Everyone has heard of Bitcoin and its progeny, e.g., Ethereum, etc. It is also well known that cryptocurrencies operate on a platform of blockchains. Blockchains utilize a distributed network wherein each node of the chain possesses the identical information of every other node. Therefore, if the information changes on only one node of the chain, the change is immediately suspect.
Blockchain is one example of a decentralized data structure management system. Each node maintains a ledger to record each transaction. Each transaction contains a block of relevant information. The transactions are linked together, forming a chain of transactions, when the transactions are relevant to an information block. Ergo, a blockchain is created. Note that the blockchain concept eliminates a middleman or information clearinghouse. The blockchain method replaces the traditional “hub & spoke” information structure. Blockchain has been dismissed by some as a fad. Others recognize it as a paradigm shift as a method of transacting business.
Part of the blockchain method is that all nodes (each maintaining a ledger of transactions) maintain transparency regarding the ledger contents. There must be consensus among the nodes (businesses) regarding a change in information before this block of information can be added to the chain of transactions.
The group dismissing blockchain as a fad appear to be being pushed aside. Many major commercial entities are racing to acquire patent protection for the business methods utilizing the blockchain model. Examples include Bank of America. Blockchain has been recognized as a valuable tool for administrating financial transactions and data.
Note that I don’t believe the transparency factor would apply to the underlying data, but rather the “packaging” of the block of data. A bundle of confidential data could be contained within the packaging or “closed & locked container”. The movement of the closed data container would be disclosed to all the nodes of the distributed network. This would be somewhat similar to the concept of “chain of custody”. As known, a chain of custody is utilized to ensure the authenticity of the information or object, i.e., there has been no tampering or substitution. Therefore the sharing of information regarding the confidential data would not jeopardize the confidentiality of the data. Access to the contents (confidential data) within the closed and locked container could be controlled by private and public keys.
Consequently, I believe the combination of the transparency of steps of handling and transmission with the private/public key system will provide even greater security and reliability in the accuracy and authenticity of the confidential data.
© David McEwing, 2018