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How can the Blockchain help us?
Oriol Val Gangonells // 04 October 2018
Every time there is more talk about the new technology that has to revolutionize the market. We are talking about Blockchain, a disruptive idea that has gained a lot of force with the rise of cryptocurrencies. From R3CyberSecurity, an article on this topic has already been published, where it explains its operation and some examples: https://www.r3cybersecurity.com/blockchain-y-la-desapacion-de-los-intermediarios/.
In this article, however, we will define its most important properties, explain some of the problems it solves and expose the biggest problem it has today.
What is Blockchain and what are its properties?
Blockchain is the network that supports cryptocurrencies in general. This network has the property of being decentralized, that is to say, that nobody or anything controls the network more than any other, it is a network of all of them in equal parts. It also presents the immutability, which means that once a program is on the network, no one can modify it. Being a public network, the information in it is open to anyone who wants to see it. This allows traceability, so you can know where this information has gone. In addition, due to its construction in the form of cryptographically encrypted blocks, it greatly increases its security, making it very complicated to break.
All these properties can be used to solve important current problems. Next, we expose some examples and how Blockchain solves them.
What problems do we suffer today and how Blockchain can solve them?
Increasingly, we lose control of the applications we use and we learn less about where our data goes, or if there are intermediaries that misuse them, or if someone actually modifies a process that they sell us as unalterable.
All these problems are solved, a priori, with blockchain. Next, we will detail a list of possible problems and how Blockchain can solve it:
Manipulation in processes that require neutrality
This is the case of, for example, the recount in an election. Who assures you that this count has not been tampered with? With the property of immutability, since nobody can control what is already in a blockchain network, this count could be done automatically in real time and without manipulation.
Right now, the bank owns your money, facebook owns your data, etc. With Blockchain’s ownership of decentralization, nobody would own your data. They would be in the same network and they would belong to you and only you. It must be said that there are some privacy problems, which will be discussed in the last section of this document. Even so, solving this problem of privacy, the adoption of Blockchain would suppose a great advance for the control of the own data.
Little privacy because there are institutions or companies that own our
Corruption in any institution or public body.
This case is current in any government in the world. If we look at the traceability property, we could track any suspicious behavior and confirm that a transaction is valid. This way we avoid irregular financing with illegal income, always maintaining the anonymity and privacy of the transaction.
Challenges in Blockchain
After seeing all the advantages of the Blockchain technology, we need to comment on the biggest challenge that remains to be solved before there is a solution to any real problem based on blockchain: the privacy of a transaction.
Due to the traceability that blockchain allows, it forces that everything that is introduced in it must be public. This is a problem seen from the point of privacy, since the information of a transaction to your bank or the information about what you have voted should not be made public. To solve this problem, there are theoretical mathematical solutions, which are based on the Snarks, but there is still nothing implemented that can be carried out.
In later articles, we will assess this next challenge that the blockchain has, its solutions to the problem. We will try to give a more global vision about this revolutionary technology, which R3CyberSecurity believes can be accommodated in most companies in the near future.
Oriol Val | Consultor de ciberseguridad en R3 CyberSecurity
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