The Implications of Access Control on Nerves Blockchain

Nerves Foundation
Nov 16, 2018 · 5 min read

Blockchain technology is hailed as one of the most revolutionary inventions since the discovery of the Internet, and this is for good reasons. Its decentralization methodology means data recorded into the blockchain remain there, immutable and unchangeable, making them immune to manipulation.

In addition, its consensus-based algorithm and specificity ensures that only valid transactions are written into the chain, without the need for a middleman. This also implies that records are public domain, viewable by anyone and making them less prone to shady “behind closed doors” manipulation.

Nature of the Blockchain

The transparency of the blockchain is largely celebrated. This unprecedented transparency, however, brings another problem into the table: the issue of privacy. Blockchains publish all transaction data in the network, publicly. Although the individuals involved in the transactions are anonymous, it still makes some people nervous that all that data is just out there.

Think of a normal bank. A bank stores all its customers’ transaction data in a master ledger, usually stored in a central database. For the most part, the data contained herein is hidden from public eyes, and for good reason, as this is sensitive data.

A blockchain bank, on the other hand, will most likely have copies of the master ledger distributed to hundreds, even thousands of computers in the network. Whenever a valid transaction is to be added, each node in the network updates its own copy of the ledger. It is this mechanism that solves the problem of trust.

Access Control Measures

On the blockchain data can be said to be in the public domain. Of course, with all that data out in the open, some sort of access control to protect one’s privacy should be in place. Blockchains employ this in several ways.

First is anonymity. It is the basic way blockchains maintain privacy of its users. Bitcoin transactions, for example, don’t list the names of individual users the way a bank would do it. It instead lists the ID that points to that user’s digital wallet. Wallets are just that — a digital abstraction that “contains” a user’s digital coins (it doesn’t contain digital coins since they don’t technically exist — it contains lists of transaction data)

Blockchain systems differ but, they allow secure and encrypted communication and exchange of data online, allowing transactions to occur without the need for the buyer and seller to reveal their personal data.

Another way is through encryption. This is basically a way of scrambling the data so that no one can swoop in and read it while the data is in transit. Encrypting data and messages has been a feature of human existence and is used abundantly in a variety of situations.

The last way to consider access control is permissioning. This refers to giving access permissions or right to the data only to certain individuals, depending on their credentials. Certain parts of the master ledger, for instance, can only be viewed by the CFO, for instance. Or some data or fields may be hidden from anyone without the proper permission to view it. Sensitive data can also be protected by firewalls, as some companies routinely do, and we might consider applying this into blockchain networks for the time being.

As we enter the next generation of blockchains, Blockchain 4.0, the issues of better privacy and data access control is seriously being considered. At the forefront of this is the Nerves blockchain network.

The Nerves blockchain is a network that aims to connect different blockchain networks with each other. This allows a user to potentially benefit from the different purposes of each, creating a truly valuable ecosystem. It utilizes a Proof of Linkage algorithm, built to ensure reliability, stability and performance speed.

The Nerves network by nature works on the principles of self-privacy. It allows intercommunication of the different blockchains in its network but at the same time allows them a wide degree of freedom to operate in process called Task Specialization. It allows each chain to have its own Distinct Identity, a “mind your own business” approach that allows each chain to have its own distinct purpose. This is like blockchains hosting decentralized apps (or “D-Apps”), but Nerves offer far more access control, privacy, communication and performance.

Nerves employ a robust data privacy and access control mechanism. Users can control the privacy of their data with utmost accuracy, and companies can’t directly access or exploit their personal information without their express permission. This is a far cry from the current landscape, where our personal data is routinely sold off by businesses to advertisers and marketers.

Nerves authorization mechanism is such that allows for a reward system for users, where users will be incentivized in exchange for making their data public. Privacy on the Nerves network is very important because it links many different blockchains together, so the potential for unauthorized access is there. Having users be able to control who sees their data is a crucial element for the smooth functioning of the Nerves network.

Conclusion

In the quest for the wider adoption of blockchain technology, different projects have tackled the various issues raised that hinder such a goal. Scalability of the network to fit large organizations is one, as well as matching performance levels of the current database systems most corporations adopt. Better data security is another, with various security protocols and layers being developed to address it. At the forefront of this, arguably is access control, the control of one’s data and ultimately, privacy.

The Nerves blockchain ensures that these problems are to be resolved. Being at the forefront of the Blockchain 4.0 revolution, it does so with self-privacy in mind, on top of the flexibility and dynamism that interconnected blockchains provide. With such an ecosystem, failing to enact access control and protect each individual chain’s and user’s data would lead to total chaos and catastrophe. With a smart team behind Nerves, it has put this goal one of its top priorities. With that at the helm, Nerves is poised to create the Holy Grail of a connected, blockchain enabled society.

The Future is here with the Nerves Blockchain revolution.

Nerves Foundation

Neuronet of Things

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