As far I know, the Bitcoin blockchain is pretty much the only data structure that is both global and tamper-proof.

global - There is one global instance of the blockchain (up to forks ... which are then resolved). tamper-proof - If a block enters the blockchain, after 6+ confirmations this block can't feasibly be faked or altered.

A Bitcoin-powered database would be an API over the blockchain, that would expose a subset of the usual CRUD database operations. In fact, it would be an append-only data structure, because nothing can ever be really deleted from the blockchain - so only CREATE and READ operations will be implemented. Object Versioning will be used to emulate updates and deletions.

Have there been previous attempts to create such a database? I have seen the MerkleWeb proposal, but I haven't really understood it, so I'm not sure if it answers my question.

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    Doesn't namecoin count? It is basically a distributed key value store. – user418 Jun 17 '12 at 10:40
  • @BenReeves - Hmm, I'm not sure, for two reasons - 1. You have to keep paying to get your data stored, unlike Bitcoin (for good or bad). 2. Could you distinguish a record created five years ago and renewed yearly from a record created yesterday? If not, that's not good enough for this purpose. I believe there isn't a direct API based on Namecoin that offers this. Perhaps it would be easier to write such an API over Namecoin than over Bitcoin. – ripper234 Jun 17 '12 at 10:49
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    @ripper: Every namecoin op is stored in the (namecoin) blockchain just like bitcoin. so you do not have to pay to get your data stored but only to keep control over a name/value pair. Looking at the chain it is possible to determine all previous ops. – kermit Jun 24 '12 at 14:52

This is it - the CryptoSphere.

It uses some Bitcoin concepts, and might support paying for storage using Bitcoins. I believe that "merge-mining it" using the Bitcoin blockchain would be possible (it's too soon to tell, the design is preliminary).

  • Page 404's now. – Nick ODell Apr 18 '15 at 0:52

Namecoin is more or less what you're asking for.

  • Namecoin can be the basis of what I'm looking for ... but does it have high level DB-like API? – ripper234 Jul 13 '12 at 9:39
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    Hi GDR! One-line answers are usually not very helpful to other readers. Try to expand the answer to explain a little bit about Namecoin and why it is what OP is asking for. – D.H. - bitcoin.se Jul 13 '12 at 11:33

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