Difference Between Blockchain and Linked List

Blockchain and Linked List are two types of data structures that have variegated uses such as coding, creating databases, creating servers, and most recently, cryptographic currency and non-fungible tokens.


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These data structures are rows of data that have a connection with the previous and the next data.

Blockchain vs Linked List

The difference between Blockchain and Linked List is that Blockchain is a more complicated way of arranging data and is not linear. It is decentralized and uses hashing to make all data entries unique. On the other hand, a Linked list arranges data linearly and is not decentralized. It uses pointers to differentiate all data.

Blockchain vs Linked List

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Blockchain is a digital method of saving data that is then rendered unchangeable and uneditable. It stores data entries chronologically and each separate entry carries the address of the previous entry, forming a chain.

It data entry is called a block. The blocks use cryptography so they cannot be decoded without special technology and access.

A Linked List is a type of data structure used in programming that stores chains of data linearly and it uses pointers to store the location of all independent elements that have a pointer linking them to the next element.

The last node is linked to a terminator block that has no pointer, creating the end of the list.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBlockchainLinked List
FormationEvery block in a blockchain contains a hash address for the previous block.A linked list has a pointer carrying the address of the next element in the list.
ComplexityIt is a very complex data structure that has Merkle roots to store transaction data.It is the simplest data structure storing only integer values.
Type of BondThe bond between blocks is permanent and cannot be broken or changed.A linked list is easily editable and elements can be edited, added, and deleted.
NatureIt is by rule, decentralized, and chronological in nature.It is not decentralized and may or may not be chronological.
DataInformation once entered into a block is transformed using cryptography to protect it from leaking.Data is stored in its simple form as it was entered into the elements.

What is Blockchain?

A blockchain is a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) meaning it can store records of transactions that are not editable any further. It is always online as it is distributed among a vast network of computers in the world that are called nodes.

Every transaction that is entered into the blockchain is saved using a unique hash and Merkle root and cannot be tampered with, and each block contains the hash of the previous block, creating a chain.

Transactions are stored in chronological order, and previous blocks are permanent and uneditable.

Different blocks have different capacities regarding the amount of data they can store and once they are full with data, they are closed and automatically get linked to the previous block.

Each block contains data or transactions, a hash code, and a timestamp with which it can be identified.

A blockchain is a reliable store of data as it is decentralized and chronological, making any malicious changes at any single or few nodes easily detectable since their timestamps and hash codes will change while the other nodes’ will not.

Blockchain has a variety of uses other than recording transactions as well, at it can give a unique and identifiable print on any required data stored in it.

What is Linked List?

A linked list is a data structure in computer programming and design which is defined by its type of storage.

In a linked list, the elements or nodes are not sequenced according to their locations in the computer’s memory. Instead, each element or node contains a pointer that points to the next element in the linked list.

Linked Lists were developed first in 1955 as a means to be implemented in artificial intelligence and machine learning. It was also used to develop an AI-based chess application.

There are many different types of linked lists that have been developed after that. These include a circular linked list, in which the last node has a pointer towards the first node, making a circle.

Other types include multiple linked lists, double linked lists, and Empty lists which all have different applications.

Memory management and stack development are two arenas where linked lists are very useful.

In the development of operating systems, they are very crucial in memory management as the data in different nodes of the linked list can be changed without affecting the other data entries in other nodes.

Linked Lists have been vastly taken over by arrays but because of advantages such as lesser size and easier comprehensibility, they render themselves better to some niche applications.

Main Differences Between Blockchain and Linked List

  1. Blockchain is immutable and uneditable whereas Linked List is mutable and editable.
  2. Blockchain is highly complex and each block contains hash codes that are a mix of alphabets and numbers whereas Linked Lists contain simple pointers only.
  3. Blockchain is a decentralized system that exists across several hundred computers whereas Linked Lists are very local.
  4. Blockchains can be used for DLT systems for storing transactions and other important valuables whereas Linked Lists store simple data like integers and characters.
  5. Blockchain is a chronological structure whereas Linked Lists are not, every new entry on a blockchain is timestamped permanently whereas Linked lists are not.
Difference Between Blockchain and Linked List
  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12599-017-0467-3
  2. https://courses.cs.vt.edu/cs2606/Fall07/Notes/Supplemental/LinkedListBasics.pdf
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