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Jeremy Ikwuje for Forward School Africa

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What is Single Point of Failure?

If you are intending to start a career in blockchain/web3, one important concept to understand is the Single Point of Failure, also known as SPOF.

Key Takeaways

  • A single point of failure is any part of a system that, if it fails, will stop the entire system from working.
  • The best way to avoid this is to reject depending on a single point entirely and has many distributed points.
  • Bitcoin blockchain is a decentralized network where transactions are stored and distributed across multiple nodes(servers). If a single node fails, the network does not go down and transactions won't be lost.

Single Point of Failure

A single point of failure is any part of a system that, if it fails, will stop the entire system from working.

For example a business owner needs $2500 per month to keep her business running. But she only got one client that pay her $2500 per month for her service. If that client decide to stop doing business with her, the business dies.

Another example is a football team that depends on only one star player to win matches; If that players gets an injury, the team stop winning.

Solutions

Two types of solutions to the Single Point of Failure:

The first is to minimize the chance of the single point failing. For you the business owner, this means, you make sure the client sign a lifetime contract with you. For the football team, they ensure the star player is always fit.

The second rejects depending on a single point entirely and has many distributed points. For the business owner, this means, she has many clients that pay her $2500 per month, so if one decides not to pay her any particular month, her business keeps going.

A decentralized network

The second solution is the optimal solution. Since no matter what happen to any single client, the business keep running smoothly. The business is never going to depend or rely on any single client.

This is the idea of the Bitcoin blockchain - a decentralized and trustless network where transaction data are stored and distributed across multiple nodes(servers). If a single node fails, the network does not go down and original data won't be lost.

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