Ever since bitcoin ended 2017 with a value of more than $14,000, the world has been fixated and awash with buzz on the future of the cryptocurrency and how its adoption could revolutionise the financial world before going mainstream.
While there have been dividing opinions from skeptics who believe bitcoin to be a bubble to ardent defenders who feel the cryptocurrency might be the future of finance, a closer look should be taken at the underlying structure that bitcoin is built on — the blockchain technology.
Real Technology Used To Solve Business Challenges
At the core of blockchain technology is the ability to store, record and retrieve data and information in a way that is decentralised and distributed allowing for maximum security and privacy. It is this core feature that makes blockchain attractive in a wide variety of real-world commercial applications.
Trading and logistics companies are beginning to adopt blockchain solutions to streamline their transaction documentation that cuts down the chances of human error and delay while preservingsecurity — best off it cuts away the need for middle-men.
Heard Of The Internet Of Things (IoT)?
Imagine owning a coffee machine that will automatically re-order your favourite coffee blend when you run out or an oven that begins cooking dinner the moment you park your car in the drive-way.
In the coming age of IoT, blockchain technology helps to protect your ownership of your information and code for your smart appliances giving the user security over their own data.
With this move to decentralisation, how will blockchain shape the future of the internet and affect everyday users like you and me?
Perhaps we need to look no further than the way we store our information and data — cloud storage.
Traditional Cloud Storage Has To Evolve
While the internet is on the move to usher in a new age of decentralisation, it is quite surprising that one of its most important elements — cloud storage is still deeply entrenched in a total centralisation model.
Most of us today no longer store a huge amount of data into physical hard drives but store it online in the cloud. Rather than hosting our own servers, we rely on external providers or should I say, a few market players to store our information.
From retail users to small enterprises and big brands, data and information and increasingly stored in public clouds in order to utilise the storage infrastructure of market players such as Dropbox, OneDrive to Amazon Web Services.
Through this sharing of resources, the end customer could enjoy lower storage cost and convenience when it comes to storing their information in the cloud than doing it themselves. While the benefits of shared cloud storage are clear as day, it does leave a big gaping hole when it comes to the matter of security — namely data breaches.
With the world suddenly much more aware of the value of data privacy and security since the advent of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal.
How Safe Is Your Data In The Cloud?
While it definitely is in the best interest of storage providers to securely guard their customers’ data and information, breaches do happen and certain notable ones feature staggering numbers and potentially devastating consequences for the leaked customer information.
Dropbox Was Breached
In 2012, hackers managed to gain access to more than 68 million user accounts that include email addresses and passwords which allegedly made its way to the dark web waiting to be sold — ironically for bitcoins.
Verizon Lost Customer Information
When Verizon partnered with Nice Systems to handle customer service calls, little did they know the call logs were being stored in an unprotected Amazon S3 storage server. This led to more than 6 million private customer service call records being accessed.
Uber Lost Data Too, A Lot Of Data
More than 57 million Uber users and drivers had their data exposed when hackers gained access to Github, a collaboration service for software engineers and coders.
Even Imgur Was Not Spared
An online image-sharing community, Imgur was breached to the tune of 1.7 million users who had their email addresses and password stolen.
Just these 4 examples shows the security limitations of companies that store their data with third parties (and even within the third parties themselves). While centralised storage in the cloud might be attractive and just a click away, there has to be a better way where cost is still minimised and data security maximised.
It’s Time To Decentralise Storage — Through Blockchain
How does blockchain come into play?
When you use blockchain to store your data, you are distributing the data across a network of nodes, a similar mechanism of the distributed ledger characteristic of the technology.
When hackers or data breachers seek to steal information, they seek out databases that are highly centralised. While there might be multiple layers of firewalls and security protocols guarding these data hubs, a power outage itself could open a back door or lower certain defences — allowing hackers a successful breach.
Because of its distributed nature to nodes regionally & globally, any attack or outage to a single point will have little effect to the data store there due to encryption protocols layered onto the information.
Distributing information this way allows for various plays on the storage industry including monetising excess storage of users and the ability to tap into the world’s storage at even cheaper rates with better uptime.
With blockchain being embraced as a viable solution for various business challenges in the world, it will only be a matter of time before a new revolution will happen in the data storage space for both retail customers and enterprises seeking an efficient storage solution that offers both competitive pricing bundled with maximum security and unrivalled privacy.