Blockchain vs. Database: What Is the Difference?

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Blockchain vs. Database: Understanding the Differences

Like the internet, blockchain technology has also taken the world by storm. It has become a part of our daily lives. Though still in a state of infancy, it has open avenues for newer technological advancements to develop.

Two of the most commonly associated words with blockchain innovation are databases and blockchain. Many users often use these terms synonymously but there are differences between the two.

For starters, databases run on client-server networks. Blockchain, on the other hand, follows a peer-to-peer network. Their entities also have different cores. In this article, we shall learn about the distinction between these two so that you can make an informed decision when choosing one.

Centralized vs. Decentralized Control

Blockchain follows a decentralized system architecture. This means that if two clients trust each other and wish to share some sensitive piece of information amongst themselves, there is no need for a third-party operator between them. The can easily share information without one. This is possible because of all blockchain transactions process by nodes that act as middlemen. They ensure that each user produces a similar common system of record. This eliminates the need for a centralized control system.

Nevertheless, databases are highly centralized systems. This means that there is involvement of a third-party. The users have to trust the administrator to handle the transactions. It is also in the hands of the administration to allow or restrict you to read and write any saved data on the database. The output is great and maintenance is also very simple.


Whereas blockchain provides an ideal transaction platform, it is a bit sluggish in terms of speed than most digital platforms like PayPal or Visa. Its developers are continuously looking for means to improve its efficiency but despite their efforts, the users still have to deal with a slower platform. This happens because every node that processes a transaction does it individually. It then compares the results with other nodes. This requires time and therefore results in a slower transaction speed.

In contrast, databases have been up and running for years now. They too, started slow, but with time and innovation, their speed and performance improved. Most databases still use Moore’s law to augment the efficiency and performance of conventional databases.


Ever thought why blockchain rose to such heights in such a short period of time? Well, it all comes down to the confidentiality it offers. Bitcoin is read-uncontrolled and writes uncontrolled. This means that any user can write a new block in the chain and also check one out of the chain when needed.

This isn’t the case with a central database. A database is read-controlled and write-controlled. There is an administrator appointed to keep this in check. As per the network’s protocol, only a few selected individuals can read and write into the database.

However, if the primary goal isn’t to trust but privacy, database offers similar benefits like blockchain.

Final Word

You may have noticed that each of the systems has some basic pros and cons. It is difficult to identify which of the two is a better option since users may have specific needs. Now that you have identified the differences between the two, it is up to you to make a well-informed decision.

I’m a freelance writer and full-time curious person. My main interests are philosophy, politics, art, culture, science, and how they’re all interlinked. When I’m not writing, I’m fronting a band, producing records, and making videos. I’m also currently working on launching a YouTube channel that will focus on culture and politics. I think blockchain technology is fascinating because of the huge potential it has to revolutionise not only the financial sector, but society as a whole.