It’s interesting to see that new research has shown there is an increasing interest in and adoption of blockchain technology.
A recently released study by Juniper Research has put the total value of venture capital investment into blockchain technologies and Bitcoin companies in the first six months of this year at $290 million, with more than 30 startups receiving funding in that time.
While, the report highlights the “increasing diversification of nascent blockchain deployments”, with the range of applications spanning everything from identity to asset management, it makes no mention of Ethereum.
This currently seems to offer the most promising opportunity for the future of blockchain technologies, not least because it supports smart contracts and allows developers to build much more sophisticated applications.
Currently, the banking sector has been particularly proactive in the opportunities for blockchain technologies, with several banks already adopting the Ripple blockchain protocol and others piloting competing solutions.
It’s not really any surprise that the banks are leading the way here. When harnessed to its full potential, it will bring levels of data authenticity, privacy and control to data protection that we have not seen before and at costs that are dramatically lower than traditional systems.
While this is of particular interest to financial institutions, we also expect to see growth in the take up of blockchain technology in a range of other sectors, fuelled by the rapid growth of digital assets across the business arena.
The originality and ownership of today’s digital objects is normally difficult to track because they are often represented by a digital certificate and depend on a centralised ‘authority’ service.
This approach can expose scalability and availability limitations, increased cost and risk of security and privacy breaches.
One of the most important features of blockchain technology is its immutability. It can be used to “notarize” any kind of information, offering a complete and verifiable record of each and every transaction ever made in the system.
This provides global authenticity and security for data and transactions of any kind, reducing the cost and complexity of centralised systems, while making data ‘tamper-proof’.
This plays extremely efficiently in cases where several entities are involved in the exchange of data – entities there are not necessarily separate organisations, they can also be separate departments within a large company.
Examples of data that could be protected from tampering using blockchain include; property and medical records, chain-of-evidence for court documents, police video or security camera footage, long-term archiving that could be subject to IT audits, and ‘consortium’ data storage, where multiple individuals or entities can securely store and exchange massive amounts of data and information.
In terms of real business applications, an obvious example is protection against insider mistakes or attacks, by preventing accidental and malicious tampering or alteration of data from going unnoticed.
It can also help companies ensure regulatory transparency.
Blockchain technology can provide an independent and granular audit trail for all stored data. This means that regulators get independent and indisputable proof that any stored data has not been modified.
For all its apparent complexity and ambiguity, blockchain is currently the most advanced tool for solving many global problems of safety, authenticity, privacy, accessibility and security of artifacts and transactions.
It is a young technology, still in the early stages of evolution and adoption. But as it keeps gaining momentum and new ways it can be used to solve key problems are uncovered, its applications and business benefits will multiply.
Those organisations forward-thinking and brave enough to be early adopters will reap the rewards.
Sourced by Victor Lysenko is VP of Blockchain at Acronis