Blockchain Applications Promises a New Approach to Data Integrity
Bitcoin 2.0 fuels the development of technologies and services. The Blockchain applications mechanism that secure the Bitcoin network carry many promises for data protection.
In search of a radical way to strengthen the three classic triad points of security — confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity? In particular, two concepts concealed in the Bitcoin phenomenon carry much greater importance than this currency.
The decentralized transaction database, the blockchain, and the idea of a “programmable money” which consists more in the addition of a scriptable API to extend the structure of the blockchain applications that it is no money.
The direction that this scripting capability is going to take is not yet clear. The Ethereum start-up is well advanced in the development of its own programming language, Ethereum Script, as well as a platform enabling developers to create decentralized applications based on contracting without intermediaries.
Another start-up, called Counterparty, offers peer-to- peer financial tools specifically related to Bitcoin. But as far as the Bitcoin blockchain is concerned, it is already very clear that security has the potential to win a lot.
A public history of transactions
Those familiar with Bitcoin are familiar with the idea of Bitcoin miners who use significant computational power to solve difficult mathematical problems in order to secure and verify transactions.
A new block is written every ten minutes, extending the chronological blockchain, which is shared between nodes, on a peer-to- peer network using the Bitcoin protocol.
The blockchain is a series of data records — time-stamped transactions — stored in a database. The hash of each block (starting with the original block) is used to create a link with the following block: there is thus only one block downstream block path — the famous chain. Each new block is transmitted in near real-time on the Internet. Almost every minor (or node) maintains a copy of the transaction log.
When a Bitcoin transaction occurs, the hash of the previous transaction and the new owner's public key are digitally signed with the previous owner’s private encryption key. Thus, to transfer a bitcoin (ie, buy something), it is necessary to have a private key. No key, no ownership.
Once registered in the Blockchain, it cannot be modified without regenerating the previous blocks. In other words, data can be added to the transaction database, but it cannot be removed. This prevents duplication and ensures the orientation of links in the chain.
That's where the security angle is. If a company stored its account book in the Bitcoin blockchain, a malicious employee of compatibility could not alter the accounts without being detected. The potential impact on the prevention of fraud is considerable.And if it may seem strange to store this kind of transactions in the Bitcoin blockchain, you can store just about any type of data. Some have occasionally done so, although admitting to having wanted to “play” with the system.
Writing in the blockchain is certainly not free. This can even be costly if one thinks of storing megabytes of data. But the idea of a decentralized database whose records are “secure” by 10,000 computers can be extended to other blockchains. The Factom start-up works on this track.
Factom is in its early stages but plans to allow its customers to write in a dedicated blockchain applications more suited to the data. And link each of these entries to the Bitcoin blockchain by storing a hash of each new Factom in a Bitcoin block added to the string. This hash can be used to check the moment of Factom transactions and ensure that the Factom block has not been tampered with.
Other start-ups are interested in the subject. Storj is testing a distributed cloud storage service based on Blockchain technology. MetaDisk is a file synchronization application built on Storj’s blockchain infrastructure. BlockCypher is also developing a cloud-based blockchain platform with APIs that simplify the construction of applications based on its technology.
Originally published at www.bigdataguys.com on October 16, 2017.