Some Key Considerations for Testing Blockchain
While blockchain was originally developed as a secure ledger system for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, since 2008 others have recognized the technology’s value for other applications. Its versatility and potential for secure, transparent, and tamper-resistant record-keeping have led to its adoption in various other applications, including supply chain management, voting systems, identity verification, smart contracts, and more.
In its original application, blockchain’s key objectives were:
Decentralization: Blockchain eliminates the need for a central authority, such as a bank or government, to verify and record transactions. Instead, a network of nodes (computers) participating in a distributed ledger system verifies transactions and adds them to the blockchain.
Security: Blockchain uses cryptographic techniques to secure transactions, making it extremely difficult to tamper with or alter transaction data once it's recorded on the blockchain. This provides a high level of security against fraud and unauthorized changes.
Transparency: All network participants have visibility into every transaction on a blockchain, providing a transparent and immutable ledger. This transparency is essential for building trust in the absence of a central authority.
Trust: Blockchain allows parties to transact directly with each other without needing to trust a third party. Parties trust the mathematical and cryptographic principles governing the blockchain's operation, rather than an individual or organization.
Immutability: Once a transaction is added to a blockchain, it is nearly impossible to alter or delete it. This immutability is a fundamental feature of blockchain technology.
Evolving use cases for blockchain:
1. Loyalty programs
There are clear crossovers between cryptocurrency and other forms of payment transactions. Web3 loyalty programs allow brands to use blockchain to streamline the process of managing rewards, while offering customers improved access to more compelling benefits. For many consumers, these applications provide a low-risk introduction to the technology, helping them become comfortable with digital currency and blockchain with relatively low investment. Points, vouchers and loyalty rewards can be used in the same way as other forms of currency, and need to function like familiar payment flows.
Electronic healthcare records offer complete visibility into a patient’s medical record for everyone involved in the continuum of care, from primary care providers and specialists to emergency medical responders and pharmacists. This level of interoperability has great benefits to patients and practitioners alike. With complete access to a patient’s records, providers can see patterns and changes over time, and understand how different conditions may impact one another. Patients benefit from enhanced, holistic insight into their overall health.
While concerns about privacy, interoperability, decentralization and the vast infrastructure required to maintain such records has kept the matter from progressing much in the United States, other countries have begun to incorporate blockchain applications into different aspects of the healthcare system. For example, some hospitals across the UK have adopted a tool that allows patients to manage their medical data. The country of Malta uses a blockchain application to manage dynamic consent for participation in biomedical research. Estonian citizens have fully electronic health records and the ability to determine which providers have access to which records.
In fact, Estonia showcases how the digitalization of government creates ease and efficiency when executed effectively. E-Estonia stands out as an example of blockchain’s potential and promise: typical government services have been connected via a single digital platform, linking all citizens and official functions. Education, healthcare, banking, voting, taxes, and legislation all occur online. Each entity – whether it’s a bank, doctor’s office, school, or government organization – maintains its own data, which is shared via end-to-end encrypted pathways using the government’s platform.
Estonia’s model has inspired others to explore how blockchain can remove friction from cumbersome administrative processes. In Rhode Island, Commerce Secretary Elizabeth Tanner is looking to leverage blockchain to streamline the process of starting a business. While Tanner refers to the tech as “a distributed ledger technology” to avoid the negative connotations often associated with blockchain in the wake of crypto failures, she recognizes its potential for digital identity verification. Once established, the digital identity system could support a variety of initiatives to reduce state administrative costs and improve efficiency.
Some key blockchain testing considerations
No matter what your application uses blockchain to do, you need to ensure it functions as intended in the real world, and works seamlessly and intuitively. The decentralized, distributed nature of blockchain makes it an excellent candidate for crowdtesting, allowing you to test under the varied real-world conditions where your apps will be put to use. Here are some quality considerations where crowdtesting can deliver valuable insight, quickly.
Scalability and load testing: Blockchain systems must handle a growing number of transactions and users. Conduct load testing to determine how the blockchain performs under heavy transaction volumes and high network activity, and assess how effectively the system can scale. Event-driven activity, like elections or ticket/voucher releases, can draw spikes in traffic – make sure you’re prepared to handle them.
Interoperability testing: If your blockchain interacts with other blockchains, various blockchain networks (e.g., Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain), or external systems, conduct interoperability testing to ensure seamless communication and data exchange. Test compatibility and functionality across different blockchains.
This applies to a variety of scenarios, such as smart contracts, interoperable identities, or data sharing for supply chain management. There are many applications within payments, including cross-border payments or casino and sportsbook transactions that may include loyalty points, promotional credits, microloans, and other digital currency exchanges. It’s critical to validate functionality across the full ecosystem, including multiple enterprise payment instruments.
User experience testing: Evaluate the user experience, including the ease of onboarding, transaction processing times, and overall usability of the blockchain application. Gather feedback from the community to identify issues and areas for improvement. Collecting input from parties on both sides of a transaction helps shape a better experience for all users.
While the government can’t lose clients, those in other industries need to ensure a smooth UX to keep users coming back. Just one bad experience can deteriorate trust. While protecting your reputation is always the best approach, testing can help brands recover credibility following negative publicity or reports of poor customer sentiment. For example, when one financial trading platform was struggling, a strong UX research program helped provide unbiased feedback about how customers perceived the company and its products. Armed with data, the organization was able to determine which policy and workflow changes and product updates would help it effectively rebuild trust.
Cross-platform testing: If your blockchain application has mobile or web interfaces, ensure that it functions correctly on various platforms and browsers, in the areas where your users are. Users expect your app to work on different devices, networks, operating systems and configurations. Make sure your app functions properly on the devices and systems your customers use most — and that it’s localized correctly for the markets where you operate.
Testing blockchain experiences can be complex due to the distributed and decentralized nature of the technology. It's essential to conduct a comprehensive range of tests to ensure the reliability, security, and functionality of your blockchain application.
Set your crowdtesting efforts up for success with these six steps. Learn how to select a project, develop success criteria, and lay the foundation for an effective partnership.Read '6 Steps to Get Started With Crowdtesting' Now