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MultiChain Feeds for Database Integration

Getting data out of the blockchain and into the wider world With the first public release of MultiChain, way back in 2015, we saw interest in blockchain applications from a surprising direction. While we had originally designed MultiChain to enable the issuance, transfer and custody of digital assets, an increasing number of users were interested… Read more »

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Getting data out of the blockchain and into the wider world

With the first public release of MultiChain, way back in 2015, we saw interest in blockchain applications from a surprising direction. While we had originally designed MultiChain to enable the issuance, transfer and custody of digital assets, an increasing number of users were interested in using it for data-oriented applications.

In these use cases, the blockchain’s purpose is to enable the storage and retrieval of general purpose information, which need not be financial in nature. The motivation for using a blockchain rather than a regular database is to avoid relying on a trusted intermediary to host and maintain that database. For commercial, regulatory or political reasons, the database’s users want this to be a distributed rather than a centralized responsibility.

The Evolution of Streams

In response to this feedback, in 2016 we introduced MultiChain streams, which provide a simple abstraction for the storage, indexing and retrieval of general data on a blockchain. A chain can contain any number of streams, each of which can be restricted for writing by certain addresses. Each stream item is tagged by the address of its publisher as well as an optional key for future retrieval. Each node can independently decide whether to subscribe to each stream, indexing its items in real-time for rapid retrieval by key, publisher, time, block, or position. Streams were an instant hit with MultiChain’s users and strongly differentiated it from other enterprise blockchain platforms.

In 2017, streams were extended to support native JSON and Unicode text, multiple keys per item and multiple items per transaction. This last change allows over 10,000 individual data items to be published per second on high-end hardware. Then in 2018, we added seamless support for off-chain data, in which only a hash of some data is published on-chain, and the data itself is delivered off-chain to nodes who want it. And later that year we released MultiChain 2.0 Community with Smart Filters, allowing custom JavaScript code to perform arbitrary validation of stream items.

During 2019 our focus turned to MultiChain 2.0 Enterprise, the commercial version of MultiChain for larger customers. The first Enterprise Demo leveraged off-chain data in streams to allow read permissioning, encrypted data delivery, and the selective retrieval and purging of individual items. As always, the underlying complexity is hidden behind a simple set of APIs relating to permissions and stream items. With streams, our goal has consistently been to help developers focus on their application’s data, and not worry about the blockchain running behind the scenes.

The Database Dilemma

As MultiChain streams have continued to evolve, we’ve been faced with a constant dilemma. For reading and analyzing the data in a stream, should MultiChain go down the path of becoming a fully-fledged database? Should it be offering JSON field indexing, optimized querying and advanced reporting? If so, which database paradigm should it use – relational (like MySQL or SQL Server), NoSQL (MongoDB or Cassandra), search (Elastic or Solr), time-series (InfluxDB) or in-memory (SAP HANA)? After all, there are blockchain use cases suited to each of those approaches.

One option we considered is using an external database as MultiChain’s primary data store, instead of the current combination of embedded LevelDB and binary files. This strategy was adopted by Chain Core (discontinued), Postchain (not yet public) and is available as an option in Hyperledger Fabric. But ultimately we decided against this approach, because of the risks of depending on an external process. You don’t really want your blockchain node to freeze because it lost its database connection, or because someone is running a complex query on its data store.

Another factor to consider is technology and integration agnosticism. In a blockchain network spanning multiple organizations, each participant will have their own preferences regarding database technology. They will already have applications, tools and workflows built on the platforms that suit their needs. So in choosing any particular database, or even in offering a few options, we’d end up making some users unhappy. Just as each blockchain participant can run their node on a wide variety of Linux flavors, they should be able to integrate with their database of choice.

Introducing MultiChain Feeds

Today we’re delighted to release our approach to database integration – MultiChain Feeds. A feed is a real-time on-disk binary log of the events relating to one or more blockchain streams, for reading by external processes. We are also offering the open source MultiChain Feed Adapter which can read a feed and automatically replicate its content to a Postgres, MySQL or MongoDB database (or several at once). The adapter is written in Python and has a liberal license, so it can be easily modified to support additional databases or to add data filtering and transformation. (We’ve also documented the feed file format for those who want to write a parser in another language.)

MultiChain Feeds Diagram

A node need not subscribe to a stream in order to replicate its events to a feed. This allows MultiChain’s built-in stream indexing to be completely bypassed, to save time and disk space. Feeds also reflect the retrieval and purging of off-chain data, and can report on the arrival of new blocks on the chain. In order to save on disk space, you can control exactly which events are written to a feed, and which fields are recorded for each of those events. In addition, feed files are rotated daily and there’s a simple purge command to remove files after processing.

Why are MultiChain feeds written to disk, rather than streamed between processes or over the network? Because we want them to serve as an ultra-reliable replication log that is resilient to database downtime, system crashes, power loss and the like. By using disk files, we can guarantee durability, and allow the target database to be updated asynchronously. If for some reason this database becomes overloaded or disconnected, MultiChain can continue operating without interruption, and the database will catch up once things return to normal.

Getting Started with Feeds

Feeds are integrated into the latest demo/beta of MultiChain Enterprise, which is available for download now. Get started by reading the documentation for the MultiChain Feed Adapter, or reviewing the feed-related APIs. We’d love to hear your feedback on this feature and how we can expand it in future.

