Guide


How Blockchain Is Used in Cybersecurity, Data Science, & Software Engineering

By Joseph Eaton
Last Updated October 29, 2021

The last few years have seen people buzzing about the possibilities of blockchain technology. Bitcoin has been a popular topic for some time, but there’s more to blockchain than just Bitcoin! Blockchain applications in cybersecurity, data science, and software engineering are on the rise.

Learn about some of the ways that blockchain is used across different industries and how it’s growing. We’re diving into 6 companies that are already adopting blockchain, salary expectations in each industry, and 5 blockchain bootcamps for anyone interested in learning more!

What is Blockchain?

Most people hear the word blockchain and immediately think of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. However, blockchain can do much more than cryptocurrency. Blockchain technology is revolutionizing the way we handle data in most industries. 

Blockchain works by grouping data together into blocks that cannot be altered once added to the chain. This information remains secure on the record forever and new blocks are constantly added. Bitcoin, blockchain’s most popular application, uses blocks to store and validate transaction data.

Each block contains a unique hash that identifies it as well as the hash of the previous block that was added which creates a long line of linked blocks otherwise known as a chain. If a block is altered, then its hash is altered as well. This then invalidates every block that comes after the altered one and it’s easy to spot the alteration since it’s a break in the chain.

Unfortunately, this feature alone isn’t enough to make this technology completely secure. A computer could easily recalculate the rest of the hashes to alter a chain which is why blockchain has proof of work. While the creation of new coins is a part of the mining process, this is what people mean when they refer to Bitcoin mining. Proof of work or mining is a series of complicated calculations meant to slow down the process of adding blocks to the chain and for Bitcoin, it takes about 10 minutes. 

One of the reasons blockchain is so secure is because the data is stored on a network of different computers, not a single central server. Individual computers communicate with each other to verify the chain which means a hacker would have to breach a majority of the computers on the network. This peer-to-peer (P2P) network allows for a much more secure system of data storage and any attempts to alter a block are virtually pointless.

The tech industry is rapidly finding new uses for blockchain and novelties that exist on a blockchain like non-fungible tokens (NFT) may start seeing more serious applications shortly. Currently, there are plenty of other real-world applications for blockchain technology beyond cryptocurrencies.

How Blockchain is Used in Data Science

Blockchain has broad applications and data science is still catching up to other industries when it comes to blockchain; it certainly hasn’t reached its full potential. Still, blockchain has potential as well as tangible uses in the field.

Blockchain provides public information about transactions. This alone is useful to data scientists because it ensures that the information they use is accurate and original. 

Beyond providing useful information about other industries, blockchain has the potential to be useful for storing data specifically for public research. Instead of scraping data from other records, data scientists could draw from the same pool of data and they could trust it since they know it’s secure.

Companies that use blockchain for data science

Many data science companies that use this technology are in the field of blockchain analytics. These companies are often analyzing cryptocurrency transactions to find trends and they may not be using blockchain directly.

  • Chainalysis – This is one of the most popular blockchain analytics companies and they provide insights to government agencies and investment firms in 40 different countries. Chainalysis analyzes blockchain and cryptocurrency data and provides information based on trends and transactions.
  • Numerai – This hedge fund uses blockchain somewhat differently. They provide anonymous data to machine learning engineers who then create a model in Python or R to predict what the stock market will do. They then stake NMR, a proprietary cryptocurrency, on their model. The top-performing models drive the investments of the fund and users are rewarded based on the performance of their models. NMR is tradeable on platforms like Coinbase and anyone is allowed to compete for Numerai.

Data science jobs that use blockchain

The majority of the jobs that involve blockchain and data are finance-related. These titles include business analyst, blockchain & finance analyst, data analyst, blockchain security analyst, and crypto operations analyst. Job titles are highly variable from firm to firm and it’s best to look at the description to figure out what the role is. Blockchain Analysts have an average salary of $111,000 per year.

How Blockchain is Used in Cybersecurity

By nature, blockchain is secure which means it’s well suited for cybersecurity. The decentralized nature of blockchain makes it useful for a wide range of applications that depend on security. Better end-to-end encryption is a clear one that applies to many different industries. Blockchain might also help with preventing designated denial of service (DDoS) attacks by decentralizing domain name system entries. Cryptocurrency and finance benefit largely from this security, but there are other potential applications for it as well. 

