any information.
However, it’s important to note that not all apps that claim to be “blockchain” are using the technology in a meaningful way.
To be genuinely considered a blockchain app, the app must use the distributed ledger system for its functioning. Otherwise, it’s simply riding on the hype of the blockchain buzzword.
So let’s get back to the original – and very intuitive – meaning of “blockchain.”
These blocks of data used for building your app form a chain. Once new information gets added to this chain, nobody can change it because new transactions are broadcasted to all blockchain nodes.
Many companies use blockchain app development to improve their services.
For example, Spotify leverages blockchain databases to ensure a decentralized connection between the artists, licenses, and tracks. Many logistics companies use IBM blockchain to monitor their products from production to distribution, thanks to the system’s transparency and real-time tracking.
Even healthcare companies reap the benefits of blockchain app development.
These apps offer fast, secure access to medical records for all authorized actors involved in treating a patient, like medical staff, pharmacists, and insurance companies.
While blockchain offers some reasonable solutions and practical advantages, it is also far from perfect. Before breaking down how you can upgrade your blockchain app, let’s review the main issues blockchain projects face.
Blockchain App Problems
Before you build a blockchain app, you should familiarize yourself with the blockchain implementation and development process challenges. We can split these problems into two categories: external and internal.
External blockchain development issues
These external issues of blockchain app development relate to the current market environment.
Your blockchain platform is plagued by its association with the world of crypto. Crypto is often viewed through the lens of hacking and fraud even if it is considered to be an innovative technology.
These prejudices reflect on your endeavors to improve your development process. Implementing blockchain technology in the first place can be pretty difficult for companies that associate it with criminal activities.
Convincing your board members and stakeholders to overcome the advanced technology bias and improve your app is also challenging.
Seeing as blockchain development is viewed as razor-sharp high-tech, your stakeholders might not understand the need to improve the blockchain app.
The solution is understanding that the blockchain is fallible like every new technology.
Some organizations are afraid of blockchain, deeming it disruptive. This fear comes from the different modes of implementation:
Blockchain apps are 20% – or less – about implementation and 80% about business processes. Although some companies have embraced digitalization, this change in mindset may be perceived as too big of a shift.
And trusting a decentralized network like blockchain is complicated.
Blockchain app development may have helped some facets of their business, but it may have also disrupted others in the process.
Now imagine telling these potential customers that, like all other software they’re using, yours isn’t perfect either.
Focusing on the negatives because of the fear factor makes their company less likely to adopt the blockchain app development and the improvements you’ve developed for it.
Current legislation is a significant hurdle for blockchain developers and innovators. This fact is understandable because the government’s job is focused on securing consumer and property rights.
Each new blockchain application shakes this rigidity.
While the evolution of governments’ and public agencies’ perception of blockchain is encouraging, remember that any new upgrades to your app should follow the current legislation.
Internal blockchain development issues
The inherent issues with blockchain app development mostly regard implementing blockchain technology. Let’s review these points below.
The scalability issue
The network’s technical scalability affects most blockchain-based apps but is particularly challenging for public blockchain projects.
Compare Visa’s transaction speed with that of Bitcoin:
Visa can process up to 2000 exchanges per second, while Bitcoin barely gets to five. This immense difference occurs because private networks like Visa use permissioned blockchain that gives access only to authorized users. By contrast, Bitcoin is a public blockchain that everyone can access.
Blockchain networks aren’t interoperable. The thousands of existing blockchain-based projects employ their own standalone blockchain platform with the afferent:
- Privacy regulation
- Consensus mechanisms
As a result of a standardized method, the blockchain space is governed by chaos. Besides, these separate blockchain networks can’t communicate well with each other.
The problem with having no uniformity and consistency is that it reflects on the security.
Basically, companies may be afraid to adopt your blockchain application – and this time justifiably so – because of security issues. As such, upgrading your app should touch on security and interoperability issues as well.
Legacy system integration
Your customers may have an issue with legacy system integration when they purchase your blockchain application. For them, using this system may entail an A-to-Z restructuring of the system that they’ve already been using.
Ideally, your clients would have to figure out how to integrate your blockchain app within their legacy system.
This solution also comes with its own challenges, like finding skilled blockchain developers. Most of your clients may not have access to or the resources to access this talent. That’s where you come in, with your unique updates and solutions that handle this issue.
Even so, the current solutions for legacy system integration aren’t perfect. They:
- Take long periods
- Demand many resources
- May lead to data loss and breaches
As a result, many of your potential customers may not want to invest in your app, to begin with. These extra resources and potential breaches may affect your clients and their customers, so they’re highly risky for their business.
Security and privacy
Some of the most poignant issues in blockchain development regard security and privacy. Your blockchain-based application may require users to link their identities to the transactions and contracts in the app.
