Sky Matthews, CTO, Watson IoT, IBM, presented to a full house at the IoT World Forum, 2017, London, speaking about blockchain – arguably one of the hottest technologies around today, especially in IoT. Matthews discussed blockchain fundamentals and provided example customer experiences to illustrate how blockchain is being used to transform business networks in a wide array of industry settings.
What blockchain is not
The first point Matthews makes is that blockchain is not a silver bullet. It’s not magically going to solve all the issues facing us today – like security, for example. Blockchain is not going to absolve a manufacturing organization from the responsibility of having to secure its devices; it’s not going to prevent a user from creating lousy passwords; or, protect us from things such as the latest round of hacking with consumer cameras creating ghosts that caused DDoS attacks.
What blockchain can do, if a device gets compromised, is ensure that compromised device cannot disrupt or create false records inside a business process. In this way, even if the device is compromised, we can have confidence that once a business process is based on blockchain, a security infraction will not alter that business process – because it’s private.
What blockchain is
Blockchain technology comprises four main blocks that can lead to increased efficiency and cost reduction across the business network. The features that make blockchain trusted for business include:
- Consensus, because all parties must agree to network verified transactions.
- Immutability, because anything written on the ledger cannot be altered.
- Provenance, because there are records of where each asset has been.
- Privacy, because permissions and identity ensure appropriate visibility of transactions.