Blockchain for application innovation
Is there more than bitcoin to blockchain? The answer to that question is absolutely. Today’s blockchain is opening up a path towards the delivery of trusted online services.
To understand this statement, you need to see blockchain as more that its more famous bitcoin use case. As a fundamental digital tool, blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger for recording the history of transactions. If used in this fashion, it can enable transactional applications that can have embedded trust, accountability and transparency attributes. Instead of having a bitcoin blockchain that is reliant on the exchange of cryptocurrencies with anonymous users on a public network, a business blockchain can provide a permissioned network with known and verified identities. With this kind of transactional visibility, all activities within that network are observable and auditable by every network user. This end-to-end visibility, also known as shared ledgering, can also be linked to business rules and business logic that can drive and enforce trust, openness and integrity across that business network. An application built, managed and supported through such an environment can now hold a verifiable pedigree with security built right in and can:
- Prevent anyone – even root users and administrators – from taking control of a system;
- Deny illicit attempts to change data or applications within the network; and
- Block unauthorized data access by ensuring encryption keys can never be misappropriated.
From an industry vertical point of view, this approach can:
- Give financial institutions an ability to settle securities in minutes instead of days;
- Reduce manufacturer product recalls by sharing production logs with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and regulators; and
- Help businesses of all types more closely manage the flow of goods and related payments with greater speed and less risk.
Innovators within just about any industry can build, run and manage their own business blockchain network. And even if the organization isn’t quite ready to do the heavy lifting, it can consume a blockchain service from companies like IBM.
Ready-made frameworks as also available from the Hyperledger Project, an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. Available hyperledger business frameworks include:
Sawtooth – a modular platform for building, deploying, and running distributed ledgers. It includes a consensus algorithm which targets large distributed validator populations with minimal resource consumption.
Iroha – a business blockchain framework designed for incorporation into infrastructural projects that require distributed ledger technology.
Fabric – a foundation for developing applications or solutions with a modular architecture that allows components, such as consensus and membership services, to be plug-and-play.
Burrow – a permissionable smart contract machine that provides a modular blockchain client with a permissioned smart contract interpreter built in part to the specification of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
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