That can be a problem.
Your customers may question the privacy your app offers because their data is shared – and thus publicly accessible – on the blockchain ledger.
Besides, your customers have to follow the privacy rules established by the law in their respective countries. Their own clients entrust them with sensitive data that shouldn’t get out.
8 Ways to Upgrade your Blockchain App
Now that we’ve seen the problems that blockchain development faces, it’s time to see how you can improve your blockchain app.
1) Add new features
Adding new features is an excellent idea regardless of whether you’re building an app or not. After all, there’s always room for improvement.
Of course, you have to start from your customers’ needs before exploiting the untapped potential of blockchain.
Here are just a few new features that could you could add to your blockchain development:
- The ability to use fiat currency: At the moment, most blockchain apps require cryptocurrency. However, there’s no reason why an app couldn’t be created to allow users to transact using fiat currency. This would make it easier for those who are not comfortable using cryptocurrency to still take advantage of the benefits of blockchain technology.
- Smart contracts: A smart contract is a computer protocol that can digitally facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation or performance of an agreement. Smart contracts permit the execution of credible transactions without third parties. These transactions are trackable and irreversible. Proponents of smart contracts claim that many kinds of contractual clauses may be made partially or fully self-executing, self-enforcing, or both. Smart contracts aim to provide security superior to traditional contract law and reduce other transaction costs associated with contracting. Smart contracts have been used primarily in association with cryptocurrencies and blockchain. The use of blockchain eliminates the need for a central authority to oversee the execution of the contract. This type of distributed ledger system enables all parties to view the contract details and ensures transparency and trust among them. In addition, blockchain smart contracts can be executed automatically when certain conditions are met, which reduces the risk of human error or fraud. Ultimately, smart contracts have the potential to streamline many business processes and reduce costs while still protecting the interests of all parties involved.
- Decentralized exchange. A decentralized exchange is a type of cryptocurrency exchange that does not rely on a third party to hold the customer’s funds. Instead, trades are conducted directly between users (peer-to-peer) through an automated process. This type of exchange is often preached as being more secure and private than traditional exchanges, which can be subject to hacks, scams, and other security breaches. In addition, decentralized exchanges are often much faster and more efficient than traditional exchanges due to the lack of a middleman. However, there are some downsides to decentralized exchanges. For example, they can be more complicated to use and may have a smaller selection of coins available. Overall, though, decentralized exchanges offer a unique and convenient way to trade.
- Support for encrypted messages. In the world of digital communication, encryption is key to maintaining privacy and security. That’s why many messaging apps are turning to blockchain technology to provide an extra layer of protection for users. By storing messages on a decentralized network, blockchain-based apps can ensure that only the sender and recipient have access to the content. Additionally, by using cryptographic methods to scramble data, blockchain-backed messaging apps can make it nearly impossible for hackers to intercept or read messages. With criminals increasingly targeting online communication, the need for secure messaging blockchain platforms is more critical than ever. And with blockchain technology providing a solid foundation for security, it’s likely that more and more messaging apps will begin to adopt this innovative technology.
2) Enhance existing features
Enhancing existing features in a blockchain platform starts by first inventorying those features. Next, you will have to conduct thorough research both within your organization and your target audience to assess your app’s functionality.
This research stage will give you excellent insights into your consumers’ minds to know which features need changing.
Side-note: These changes may be about more than in-built characteristics affecting your app’s functionality. They can also regard the education/awareness dimension, such as the resources you offer your customers to help them understand and use your application.
That said, let’s break down some specific improvements.
One of the existing features you could enhance is privacy.
You don’t have to wait for the government to establish security protocols. Blockchain development could limit the access and number of authorized users to ensure that private information doesn’t get out.
You can also consider the blockchain-infused Internet of Things (IoT).
The internet of things, or IoT, is a term used to describe the growing network of physical devices connected to the internet. This umbrella term includes everything from smartphones and laptops to refrigerators and cars. While the IoT has brought many benefits, such as increased efficiency and convenience, it has also raised serious security concerns.
One way to address these concerns is through Blockchain-infused IoT.
By incorporating blockchain development into the IoT, you can create a more secure and efficient network of connected devices. In addition, blockchain can help to ensure data privacy and integrity in the IoT by providing a tamper-proof record of all data transactions.
As the IoT grows, blockchain technology will play an increasingly important role in ensuring its security and efficacy. And you can hop on that train, too.
3) Bug fixes
Whether you’re a seasoned blockchain developer or just getting started, you know that building a blockchain application is no easy feat. There are many moving parts, and each one needs to work together seamlessly to create a robust and secure application. Given the complexity of blockchain development, it’s not surprising that bugs are inevitable.
