What is blockchain and how can you use it?

Blockchain irrevocably links varying data elements that require prior data validation

Blockchain has uses that go far beyond alternative currencies and demands high-quality data.

The blockchain is a distributed database where the different parts of the database are not connected by a computer processor, meaning that once a piece of data is recorded it cannot be modified. This makes it ideal for maintaining records that concern one or more organisations whose interests are not aligned, such as two completely different companies who trade with each other.

While blockchain technology has until recently been used almost exclusively in alternative currencies, such as bitcoin, one of the main trends visible in 2017 is that blockchain database usage is expanding into many new and varied fields of activity where quality data, as well as data integrity and accurate record keeping, are all required.

This is why it makes so much sense for users and new adopters of blockchain technology to ensure that the data are cleaned to the point where they are data quality you can trust in, before entering them into your blockchain record. The easiest way to do this is using Spotless Data's unique web-based API, or ensuring that all your data have data validationby building Spotless into your project when you initially design and build it.

Blockchain technology is ideal for system integrators, who in particular would do well to consider incorporating blockchains into their new implementations and would be wise to use Spotless Data as part of their design when they do so. Given that their job involves incorporating different platforms and computer systems, blockchain technology can be particularly useful in balancing integration challenges and improving trust. This is particularly so if what they are integrating might need to balance different needs, such as integrating data from more than one business or different and competing departments within a large organisation.

Why use blockchain?

The reason blockchain technology is becoming mainstream is that an unalterable record is the best way to avoid fraud, or to detect it if it has occurred. Blockchains offer a cast-iron guarantee that your data records cannot be changed and it is this inalterability which is allowing this new technology to enter the thrive in so many different fields where data is important. Examples include all kinds of record keeping, especially medical records, as well as identity management, transaction processing, identifying and proving the history of a piece of data and where it came from, and in supply chains.

To give an example of this last area, imagine a case of food poisoning occurring at your pristinely clean and regulation-compliant restaurant. A blockchain for your supply chain data can help identify the source of the problem among the suppliers of your food. Traditionally, if your supplier of meat was working in a dirty environment where contamination was all too likely, and they were dishonest to boot, knowing that if the source of the outbreak is traced to them they will be the ones the authorities shut down, they may well have been tempted to modify their data records to hide the fact that they were responsible for the food poisoning. Yet, with unalterable blockchain records, such a fraud would become impossible and the authorities investigating the case would quickly have a clear idea of where the problem lay, thanks to the unalterable data in the blockchain, and would shut down the meat manufacturer while allowing your restaurant to speedily re-open.

The benefits of using blockchain with quality data

Blockchain is particularly useful because no company or organisation has total control over it, making it ideal for any situation where companies are in competition or organizations are in conflict and where they share mutual data; eg the record of when meat was delivered to your restaurant is of mutual interest to both the restaurant and to the butcher, whose interests in most cases are not aligned; ie even when both are honest they don't need each other to function, as the butcher has many customers and the restaurant has many possible butchers to choose from. An unalterable blockchain record can be used not only with serious cases such as food poisoning but also in much more routine cases such as a dispute over how many kilos of meat were delivered to the restaurant last week.

It is clear that in the coming months and years we will see a revolution in the usage and applications of blockchain technology. This means you can no longer afford to neglect the quality of your data and need to incorporate ways of ensuring its cleanliness, by using Spotless Data's API solution, as soon as possible.

Take a look at our introduction to using our browseable API. You can also test our API on your my filters page though you will need to be logged in first to see this. You can sign-up using your email address, Facebook, Google or GitHub accounts.

You can also view our videos on data cleaning an EPG file and data cleaning a genre column which both explain how to use our API.

Please do sign up for our service using your email address, Facebook, Google or GitHub accounts. Here is a quick link to our FAQ. You can also check out our range of subscription packages and pricing. We are offering 500Mb of free data cleaning to all new customers so you can try out our solution for yourself. If you would like to contact us you can speak to one of our team by pressing on the white square icon with a smile within a blue circle, which you can find in the bottom right-hand corner of any of the web pages on our site.

Spotless Data, the One Stop Data Quality Solution API!

If your data quality is an issue or you know that you have known sources of dirty data but your files are just too big, and the problems too numerous to be able to fix manually please do log in and try now