Nowadays, it is not uncommon for people to be at least somewhat familiar with the concept and uses of blockchain. Many of the world’s top companies have begun implementing technology to ensure optimal productivity. Despite all of this, people lack large sections of blockchain knowledge. Included in this is the blockchain operating system.
While only very few know about the concept of this operating system, it is already on the fast track to becoming extremely important in the world of tech. Therefore, it’s becoming increasingly important for people and those interested in blockchain to familiarise themselves with the topic.
You’ve come to the right place for those who have yet to become well-versed in the subject. We take a look at the ins and outs of a blockchain operating system in this article.
Regular Operating Systems
Before we can dive into all the things you need to know about a blockchain operating system, we should take a step back and ensure you understand normal, run-of-the-mill operating systems.
An operating system (OS) is a computer program that underpins all other things on your device. It allows the software components you use to have easy access and connection to the hardware components of your device. Since all applications need access to your computer’s hardware to run successfully and smoothly, the operating system is extremely important.
Rather than programming directly on the hardware, people can program on operating systems, allowing access to all the resources you may need, from the mouse to the memory of your computer.
While computers existed before the invention of operating systems, the creation of these handy systems has significantly increased the ease with which we use our machines.
The Blockchain Operating System
Like a normal operating system, a blockchain system is a link between software and hardware. However, there is an important difference. Rather than connecting with the hardware on one individual computer or device, the blockchain operating system connects or interfaces with the hardware on every single node that makes up the network.
Again, much like the regular operating systems, before the blockchain OS came along, users wanting to interface with any given blockchain had to do so by programming directly on the blockchain. Now, using a blockchain operating system, your programming is captured by the system but executed on the blockchain, making for much easier work of it.
In other words, this operating system takes the commands you put into the network through a hardware device, which are then fulfilled on the blockchain rather than on your device.
Additional Benefits Of The Operating System
While a fully-fledged conceptualisation, a fully operational, day-to-day version of a blockchain operating system is yet to be realised, and enough examples of its use are still to occur and be collected. There are a few expected benefits that are likely to pique the interest of the tech-savvy. (Important to note here that there are working versions, but mainly for business use, not individuals)
For instance, all the upsides of blockchain will likely be replicated on the operating system. For example, the advantages of increased privacy and security, and the lack of centralisation that comes with the use of blockchain, are likely to be reflected in this operating system.
While regular operating systems like Android, iOS, or Windows are likely to capture users’ activity through applications and OS logs, which OS manufacturers keep, anything of this sort is unlikely to occur on a blockchain OS.
The Emergence Of The Blockchain OS
Efforts towards creating a blockchain-based OS appeared for smartphones or mobiles, which were cloud-based virtual systems. Essentially, users enter commands by tapping on the screen of the smartphone or mobile, and processing takes place on the blockchain-based data centre, which is hosted on the cloud.
After this, some efforts emerged in the personal computing space and global commerce and finance. However, the concept of a blockchain operating system is still relatively new and has a long way to go. Despite this, many expect it to be revolutionary and widely adopted once it moves past its nascency.
Examples Of Blockchain Operating Systems
Around 2016, a former Google engineer (who worked on speech recognition software for Androids) created a company that uses blockchain to create an operating system for banks. The system was named Vault OS. The company then worked with about ten banks to create and test the software.
This is a great example of how exciting the combination of blockchain with operating systems can be and how innovative people can get. Even though blockchain operating systems as an idea (and as an executed phenomenon) is still relatively new, there are a few iterations already. Here are a few examples of what’s out there.
Probably the most well-known of all blockchain operating systems and commonly touted as the world’s first blockchain OS, we introduce Overledger.
The system connects blockchains and facilitates the connection of different enterprise platforms, applications, and networks to the blockchain. Further, it allows for the creation of applications called mApps.
Some have argued that while Overledger is reported to be a blockchain OS, it doesn’t perform as an OS should. Those who argue this point claim that Overlegder’s main purpose is to create a connection between different blockchains, which is not what an operating system means.
For example, none of the normal operating systems attempts to create connections to other systems; you would never see Windows and Linux reporting that they can now be interconnected.
Keeping this argument in mind, Overledger has provided this interconnectedness to several blockchains (both permissioned ones, such as Hyperledger and JP Morgan’s Quorum) and permissionless ones, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum). Furthermore, the system can also link to several existing networks and Oracle functionality.
Overledger provides many of the securities of a blockchain, including security, immutability, and more.
phrOS calls itself “the world’s first hospital-wide blockchain integration project.” They aim to quicken the pace of collaboration across the healthcare industry by facilitating the processes of health data and information sharing while ensuring the utmost privacy at the same time.
Included in the services their system offers are smart patient ID to upgrade patient management and tracking, Smart medical chain which secures continuous medical care outreach, e-consent which allows for better patient participation, automated insurance which increases the ease at which claims can be made, and a health data market which increases accessibility to medical data.
EOS, or the Epic Operating System, is a consensus blockchain OS built for businesses. Essentially, it aims to increase the efficiency of smart business development in several ways, but mainly by providing scheduling, authentication, databases, account permissions, and internet application communication.
This particular iteration of a blockchain OS is geared towards global commerce and finance.
It is still a relatively new system, but a few factors cause the system to be touted as reliable. First, ConsenSys is founded by Joseph Lubin, who is also the co-founder of Ethereum, meaning he knows his way around blockchain technology. Furthermore, the company has upwards of 700 employees.
Codify has been described as a system that easily enables financial instruments such as analytics and payment systems. Codify is also already n the market and has a variety of case studies to prove that it works well. For these reasons, ConsenSys Codefi is a big player to watch when it comes to operating systems in the blockchain arena.
Other Blockchain OS Examples To Look Out For
It would be impossible for us to give you a rundown of all the available examples of blockchain OS out there. However, if you’re keen on looking more of them up and learning more, here are some you should check out:
- TRON – reports itself as one of the biggest blockchain OS globally
- GemOS – an enterprise blockchain OS
- LibertyOS – also claims to be the first blockchain OS
- aelf – which aims to be like Linux
The Future Of Blockchain OS
While blockchain operating systems are still new, they will need time to develop both structurally and the gaining of trust with users. However, it is clear that there is already forward progression in the field.
There have been quite a few attempts, some more successful than others, at creating a blockchain OS. And, given the power and upward progression of blockchain on its own, we are likely to see more attempts. Technology takes some time to grow, but we shouldn’t take slow progression as a sign that it will not become revolutionary.
Considering all factors and angles, the likelihood of a blockchain OS making waves in the world of tech in the future is very high.