Blockchain developer ChromaWay has released Postchain – "the first consortium database" – to combine the power and flexibility of mature, productised databases with blockchain database design.
ChromaWay's Postchain innovation, announced at Money 20/20 in Copenhagen, invites database developers everywhere to add the type of security you get with a blockchain design with a Byzantine fault-tolerant voting scheme, "just like a federated blockchain".
This is interesting because blockchains are viewed by many as a general purpose technology for creating peer-to-peer shared databases; despite the focus they have received in the finance sector, blockchains are equally useful for decentralised data aggregation and collaboration in many other fields, such as science, engineering, economics and government.
If you look at any particular type of database – such as relational databases, in-memory databases or noSQL databases – these products and platforms developed their own languages and abstractions, which map well to how they technically work and their most common use cases. This leads to simplicity and productivity for the developers who are building on top of these platforms.
People like MultiChain CEO Gideon Greenspan have been saying for a while that, while there has been much focus on things like smart contracts running in virtual machines, the more interesting abstractions for blockchain platforms are yet to be imagined. For example, what will be the blockchain equivalent of foreign keys in relational databases or map-reduce in big data stores?
ChromaWay is addressing the fact that while blockchains are great at security and trust, the design currently sacrifices all of the flexible and powerful features offered by a modern database system.
ChromaWay said in a statement accompanying the release: "Postchain lowers the barrier for entry to blockchain. A blockchain solution with Postchain can take advantage of the large pool of SQL developers with production experience and expertise. There is no need for specialised blockchain developers, which are in short supply in such a young field.
"Postchain is an open-source product that works in conjunction with the market-leading enterprise database systems that are already trusted by almost every enterprise in the world."