Tamper-Proof Ledgers: Ensuring Blockchain Security

A tamper-proof ledger is essentially any system of records that has the fundamental properties of distributed blockchain records.

What is Tamper-Proof Ledger?

Blockchain technology heavily relies on security, so in theory all blockchain records are tamper-proof. Throughout the world, the monetary systems we work with today consist of multiple registries. In accounting terms, banks and credit card companies are registries. They store information about transactions and how money moves between parties. The banking system is often under pressure because of the high risk of fraud and falsified information.

This is where blockchain or tamper-proof ledger technology comes to the rescue. The first fully tamper-proof database emerged from the creation of the Bitcoin document. Satoshi Nakamoto detailed the revolutionary idea of how to make Bitcoin’s accounting system tamper-proof.

Whereas previous approaches to creating functional decentralized financial systems had focused on prohibiting tampering with registries, Nakamoto realized that simply urging users not to tamper with the system of records was enough.

Bitcoin, specifically the bitcoin blockchain, does not support tampering or encourage tampering for this reason, as it means automatic exclusion from the network. Node operators responsible for confirming transactions and adding new blocks to the chain are actively discouraged from tampering with records because such a change would be easily detected.

Because the network is decentralized, all Bitcoin node operators validate transactions based on the same copy of the registry. As soon as someone tries to tamper with the records, their copy will not match the list of other node operators. If a node’s copy of the record does not match and no consensus is reached, the node becomes inactive.

In essence, Bitcoin is the first inherently tamper-proof database because it does not allow nodes to change records. If a node stops being in consensus with the rest of the network and becomes inactive, the operator of the node stops getting paid for mining. In other words, Bitcoin node operators have no reason to make changes to the registry or they will no longer make a profit for mining Bitcoin.

Since the launch of Bitcoin in 2009, many other blockchains have been created. Regardless of the consensus mechanism behind them, they all rely on incentives to encourage blockchain operators not to fake records. This incentive mechanism ensures that the distributed ledger remains tamper-proof, no matter how much it grows or how many blocks are added to it.

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