The Complete Guide To Blockchain For Mobile Apps – Blockchain continues to be a hot topic in the business and virtual world. Although it was invented over a decade ago, it still raises interest and finds uses in new fields. One such field is mobile app development.
In this article, we will answer the following five questions and provide you with all the information you need for understanding blockchain in general and its usage in mobile app development.
- What is blockchain and how it works?
- What types of blockchains are there?
- How to implement blockchain into your mobile app?
- What are the benefits of blockchain in mobile apps?
- How much does blockchain app development cost?
There’s no time like the present, so let’s get right into it!
1. What is blockchain, and how does it work?
A blockchain is an unchangeable digital ledger that stores transaction records and tracks both physical (land, car, money, house, etc.) and nonphysical assets (copyrights, patents, etc).
It allows everybody involved in a transaction to know exactly what happened and when it happened. But the most unique feature of blockchain technology is that it doesn’t require third-party validation.
How does it actually work? Let’s say you enter a new transaction. The next step is transmitting this transaction to a network of peer-to-peer computers distributed across the globe. After which, all participants (a.k.a. nodes) in the network will be required to confirm your transaction is valid.
Finally, your completed transaction will be saved in a block which will then be added to an existing chain of blocks. Once it is attached to the chain it can’t be altered by any party.
What makes blockchain almost unhackable is that each block has its own, unique cryptographic fingerprint and each transaction must go through a “consensus protocol”.
Not all blockchains operate by the same principles, as we are going to discuss in our next section.
2. What types of blockchains are there?
Blockchains can be divided into four categories:
Let’s examine the differences between these four types.
Public blockchains don’t have any restrictions. This means that anyone with a computer and internet can be a participant on the network. It is not owned by anyone and all participants have insight into every block in the chain.
Although this type of blockchain is very secure and decentralized by nature, the transaction process can be very slow. This is mainly because each transaction must be verified by a large number of nodes.
A private blockchain operates in a closed network, allowing only selected nodes to participate in transaction processes. This type of blockchain offers high privacy and a faster transaction time but it is more open to security breaches due to the smaller number of participants.
A hybrid blockchain is a mixture of a private and public blockchain. This means that one part of the blockchain is controlled by a certain organization, while the other part is visible to everyone.
Even though there are different levels of control, no node can alter any transaction once it is put in a block and added to a chain.
This blockchain type is highly secure and cost-effective but can be difficult to implement and maintain.
A consortium or federal blockchain takes an innovative approach to satisfying organizations’ needs. Just like the hybrid blockchain, the consortium blockchain also has private and public sections.
The difference is that this type of blockchain can be run by multiple organizations, often companies that are in the same industry but need a shared platform for exchanging transactions and information.
Consortium blockchain can be very flexible but could face potential approval problems if companies don’t share common interests.
Now that you know what blockchain is, how it works, and what types are out there, let’s see how you can use it for mobile app development.
3. How to implement blockchain into your mobile app?
The simple solution to implementing blockchain into your mobile app is to hire a blockchain development company to do all the work. Another option is to do it yourself by following these three basic steps:
- Identify the need for a blockchain technology
- Understand your options
- Choose the right platform
Let’s examine these steps in more detail.
1. Identify the need for a blockchain technology
Not all applications will benefit from blockchain technologies. Many will operate just fine with the traditional app development approach.
You will find blockchain technology to be the most useful in the following scenarios:
- If you are developing an app that works with users’ money (online store, insurance, charity, etc.).
- If you aim to automate business processes such as document flow or payments.
- If your app needs to use reliable identification or verification systems.
- If you need to protect confidential data such as medical records.
Creating a mobile app on blockchain technology requires a great amount of knowledge and skills and it also costs more. You’ll want to weigh the costs and benefits to make sure your app really needs it.
2. Understand your options
From the technical point of view, you will have three options for integrating blockchain technology into your mobile app:
- Incorporate an open blockchain platform into your app
- Build a private network on one of the blockchain software
- Build your network from the ground up on the blockchain platform of your choice
A blockchain platform is one of the most important components in building decentralized mobile apps, so examine your options carefully.
3. Choose the right platform
There are many blockchain platforms currently on the market. To help you narrow your choices down, we have created a list of the top seven platforms you should consider for building your mobile app:
Stellar is an open blockchain network that offers money transactions and storage. With this platform, you can trade money in many forms including dollars, bitcoins, and even gold.
Stellar’s main features include:
- Decentralized, open database
- Fast transactions (it can perform thousands of transactions in a second)
- Short confirmation time (3-5 seconds)
- Multi signatures and smart contracts
- Micropayment services
You don’t need permission or an application to access this platform and you can even issue your own assets.
EOS is another open-source blockchain platform that allows people and organizations to create and access a large number of decentralized applications. This platform supports both public and private blockchain deployment.
