We all know it's a mainframe, so let's recap / define blockchain and cryptomining – and look at why I put them all together. Blockchain is the antithesis of centralized calculation. In fact, it uses cryptographic master books distributed across multiple computers in a network. And encrypting, we'll be back in a moment.
So by simply broadening that short definition, blockchain is a way of recording data using an encrypted ledger of verified events, which is distributed across many computers in a network. And once you see the ledger of the word in a sentence, you know we're talking about financial transactions – and that's what they are in general. So, once a transaction has taken place, it is transformed into a block of data that can not be changed. These blocks are then bound together in chains (hence the name blockchain) of events that demonstrate that a certain sequence of events took place in a particular order at specific times.
Not just financial information that can use blockchain – and the financial information most closely associated with blockchains comes from cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin – blockchains can be used simply to record events, medical records and other document management tasks, identity management, processing of transactions and proving the origin of the data. This means that it can be used for anything in which you want to keep your data completely safe from any kind of alteration. All that can happen is add more blocks to the chain.
But what does everything that has to do with mainframes come in? The obvious answer is that mainframes are faster, more reliable and already equipped with cryptographic features. This makes them much better than the x 86 devices. You may have come across the Hyperledger project. Their website (https://www.hyperledger.org/) explores: "Hyperledger is an open source collaborative effort created to advance blockchain cross-industry technologies, a global collaboration, hosted by The Linux Foundation, which includes leader in the financial, banking, IoT, supply chain, manufacturing and technology sectors ". Running Linux on IBM Z gives you the chance to try it.
The IBM site at the address https://www.ibm.com/it-infrastructure/z/capabilities/blockchain-transactions talks about Blockchain transactions on Z. It says: "Run your master books distributed on a server platform tightly integrated with your secure transactional data and applications. " He goes on to say: "Having the blockchain in a mainframe can greatly accelerate interactions with existing company data in CICS, IMS, TPF, Db2 and VSAM databases, with the ability to support 8000 virtual machines with up to 32TB of memory and 170-core dedicated processors, Z can perform the most difficult workloads quickly and safely. "
And this leaves only the cryptomining to watch. Cryptomining is a word composed of "cryptocurrency" and "mining". It is the name assigned to the process by which transactions are verified for a cryptocurrency and additions to a digital blockchain register. I imagine that the best known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, but there are others like Litecoin, Ethereum, Zcash, Das, Ripple, Monero and almost 4000 others. They are decentralized currencies. In March 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States established that Bitcoin will be treated as property for tax purposes. This means that it is subject to capital gains tax!
Each time a cryptocurrency transaction is carried out, a cryptocurrency miner is responsible for ensuring the authenticity of the information and then updating the blockchain with the transaction. In an oddly gamified way, the mining process involves competing with other cryptominer to solve complicated math problems with cryptographic hash functions associated with a block containing transaction data. Once the code is cracked, the cryptominer can authorize the transaction and earn a small amount of cryptocurrency. Usually, cryptominer have computers with specialized hardware.
What I am suggesting is that mainframes are the ideal home for blockchains. And these blockchains can be associated with all kinds of secure data – although most seem to be financial at the moment. I'm also wondering if a mainframe could be used for encryption purposes. I do not know anyone who did, but the power of the mainframe must give you an edge over other cryptominer!
I certainly predict that we will see more blockchain on the mainframe in the future.
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