BigchainDB: The Much Needed Decentralized Database

In this article we will look into Bigchain database or BigchainDB.

Blockchain And Databases

We can call a traditional Blockchain system a database because it offers a storage mechanism. However, if we measure the Bitcoin Blockchain by the criteria of a traditional database, it is terrible, to say the least. The throughput hovers around a few transactions per second (tps). Also, the latency before a single confirmed transaction is 10 minutes, while the capacity is only a few dozen gigabytes. 

To make matters worse, adding nodes lead to more problems because doubling nodes means that network traffic will quadruple. The change does not lead to an improvement in throughput, latency, or even capacity. Also, it doesn't have any querying ability at all. 

Meanwhile, a modern distributed database (DB) has the potential to have a throughout that is more than 1 million tps. It can have a capacity of Petabytes (1,000Terabyte) or more, the latency of a fraction of a second. The throughput and capacity of a modern distributed database increases as nodes are added. 

Current Blockchain technologies like Bitcoin do not provide so many throughputs. That’s the reason it cannot be implemented in the market mainstream use cases. 

Overview Of Bigchain Database

Bigchain database or BigchainDB is a scalable Blockchain database that has both Blockchain and database properties. Bigchain database permits the deployment of large-scale applications in use cases and industries such as intellectual property and identity, supply chain, IoT, and artificial intelligence. It offers developers, startups, and enterprises unique solutions to develop their concepts, platforms, and applications successfully.

If you plan on deploying decentralized or distributed systems in a corporate environment, the Bigchain database is a technology worth knowing. It is an open-source distributed storage system. It combines traditional databases' main benefits with the benefits of Blockchain technology. One of the main benefits of the Bigchain database is its ability to deploy a Blockchain-like decentralized system using production-ready technologies. The fact that people are already deploying NoSQL databases in their current systems makes the Bigchain database really appealing for deployment. 

Bigchain database has the design to merge the "traditional" distributed database world and the "traditional" Blockchain world. Bigchain started with a traditional distributed database characterized by the scale and query ability. "Scale" includes throughput, capacity, and low latency. Then the Blockchain characteristics such as decentralization, immutability, and assets were engineered into it. By decentralization it means that no single entity owns or controls it. On the other hand, immutable means the system is tamper-resistant. 

Bigchain database supports private and public deployments and "writes" take less than a second because validation is carried out by federation of voting nodes. Nodes are connecting points inside the Bigchain network, and they constantly exchange data with each other to stay up to date.  As a decentralized database, the Bigchain database is complementary to decentralized processing technologies like Ethereum Virtual Machines. It is also complementary to decentralized file systems like IPFS. You can also use it within decentralized computing platforms like BlockApps-Stratos or Eris-Tendermint.

The rest of this post gives you some background on Blockchains and databases. It further provides an in-depth description of the Bigchain database. 

Blockchain Database: Where Blockchain Meets Big Data

How to Use Blockchain to Build a Scalable Database?

The introduction of the Bigchain database was meant for database-style decentralized storage: a Blockchain database. Bigchain database is built on top of an enterprise-grade distributed database from which it inherits its high throughput, high capacity, a full-featured NoSQL query language, efficient querying, and permissioning. Also, nodes can be added to the database to increase the throughput and capacity. 

As mentioned earlier, this database's decentralized control is through a federation of nodes with voting permissions. The voting process happens at a layer above the database's built-in consensus. Its tamper-resistance achieve through an ordered sequence of blocks where each block holds an ordered sequence of transactions. Meanwhile, any entity that has asset-issuance permissions can issue an asset. Also, any entity-with asset-transfer permissions and the asset's private key may transfer the asset. The implication is that hackers o compromised system admins cannot arbitrarily change data. One more interesting thing is that there is no single point of failure. The Blockchain database's scalability implies that legally binding contracts and certificates may be stored directly in the Blockchain database.

The permissioning system allows configurations ranging from private enterprises' Blockchain databases to open, public Blockchain databases.

The Use Cases Of Bigchain database

As a Blockchain database

It can be used for industry consortia to create new private Blockchains to take advantage of Blockchain capabilities at scale. Bigchain database also supports binding contracts that generate automatically and stored directly in a readable format by both humans and computers. These binding contracts are electronic but legal agreement between two or more parties. 

Bigchain database as a service

This is for developers who desire the benefits of Blockchains without the stress of setting up private networksCloud providers who want scalable Blockchain as part of their service can also leverage Bigchain database. 

How To Try Bigchain Database

If you want to try the Bigchain database, all you need is a Bigchain database network to connect to. You can also deploy your network, or you could use the Bigchain database Testnet. The Testnet is a live Bigchain database network that operates by the Bigchain database development team. If you visit the "Get Started" page on the Bigchain database website, you can enter some text and click "Off you go". There is an in-page JavaScrip app that will build a Bigchain database transaction and forward it to the Bigchain database Testet. The constructed transaction is clear for you to see and check if it was stored.

On the other hand, you can also write your app to write to and read from a Bigchain database network. You can write it using any programming language, but there are official Bigchain database drives (software packages) for JavaScript and Python. Therefore, you should use one of those. 


Bigchain database has both Blockchain properties and database properties. This combination makes it very useful for various use cases such as supply chain, Intellectual Property Rights Management, digital twins, and the Internet of Things (IoT). It also includes the integration of Tendermint for inter-node networking and Byzantine fault-tolerant (BFT) consensus. For more information, you can visit the Bigchain database website or use our comment section below for your questions. 

Also read, Blockchain Scalability: Limitations and Solutions

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