“Bad Code Has Lost $500 Million of Cryptocurrency in Under a Year,” reads a headline on Bitcoin.com. The story goes on to report that while there are many reasons why cryptocurrency can “disappear,” with faulty code being one of the biggest.
With so many processes and entire industries, including finance, healthcare, and others, relying on blockchain, quality assurance (QA) is paramount. No longer just applied to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, companies are using blockchain for operations that require security and efficiency. Because blockchain requires expert knowledge and understanding to detect bugs and bad code, many companies rely on QA outsourcing to prevent scenarios like the one above.
What is blockchain?
The blockchain is a distributed ledger consisting of chains of linked blocks, each of which stores data or transactions, shared among a decentralized network, giving control to no one central figure. Data within each block is permanent and unalterable. These qualities are meant to make transactions secure and transparent. Each new block that is added contributes to a digital ledger.
Why does blockchain require QA services?
Blockchain is an important system with complex features. Development should not be the final step. Rigorous testing is critical. Why? Consider these factors:
– 1. It has numerous applications
Blockchain has industry-transforming capabilities, and many businesses are cashing in on its value. These industries are high stakes, meaning that QA outsourcing or in-house QA services are essential for ensuring security, functionality, and more.
Take finance, for example. Blockchain is being applied to numerous areas of the industry, including payments, loans, identity verification, trusts, transfers, and many more. A software QA tester plays a vital role in identifying blockchain bugs — and ultimately protecting people’s money and identities. After all, a considerable amount of data is stored in each block, and while the idea is that the information is anonymous, if something goes awry, this system could quickly be derailed.
Blockchain has applications across numerous other industries as well, including the government, healthcare, insurance, real estate, and more. In the future, it may even be used as an identification tool, replacing birth certificates, passports, driver’s licenses, marriage licenses, social security cards, and other forms of ID.
– 2. Security is essential
Blockchain is anonymous, but anyone can view transactions on the public ledger. This is a bit confusing, because how can transactions be simultaneously anonymous and public? That’s because users are assigned a unique address, which is not tied to any personal information about them.
Of course, this system is not foolproof. Security is crucial to blockchain, and QA software testing services can ensure that sensitive information is not susceptible to cyberattacks and other threats.
A software QA tester will assess the overall strength of the system, as well as elements like authorization and authentication features, vulnerability to attacks, confidentiality, accessibility, and more.
– 3. It depends on speed
In November 2017, Ethereum’s blockchain network came to a grinding halt because of the craze over CryptoKitties, a game in which players purchase, collect, and breed digital cats. Meant to make blockchain more “accessible” to the lay user, according to BBC News, it actually slowed all operations on the network, causing tens of thousands of transactions to stand in queue.
This mishap highlights another critical piece of the blockchain puzzle a software QA company must test: speed. Blockchain must work quickly in order to work at all. In other words, the transfer of information between accounts must occur seamlessly.
There are many factors that impact the speed of transactions, such as block size, traffic, congestion, and more. A dedicated software QA tester is well-versed in the challenges associated with blockchain and how to assess the quickness with which these transactions take place.
– 4. It needs to be functional
QA software testing services will employ a range of blockchain testing techniques. Functional testing is one crucial type because it assesses the effectiveness and, well, functionality. It will look at components such as block and chain size and others to determine whether important features such as smart contracts — which facilitate agreements between parties without an intermediary — are viable.
The software QA tester will also perform other types of testing: performance, which includes speed, application programming interface (API), node, integration, and others. However, functionality is key, because, without it, the blockchain simply won’t work.
Blockchain technology has taken on a life of its own. We’ve already seen the way it has facilitated cryptocurrency and overhauled the way many people make transactions on a daily basis. Organizations across many different sectors are embracing blockchain as well and relying on it to conduct business safely and securely.
As blockchain becomes more ubiquitous, organizations need to put their testing in the hands of experts. Often, this means QA outsourcing. Dedicated QA services can assess aspects of the blockchain such as security, speed, functionality, and many others. While in-house testers may be capable, software testing outsourcing gives you a fresh perspective and brings extensive knowledge, expertise, and experience to your project.
Blockchain technology will continue to evolve and be used more widely across different sectors. As this happens, increasingly, businesses will need to rely on experts who truly understand blockchain. QA testing services, in turn, will need to stay informed and embrace new techniques and ideas as they emerge.