Published by: Albert Gibosse
Blockchain’s distributed and decentralized ledger enables data integrity and
authenticity characteristics that guarantees trust among untrusted parties as they conduct digital transactions, which opens up a world of possibilities.
Blockchain’s technology’s potential is immense with a predicted business value-add to grow to more than $176 billion by 2025, exceeding $3.1 trillion by 2030, which most likely will be deived from increased sales, new sales opportunities, decreased input costs, and reduced indirect costs.
Blockchain’s ability to fundamentally reshape the nature of financial transactions and services will bring tremendous benefits to a broad range of industries, namely in the areas of identity and data integrity.
Transparent Yet Secure
Blockchain is transparent and inherently guarantees the integrity of data. Blockchains’ transaction records (aka blocks) are resistant to tampering as each block is cryptographically tied to the previous block’s information, a key design characteristic that safeguards the data and audit trail, preventing data tempering once it’s in the blockchain.
This assurance is welcome relief in today’s climate of frequent security breaches that compromise personal information and growing mistrust in the authenticity of news, information, and documentation.
However, although blockchain can guarantee data authenticity and integrity, it should be complemented with comprehensive network security. For further security, blockchain must be run over secure communications networks, reliable infrastructure, and end-to-end cloud orchestration. Breaches can only occur if private keys for accessing the blockchain are compromised or stolen, as was the case in the 2011 attack on the Mt. Gox BitCoin exchange that resulted in an estimated $450 million loss.
Enabling Consensus-Based Control
Blockchain technology practically reinvents the notion of contracts and facilitates peer-to-peer interaction, strengthening the foundation of a gig economy.
Blockchain’s consensus mechanisms serve as a substitute for centralized command and control, which eliminates the need for intermediary to control the transactions, thereby, empowering trust among parties and decreases transaction costs by reducing duplication, reconciliation, and record-keeping tasks.
Blockchain enables everyone in an ecosystem to see and update, which removes many inefficiencies and complexities. Blockchain’s single, distributed database benefits streamline the verification process while solving access.
Examples of two industries benefiting from blockchain’s data identity and integrity features
Supply Chains: origin verification and authenticity at every step of the way through the supply chain to assure legitimacy. Smart contracts, which consist of code that can reside within a blockchain, set rules about transactions and automate interactions among parties.
Blockchain smart contracts enable verification and authentication of parts as they move through the supply chain. Parts can be laser-etched with a tracking number at the manufacturing plant as well as in intermediate fabrication stages, then scanned and made part of the first entries in a blockchain, while also confirming receipt and automate payment between vendors towards providing a full accounting.
Internet of Things: Blockchain makes forming contracts over numerous low-value transactions economically viable and also prevent existing management systems from being overwhelmed.
Blockchain smart contracts enable verification and authentication of parts a
Protect devices against fraud and unauthorized communications, by adding value to improve IoT security that can be achieved by enabling authentication and authorization of IoT endpoint identity to keep hackers out. Although blockchains make identity and history transparent and verifiable, without the private keys and verification from the blockchain networks, hackers won’t be able to compromise the massive numbers of IoT devices to launch DDoS attacks.
B2B Blockchains and Future Dependencies
Willingness of individuals and companies in an ecosystem to collaborate will ensure B2B blockchains success. Thus, the planning of a blockchain requires foresight – looking beyond the business case for the technology but rather focus on the implications that any powerful, yet threatened, incumbents that might resist change might have.
One important note: Blockchain expands the attack surface and exposes vulnerabilities that haven’t been considered yet. And as more applications, the application layer with blockchain presents a new type of vulnerability that hackers could exploit. Thus, we must:
- resolve length of time it takes to fix a bug that poses a security risk in a blockchain application once it’s found? Granted it takes time and consensus for any change.
- Shift toward a more holistic network security strategy where all elements of the network are involved in threat intelligence and remediation.
Universal and Powerful Potential
- Financial institutions can settle securities in minutes instead of days.
- Manufacturers can reduce product recalls by sharing production logs with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and regulators.
- Mobile network operators can combat roaming fraud through call records that trigger blockchain smart contracts implemented between host and visitor mobile networks.
- Businesses of all types can more closely manage the flow of goods and related payments, and do so with greater speed and less risk.
That said, get prepared by educating yourself on blockchain’s intricacies, and also audit your current business process and scan the current obstacles that hold it back to check whether blockchain can solve a/all problem(s) in a way(s) where other, more traditional solutions might have failed. Experimentation and trials to demonstrate results are valuable steps.
As networks and data continue to be under constant attacks, that undermines our faith in technology as well as in privacy and authenticity. Thus, the solution is to combine secure networks with blockchain to restore trust and ensure a new era of interactions and empowerment.