Companies that use blockchain for cybersecurity

Many different companies use blockchain to some degree to help maintain security. Many financial institutions have begun using smart contracts, a type of agreement that is fulfilled when certain conditions are met. Smart contracts are executed and stored on decentralized ledgers. Other companies use blockchain to help secure data transmission for sensitive information.

  • SyncFab – This company accommodates industries that require special equipment and parts with long supply chains and rigorous standards. This includes military contractors, medical equipment providers, and aerospace companies. These industries have complicated processes to ensure these products are not faulty and SyncFab uses blockchain to help manage and secure supply chains. Their cybersecurity is built around their blockchain platform.
  • ConsenSys – Blockchain has a lot of potential in the finance world for various reasons and cybersecurity is one of them. J.P. Morgan developed the Quorum blockchain before selling it to ConsenSys who currently owns it. Quorum uses smart contracts to quickly and securely complete transactions.

Cyber Security jobs that use blockchain

While blockchain is inherently more secure, its applications within cybersecurity are still being developed. Professionals in this field are generally called Blockchain Security Specialists and they often work in finance. Blockchain Security Specialists make between $70-$150K per year.

How Blockchain is Used in Software Development

Software developers have barely scratched the surface of blockchain’s potential and its uses are still being discovered. Blockchain platforms are continuing to provide more solutions to problems across industries. Supply chain issues, security concerns, and data sharing are problems that affect many different types of businesses and blockchain has the potential to fix these issues.

Companies that use blockchain for software development

Security is often listed as a benefit of blockchain, but documentation is also important. Blockchain allows users to trust that their data is reliable and up to date which provides software developers across many different industries with a chance to revolutionize their field.

  • IBM – This software titan has a multitude of blockchain projects. IBM has done extensive work with implementing blockchain technology into food supply chains to help improve sustainability, efficiency, safety, and waste reduction.
  • HACERA – COVID has caused plenty of complications and it can be easy to forget how much goes into managing a pandemic without the extra complications. HACERA created MiPasa, a cloud-based platform for providing immutable medical information that’s standardized across the industry.

Software development jobs that use blockchain

Software developers are an important part of building blockchain technology and plenty of companies hire developers with specific blockchain skills. The jobs are usually listed as Blockchain Developer or Blockchain Engineer. Blockchain Developers make between $115-200K annually.

How to Learn Blockchain

Blockchain is a Web 3.0 technology and this is a great time to learn it! We’ve listed some resources for you to check out if you’re interested.

1. Optilistic Labs Web3 Bootcamp

Length: At least 20 hours/week
Curriculum: The Web3 Bootcamp expects students to dive deep into the programming language Solidity; students will learn to write secure smart contracts
Job Guarantee: Accept an offer from a partner company (20+ and counting) and pay nothing in tuition. 
Cost: 2.5 ETH up front, 2.5 ETH at end of course

2. B9 Lab

Length: Self-paced (don’t expect support from mentors and instructors).
Curriculum: B9 Lab offers several free videos that cover basic concepts of blockchain technology
Job Guarantee: None
Cost: Free

3. ConsenySys

Length: 10-12 weeks
Curriculum: This bootcamp covers Ethereum, smart contracts, decentralized finance, and other essential blockchain concepts. 
Job Guarantee: Full money-back within the first two weeks.
Cost: $985

4. Blockchain Engineering Essential Bootcamp

Length: 180 hours
Curriculum: This immersive course covers Ethereum development, hyperledger development, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
Guarantee: None
Cost: $15,000

5. EmergingEd

Length: 8 Weeks
Curriculum: Emerging Ed has several different blockchain courses that cover topics like tokenization, smart contracts, and cryptocurrency.
Job Guarantee: None
Cost: $1,500 each

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About The Author

Joseph Eaton is a freelance writer and photographer who enjoys taking pictures of outdoor action sports and writing about tech. He was born and raised in North Carolina where he currently lives.

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