Wed. May 12th, 2021


Due to the spike in cyberattacks, organizations spend trillions of dollars on cybersecurity measures to help keep hackers from getting unauthorized access to sensitive data.[1] Organizations not only ensure that their data is not manipulated or falsified by a company or employees, but they also need to trust that the data is correct. This is why organizations adopt auditing to help confirm that their application database is not manipulated.

One of the key features of blockchain is that it is immutable.[2] Technically, blockchain is considered an immutable database, which means that you cannot manipulate the data in a blockchain. This is why most organizations are adopting blockchain, as it helps to make the auditing process quick, efficient, and cost-effective. In contrast, it helps to bring more integrity and trust to the data used by the organization.

In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about the immutability of blockchain, from what immutability is to its benefits.

What Is Blockchain Immutability?

Immutability can be referred to as the ability of a blockchain ledger to remain unaltered and unchanged.[3] This means that the data kept in a blockchain cannot be altered. Furthermore, each block of information like transaction details uses a cryptographic principle or a hash value to keep the data unaltered.

You should also note that blockchain is decentralized and distributed in nature as consensus is made among the numerous nodes that store the replica of the data. This consensus ensures that the data originality is maintained.

How Does Blockchain Technology Achieve Immutability?

As stated before, a key element that makes blockchain immutable is the hash value, as it helps secure each block of code separately. Furthermore, the hash is so popular because it cannot be reverse-engineered. You need to understand how cryptographic hashing works before you can understand blockchain immutability.

Nowadays, it is easy to generate cryptographic hash because most modern programming languages come with several hash functions. All you have to do is pass a set of bytes, and you will see as the function return a checksum signature.

The checksum will point to your exact data input. However, if a byte is different between two files, the output after hashing will be two completely different strings. The most popular has in the blockchain space is the SHA-256.

Benefits of Blockchain Immutability

Here are some benefits of the immutability of blockchain

1. Complete Data Integrity

Using blockchain technology ledger, you can easily guarantee the data trail and full history of an application. Furthermore, an organization can easily validate the chain’s integrity at any time by re-calculating the block hashes. Once there is a discrepancy between the block data and its corresponding hash, it means the transactions are not valid.

2. It Simplifies Auditing

The ability of an organization to produce a complete and indisputable history of a transactional ledger makes the auditing process easy and efficient. Furthermore, the ability to prove that data has not been tampered with is a great benefit for organizations that comply with the industry regulations.

3. It Increases Efficiencies

The immutability of blockchain does not only benefit auditing. It also offers new opportunities in analytics, query, and overall business processes. This ability helps an organization save time and cost when auditing specific application data, tracking major bugs, backing up and restoring a database to retrieve information, etc.

4. It Can Be Used As Proof Of Fault

It is common for organizations to have disputes over fault in business. For instance, the construction industry accounts for one trillion dollars in losses because of unresolved disputes. Although you cannot use blockchain to dissolve a massive category of legal proceedings, you can leverage it to prevent the majority of disputes related to data integrity.

What Are the Limitations of Blockchain?

51 Percent Attack

The major weakness of the immutability of blockchain is the possibility of a 51 percent attack. This term indicates when an attacker acquires huge computing power over other members of the network. This can be called the controlling interest of generating power. This attack is possible when hackers come together to create a majority of hashing power.

Furthermore, this attack allows attackers to change the transaction data that should be immutable. Attackers can now reverse the high-value transaction, spend money the second time, and secure profit.