Other EOS functionalities include:
- Asynchronous communication
- Smart contacts
EOS platform follows accustomed development patterns and programming languages that are typically used for non-blockchain app development.
Klaytn is jet another open-source public blockchain suitable for anyone who wants to build, work, or play in the metaverse. Its main features include:
- Fast block generation and confirmation
- Seamless interoperability between participants
- An end-to-end metaverse package
- An open source DEX and NFT Marketplace
- An open source wallet for digital assets storage
This platform could be a great choice if you plan to develop a gaming or entertainment app and immerse it in the metaverse.
With more than 100 million accounts, Tron is one of the fastest-growing public networks in the world. It adopts a 3-layer architecture – storage layer, core layer, and application layer.
Tron’s main features include:
- Multi-language extensions
- Smart contracts
- Account management
- Customized wallets
- Custom-built blockchain system
This platform offers three types of accounts – regular (for standard transactions), token (for storing TRC-10 tokens, and contract accounts.
Ethereum platform offers the technology for building apps, holding assets, and transacting. What is unique about this platform is that it has its own cryptocurrency – Ether. You can use Ether to pay for certain activities on their network.
Ethereum’s main selling points are:
- A peer-to-peer network
- Commerce guarantees
- Composable products
- Fast cross-border payments
Ethereum is not controlled by a central authority. It runs through the decentralized participation of its community.
Tezos is a blockchain platform where participants can engage with a network of decentralized applications. This platform offers the following:
- On-chain governance
- Smart contracts
- Delegation of participants’ rights to other users
Tezos also supports meta upgrades and its protocols have the ability to evolve by amending their own code.
7. XDC Network
XDC Network operates on a cutting-edge user interface and offers easy migration from other blockchains. Its key selling points are:
- Atomic cross-chain token transfers
- Near zero fee transaction
- High security
- Smart contracts
XDC platform combines the features of public and private blockchain types and it operates on an energy-efficient consensus protocol.
When you are deciding on what platform to use for your mobile app, consider what languages the platform supports, what level of security they provide, and what functionalities its smart contracts offer.
4. What are the benefits of blockchain in mobile apps?
Besides advanced storage and data streaming, blockchain technology in mobile app development also brings the following four benefits:
1. Improved data security
Data security is a constant concern for both app developers and users. Blockchain technology ensures your app doesn’t encounter data breaches by making sure all transactions are encrypted and timestamped.
Because blocks of data are kept in more than one location, unauthorized data modification is not a possibility. The very construction of blockchain technology where every block is interlinked and distributed allows the systems to be more reliable.
Integrating blockchain technologies into your app is far from easy, but it is much simpler than using other programs designed to perform similar functions. You will find that developing and maintaining a blockchain app is much easier compared to the other technology solutions that are out there, such as data science or cloud computing.
4. Increased transparency
Because of the decentralized system that records all transactions on a public ledger, blockchain app development enables users to track their data transfers in real time.
Ultimately, blockchain app development will help you enhance customer satisfaction and customer service.
5. How much does blockchain app development cost?
Many factors can affect the ultimate price of your blockchain app development. For example, if you hire a large app development company, you can expect to pay anywhere from $450,000 to $1,000,000.
Mid-sized companies charge between $25,000 and $200,000 for blockchain app development. Hiring a freelancer is the cheapest option with a $2,000 to $25,000 price range.
Other factors that can influence the ultimate price include:
- The complexity of your app
- Consensus mechanism
- Application programming interface (API)
- The number of 3rd party tools you are planning to use
The industry where your app belongs will also have a massive impact on the bottom-line price. Here are the differences in prices across industries:
- Healthcare – $55,000 – $100,000
- On-demand – $40,000 – $80,000
- Social media – $45,000 – $100,000
- Public sector – $70,000 – $100,000
- Finance sector – $50,000 – $100,000
Like with any other app development, you need to plan your budget carefully and choose the options that fall within your projected calculations.
Currently, blockchain technology is mostly associated with Bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrencies. But the future holds greater things for this emerging technology.
It is estimated that blockchain technologies have the potential to reduce up to %30 of banks’ infrastructure costs – more than $10 billion per year.
At the same time, 55% of healthcare applications will adopt blockchain for commercial deployment by the year 2025.
Additionally, the spending on blockchain solutions is expected to reach $11.7 billion by the end of 2022.
All these numbers indicate that this cutting-edge technology is here to stay and improve many aspects of our lives along the way.
In the words of William Mougayar, founder and CEO of Engagio: “The blockchain symbolizes a shift of power from the centers to the edges of the networks”.
We hope our article helped you better understand blockchain technologies and provide you with valuable information about how to implement them into your next app development.
Travis Dillard is a business consultant and an organizational psychologist based in Arlington, Texas. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for DigitalStrategyOne.