Therefore, bug fixes are an essential way to upgrade your blockchain app.
When you find a bug in your code, it’s an opportunity to take a closer look at your code and figure out how to make it better. By fixing bugs, you can improve the overall quality of your code and make your application more stable.
In addition, fixing bugs is a great way to learn more about the underlying technology and how to optimize your code/blockchain development for better performance. So don’t view bug fixes as a chore-view them as an opportunity to make your app even better.
4) Increases in throughput (i.e., scalability)
We’ve presented scalability as an essential issue, especially for a public blockchain platform. In this case, speed becomes a problem because of the widespread access given to users.
But even smaller-scale private apps might face this problem when they have to be scaled up.
The world of blockchain is currently seeing an array of solutions coming up. For example, you could add another layer to your primary network to increase transaction speed. You could also try the Sharding method, which proposes forming new networks from subsets of nodes. These so-called “shards” have to deal with separate transactions.
Basically, instead of having the entire system deal with all the transactions, you’re splitting up the tasks between different parts of your blockchain project.
5) Code refactoring
As your blockchain application grows, it’s essential to keep the code clean and maintainable.
Code refactoring is a process of improving the structure of your code without changing its functionality. This can make your code more readable, easier to understand, and easier to maintain.
It can also improve the performance of your application. Code refactoring is an integral part of upgrading your blockchain application because it can help you identify and fix potential issues before they become problems.
Additionally, code refactoring can make your code more efficient and easier to work with. As your application grows and evolves, code refactoring can help you keep it running smoothly.
As a result, code refactoring is an integral part of blockchain development and intrinsically linked to user experience.
That leads us to the next point:
6) UI/UX Updates/Reskin
We’ve presented legacy system integration as one of the major problems of blockchain applications. One solution is to improve your user experience by allowing your customers to connect to your blockchain backend.
As such, your customers can do this integration more efficiently and with fewer resources, even if they lack a blockchain background. Even better, this improvement ensures that your customers’ data are kept safe and that no sensitive information is lost.
We’ve also discussed the biases surrounding blockchain.
This lack of awareness and understanding is caused by blockchain being such an esoteric-sounding concept to many. Therefore, numerous small and medium companies, in particular, don’t understand the technology and what your blockchain app can do.
One of the main reasons is that the entire blockchain industry is governed by technicians instead of marketers.
This technology-oriented approach may be damaging your investments if your potential customers don’t understand what your app does. So, instead of focusing on the blockchain development side, focus on the business aspects.
One of the solutions is creating a better user experience for those not as technologically savvy as your technicians.
For example, education campaigns showing how your software solutions work would help customers understand that your app is accessible, not esoteric, or very high-tech.
From a blockchain development point of view, you can also reskin your app to be easier to use. So, after educating your customers, you can present them with intuitive software that has a mild learning curve.
7) Architectural changes to improve efficiency
One of the significant issues of blockchain projects is the lack of communication between them. Your company’s blockchain application may – at some point – want to offer this option.
Interoperability could be a unique selling proposition that would eventually increase your sales, especially if it makes the app more user-friendly and secure.
However, that would mean changing your blockchain protocol to ensure collaboration and integration with other systems.
And that means doing significant architectural changes depending on your customers’ needs.
For example, you don’t have to consider universal interoperability if that’s not feasible for your blockchain application. You can, however, consider facilitating some degree of inter-communication and transfers.
8) Implementation of automated tests
As any experienced blockchain developer knows, automated testing is essential for the development process. Not only does it save time and resources, but it also helps to ensure the quality of the final product. Automated tests can assess the code’s functionality, the usability of the user interface, and the system’s security. In addition, automated tests can gauge the system’s performance under various conditions.
- You can catch bugs early on in the development process before they have a chance to cause significant problems.
- You can save time and money by highlighting areas that need improvement before releasing your product.
- You have confidence in your code by verifying it works as expected.
- You remain compliant with industry standards and regulations.
All of these benefits make automated testing an essential part of blockchain development.
If you’re looking to take your app to the next level, follow the tips above.
First, remember that the blockchain is a public ledger. That means that anyone can view the transaction history of any given block. As such, it’s essential to make sure that your app is designed to protect user privacy.
Second, select the suitable consensus algorithm for your app. Again, there are various algorithms out there, and each has its benefits and trade-offs. Choose the one that best suits your needs.
Keep in mind that blockchain apps are only as secure as the network they’re built on. That’s why you want to develop a reputable blockchain platform with robust security features.
Monitor scalability issues too. As your app grows and gains users, it’s essential to make sure that it can scale smoothly and efficiently.
Finally, promoting your app is as essential as blockchain development itself. The more users you have, the more valuable your app will be.
By following these simple tips, you can take your app from good to great.