With the release of feeds, version 2.0 of MultiChain Enterprise is now feature complete – see the Download and Install page for a full comparison between the Community and Enterprise editions. Over the next couple of months we’ll be completing its testing and optimization, and expect it to be ready for production around the end of Q1. In the meantime, for information about MultiChain Enterprise licensing or pricing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

Please post any comments on LinkedIn.

 

Source: https://www.multichain.com/blog/2020/02/multichain-feeds-for-database-integration/

Blockchain

Respected Financial Historian Calls for Bitcoin Integration into U.S. Financial System

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Financial historian and Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Niall Ferguson, has penned a lengthy piece on Bitcoin which is getting noticed by the crypto community.

In it, the former Harvard and Oxford University professor commented on how the traditional naysayers and debunkers have softened their collective stances this year as the asset outperforms most other traditional investments.

Big Bitcoin Endorsements

The piece was re-tweeted a number of times, most recently by 10T Holdings co-founder Dan Tapiero who observed that this could garner huge attention. Of particular note were the comments on the integration of Bitcoin into the U.S. financial system;

“Rather than seeking to create a Chinese-style digital dollar, Joe Biden’s nascent administration should recognize the benefits of integrating Bitcoin into the U.S. financial system,”

Ferguson made additional references to China’s digital yuan adding that its potential for adoption for remittance payments or cross-border trade settlements is ‘substantial’.

The Bloomberg columnist had previously written on the virtues of Bitcoin stating that there are far fewer coins in circulation than there are millionaires on the planet.

“If millionaires collectively decided to hold just 1% of their wealth as Bitcoin, the price would be above $75,000 — higher, if adjustment is made for all the bitcoins that have been lost or hoarded.”

Big Names Paying Attention

He made reference to a number of big names in the financial world including Paul Tudor Jones, Stan Druckenmiller, Bill Miller, and even Ray Dalio that are now appearing to turn bullish. Even ardent Bitcoin detractors such as Peter Schiff and Nouriel Roubini, also mentioned in the article, have started to change their tune.

He added that adoption has much further to go, quoting Argentine-born tech investor Wences Casares who stated after ten years of working well without interruption, with close to 100 million holders, adding more than a million new holders per month and moving more than $1 billion per day worldwide;

“it has a 50% chance of hitting a price of $1 million per bitcoin in five to seven years’ time.”

The advantages of sovereignty and scarcity are obvious at a time when the supply of fiat money is exploding, Ferguson added, concluding that there was a clear demand for more privacy when it comes to a payment system that will inevitably replace cash.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/respected-financial-historian-calls-for-bitcoin-integration-into-u-s-financial-system/

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Blockchain

Further Declines in Bitcoin Price Possible Though Grayscale is Crucial, Notes JPM Analyst

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Although Bitcoin has recovered from its vigorous price losses during the Thanksgiving massacre, analysts from JPMorgan Chase & Co believe that further declines may still occur.

The strategists pointed out that Grayscale, through its Bitcoin Trust, will play a significant role in future BTC price developments.

Is Bitcoin To Head Further South?

The primary cryptocurrency reached a new yearly high of $19,500 last week; thus, it came less than 3% away from the 2017 all-time high of $20,000. As the community began speculating on how long it will take to surpass that level, the trend reversed viciously.

Bitcoin headed south and lost over $3,000 of value in hours. Nevertheless, the cryptocurrency has recovered most of its losses and trades north of $18,000.

A JPM analysis, led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, recently said that the Thanksgiving price drops had cleared the “previous froth in momentum traders’ positioning.” However, the strategists hinted that Bitcoin could still go lower.

“Momentum traders such as commodity trading advisors and other quantitative funds likely played a big role in the slide by unwinding long Bitcoin futures positions. Momentum traders have room to further propagate” the Bitcoin decline, noted the analysts cited by Bloomberg.

Apart from broaching “momentum traders,” the strategists also discussed various other reasons behind the price developments. Those included the rumors of new regulations proposed by the Trump administration and profit-taking.

Grayscale Is Key

The JPM strategists also highlighted the significant role of Grayscale and its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust on the market. The cryptocurrency manager is the most preferred company for institutional investors to receive exposure to Bitcoin (and other digital assets) without worrying about storing the funds.

This has been exemplified through 2020 as Grayscale has reported back-to-back recording-breaking quarterly results. The assets under management (AUM) have exploded in the past 12 months to over $10 billion. Somewhat expectedly, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust has the most substantial share.

The analysts asserted that if there’s a decline in the interest towards GBTC, this could damage the narrative that Bitcoin has become a favorite among institutional investors:

“A failure by the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust to receive additional inflows over the coming weeks would also cast doubt to the idea that institutional investors such as family offices have embarked on a trend of embracing Bitcoin as digital gold replacing traditional gold as a long-term investment.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/further-declines-in-bitcoin-price-possible-though-grayscale-is-crucial-notes-jpm-analyst/

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Blockchain

Bitcoin Breaks New All-Time Highs Targeting $23,000

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The information on or accessed through this website is obtained from independent sources we believe to be accurate and reliable, but Decentral Media, Inc. makes no representation or warranty as to the timeliness, completeness, or accuracy of any information on or accessed through this website. Decentral Media, Inc. is not an investment advisor. We do not give personalized investment advice or other financial advice. The information on this website is subject to change without notice. Some or all of the information on this website may become outdated, or it may be or become incomplete or inaccurate. We may, but are not obligated to, update any outdated, incomplete, or inaccurate information.

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Source: https://cryptobriefing.com/bitcoin-breaks-new-all-time-highs-targeting-23000/

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