Blockchain is widely hailed as one of the next breakthrough technologies, a technology that is poised to change the world of commerce within the next ten years. For sure, it offers great opportunities to optimize transactions and processes, and to cut losses caused by inefficiencies and fraud. But trying to see through the hype, many companies are wondering how they may start exploring this technology and how their business logic is best translated into this new technology. “Blockchain is a method of working and a toolbox, not a ready-to-use product,” explain Wouter Joosen and Bart Preneel, directors and security gurus at imec. “So it is key to explore - and get a good grip on - the many options of the technology, establish ground rules for privacy and security, and examine possible legal implications.”
Secure, shared record keeping
Since the beginning of commerce, people have always recorded transactions and agreements. And when more parties got involved and values increased, rules were agreed and trusted institutions started keeping records. A simple money transfer e.g. between your company and another one will involve actions and information exchanges by two banks and probably also an interbanking institution. And each of these institutions has to keep records, build an extensive security infrastructure, and guarantee fast and reliable communication.
Wouter Joosen: “The globalization of manufacturing and trade has accelerated this need for record keeping. This has spawned a multitude of disparate ledgers and institutions that have to prevent errors, fraud, and misinterpretation. Today, each company partakes in a number of networks and logistic chains and is frantically trying to keep its records correct and updated. And even as an individual, you may be at a loss as to how to keep your digital identity updated: your passwords, living address, work history records, and so on.”