Blockchain Data Storage and Off-Chain Data Storage Options

blockchain data storage and off chain data storage options


Blockchain Data Storage is not as straightforward as it appears. There is a slew of issues that might make this a challenging undertaking.

As we’ll see, the challenge of storing information on the blockchain can be solved in a variety of ways. None of them is much better than the others. None of them are completely worthless. It is entirely dependent on your use case.

Using Blockchain Transactions to store data

A trade model is used by blockchains, particularly those intended to hold money. Whenever it comes to financial exchanges, this method makes sense, but how can we expect to store data using this method?

We have to bundle our bespoke data into operations in addition to storing it on the blockchain.

Putting the Protocol to Work

Under their protocols, several blockchains allow you to add data to a transaction. We may just attach our information to our transaction in this situation.

This feature is not available in all blockchains. We also can keep a little type of information on the network in this situation by utilizing addresses.

We just encrypt some information or use it as a location to send an operation. The information is then saved in the blockchain. The information is encrypted into the destination address rather than utilizing a payloads field inside the operation.

The disadvantage of this method is that the quantity of data stored cannot exceed the address capacity of the blockchain.  Moreover, we must not only cover the transaction charge but also destroy a little number of funds.

Since we do not control the address to which we transmit the operation, the funds we send are lost.

The problem in Blockchain Data Storage

The amount of information that can store on a blockchain is the largest issue. This is maybe because of the system’s limit on the quantity you may send or because of the exorbitant transaction costs, you’d have to spend.

The Pay of  Blockchain Data Storage

Every complete node on the earth must be able to store the quantity of data you store. Every person who downloads the blockchain is also downloading a portion of your information. That’s why just keeping a few kilobytes is expensive.

When saving information on the blockchain, we usually pay a basic price for the operation as well as a fee per byte that we wish to put. If smart contracts are used, we must additionally pay for the smart contract’s runtime.

What is the maximum amount of data that can be saved on a Blockchain?

Regardless, the quantity of information we can keep is restricted. To give an idea, most chains accept a file size of a few kilobytes or less.

We might theoretically get around this constraint by dividing our data into several little bits. This would enable us to store greater files/data, but it would also boost our prices dramatically. This is because we’d have to spend the transaction’s base price numerous times. After all, the quantity of information we can store is finite.

Issues in Sensitive Blockchain Data Storage

When it comes to keeping data on the blockchain, another issue arises when we contemplate saving personal or secret information. There are two issues here:

  • If we use a blockchain network like Ethereum, everyone will have access to the information we store. It’s because each member in a public blockchain possesses a copy of the complete chain. However, even if you choose to create our private chain, each member would receive a copy. The distinction is that we are in charge of who joins the system and receives a copy.
  • At some time, most sensitive or secret information can destroy. Particularly in light of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Sadly, by design, it is not feasible to delete information from the chain.

Encryption of information might be one answer to this problem. The disadvantage of this strategy is that we have to deal with encryption keys and how they are distributed. Another option is to save hashes of the data rather than the actual data. 

How can huge datasets store on the blockchain?

It turns out that there are a variety of methods for storing transaction records. Also, one of them is storing the original data.

Using the Blockchain to Store Hashes

Only keeping the hash of the information in the blockchain is one approach to receive the advantages of a blockchain without spending a fortune on operations.

A hash is a created string that is calculated based on the information we provide. The resulting hash will still be the same if the input is the same. Also, each input yields a different hash. We can detect if our data has been updated simply by glancing at the hash.

Using conventional storage methods, the hash of our data is the only thing we store on the blockchain. The hash is quite little compared to our data, hence the cost of an operation is negligible.

We can save the raw data as we like. We can hash the raw information and compare it to the hash in the allocated operations on the blockchain at any point when there is a doubt regarding the data. Also, advantages like decentralization and transparency may be lost depending on your storage strategy.

Using Blockchain to Store a Subset of Data

By keeping the hash of the information and sections of the data on the blockchain, we can reclaim some of those benefits. Because the data is now publicly accessible again, we may regain some transparency depending on the components of the data. In addition, rather than being saved in a central database, the subset of information is stored decentralized.

Off-Chain Data Storage Options 

Traditional Database

Let’s begin with the most obvious option. A classic database, such as MySQL, or a more contemporary database, MongoDB.

Pros Cons
Powerful querying  Single point of failure 
Low-cost storage for big volumes of data  Control by a single authority 
  Missing transparency

Distributed Database

The information in a distributed database can copy across several nodes in multiple locations. This provides redundancy if a single computer fails. It can also lower latency for large-scale applications. 

Pros Cons
Powerful querying capabilities Missing transparency
Low-cost storage for big volumes of data  Control by a single authority 
Redundancy o data  

Distributed file system

Distributed file systems also keep their data on several computers. This is done to ensure resilience in the event of a breakdown. The distinction between a file system and a distributed database is that a data structure lacks robust asking. Rather, documents can only be accessed if the name/path of the item is known.

Furthermore, certain distributed file networks, such as IPFS, are intended to be a collaborative endeavor. Moreover, there is a large network, similar to blockchain, where anyone may store their stuff. Also, the distinction is that not everyone can require to keep a backup of the information. So, a duplication of duplicates is deemed sufficient.

Pros Cons
Transparency and decentralized No query capabilities
Storage for big volumes of data  Nill
Redundancy o data Nill

Read also:How records all the transaction in a Blockchain

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