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Since January 2017, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has been working on developing a framework with which to assess blockchain technologies. The goal is to compare and evaluate the capabilities of blockchains concerning four critical criteria to generate a shared and unambiguous framework for ISO/TC 307, which focuses on information and communication technologies:
An impartial assessment of blockchain technologies will allow organizations to objectively compare different platforms against each other and find the right one for their needs. The ISO/TC 307 group is a joint initiative of the following organizations: the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and Information Technology Services & Solutions, an organization of IT and telecommunication service providers.
ISO and IEC operate a standards development system (SDS) with two levels. Level 1 is a framework that details the need for standards, while Level 2 outlines how to develop them. The goal of developing ISO/TC 307 was to create an SDS that details which methodologies organizations should use to assess the suitability of blockchain technologies to address the criteria established by ISO/IEC. And this is just one example of how blockchain has begun to conquer the world.
What is blockchain testing?
Blockchain testing is essential for ensuring that the blockchain meets quality requirements and validating that it conforms to the specifications. In addition, it ensures the health of the blockchain platform and economy.
Since multiple parties use blockchain, it cannot be easy to determine who has provided information about its functionality. Therefore, it is crucial to obtain information about a specific system before making its functionality available to other users and companies.
Different approaches can be applied when assessing whether a blockchain platform meets a specified requirement. There are three main categories of assessment methods: core functional tests (testing in code), system integration tests (testing in use), and external testing (testing outside the system). For testing, blockchain has three layers: the core (infrastructure), the application layer, and the interface layer.
Key components include:
ISO/TC 307 proposes three approaches to blockchain testing to best meet the needs of users and clients. An organization may also have its test outcomes and methodologies. For example, the ISO/IEC 17025 standard provides a framework for organizations involved in testing products, services, or systems. It is especially relevant when testing blockchain-based products or services.
Two important aspects of blockchain environment testing are system security and interoperability. Security is a shared responsibility, requiring the involvement of all relevant parties (e.g., developers, users, and testing teams) to ensure proper security measures are in place. The potential for unacceptable environmental changes and the lack of interoperability can lead to a blockchain’s failure.
One example is a security vulnerability discovered in the Ethereum platform in 2016. This vulnerability occurred because Ethereum Smart Contracts were implemented on the platform since they were not initially built with adequate protection to fend off attacks.
Benefits of blockchain testing
As multiple parties are involved in blockchain testing, it is essential to involve several experts. Experts should be highly competent, having experience in blockchain and the organization offering the product or service to be tested. Furthermore, these experts must understand users’ needs and requirements to ensure that blockchain applications meet user expectations.
Challenges of blockchain testing
Since blockchain testing involves two main processes – defining the test itself and determining the evaluation criteria for each of these tests- it can be a complex process. The complexity of this process can be one of the main challenges to successfully implementing blockchain testing. To ensure that blockchain meets a set of requirements, the testing process must be made clear and well-defined.
While several frameworks are available, they can be outdated and difficult to use, and there is a shortage of quality tools that can help automate the testing process. A lack of quality tools could delay or even prevent the implementation of blockchain technology in practical use. Testing a blockchain is also expensive, with each test costing an average amount of $5 million. Furthermore, testing costs are expected to rise as new technology requires a broader range of testing tools and protocols.
The impact of blockchain testing on companies
Blockchain-based assets are rapidly gaining increased trust and value. As a result, more organizations are becoming interested in using them. However, the technological foundation of these assets is still immature and needs to be improved and tested further before they can be implemented in production.
In addition, since blockchain testing will provide better results (and thus offer higher outcomes) to decision-makers, these organizations stand to gain market share faster than their competitors who do not test (i.e., provide poorer outcomes).