Focus on Your Value Rather than Blockchain Engineering Development
Why Use Blockchain as a Service
Numerous articles have been written about blockchain and cryptocurrency (which are related but different) so this article will not delve into details describing both. If you need to get a nontechnical background on blockchain, please refer to this article, Blockchain for Dummies, which does a great job of breaking down blockchain to its bare essentials. The article below provides reasons why you should consider using Blockchain as a Service, for your application.
Do You Really Need Blockchain?
First, you should seriously evaluate whether or not blockchain is actually necessary for your application with a blockchain expert. While blockchain is all the rage nowadays, in most use cases that we have discussed with customers, requirements can be met with just immutable storage capability, an important key feature in blockchain. All the other blockchain key elements such as peer-to-peer networking, consensus algorithms, and validation mechanisms are extraneous functionality and aren't really needed in most use cases. "Mining" as you might have heard for the Bitcoin scenario is just a method of validation that can be performed by anybody that has the computing power to do so. Hence, if you only need immutable storage, a blockchain implementation just creates wasted engineering resource development and costs, and unnecessary delay to the release schedule. If however, your product management and engineering team members have determined after extensive discussions that blockchain is a key feature to the success of the product, then read on.
Blockchain Development Resources
According to Steiner Technologies, blockchain development costs can range anywhere between $500K to $2M depending on the sophistication of the application, and the path of development. This assumes that you are not developing a custom blockchain completely from scratch, and leveraging already existing public or private blockchain platforms. That does not include the time to perform the research to determine the right blockchain and the chain code to be implemented. Such decisions are based on the level of sophistication, the maximum number of simultaneous users, and whether the consensus and validation algorithms should be centralized or decentralized (and everything else between the two extremes). The feature that can create the most headaches for design is to accommodate scaling for a large number of simultaneous users. Selection of the right blockchain is also a daunting task, as there are over 25 different platforms available such as Ethereum, Cardano, HyperLedger, EOS, and Corda to name a few to build Blockchain applications, each with a different price tag on it. In addition, since blockchain is new, there's not a lot of engineering talent with blockchain experience. Those that do have experience in blockchain usually command a salary of approximately $150K per year. That figure does not include the rest of the team needed to implement the blockchain. In most common scenarios, development time is estimated to be anywhere between 3 months to 2 years for implementation.
The Easy Path
Applications such as CRM, HR, ERP, and services such as security, authentication, storage, analytics, and business intelligence are quickly transitioning to the cloud. So it makes sense that blockchain in the cloud will also be the most dominant method of implementation in the future, allowing easy adoption by organizations to quickly take advantage of this new technology without a significant engineering investment.
Blockchain in the cloud allows your engineering team to just write to an API defined by your engineering team, and the entire mechanism of peer-to-peer networking, consensus and validation algorithms, hashing, cryptographic key management, and immutable storage management is done for you in the background. API development should take at the most one week, providing a quick and painless path for integration and testing.
A particular pioneer for Blockchain as a service is Blockery.io. Not only do they make it easy to integrate blockchain into your application using APIs, but they have designed their security architecture with the highest level possible for managing the cryptographic keys, eliminating the possibility that hackers can access them. If you only needed immutable storage, using a blockchain as a service would still be advantageous due to the quick development time, with all the other extraneous blockchain functionality being automatically integrated.