Global firms embracing blockchain to enhance security & efficiency

14 May 2018

| Author: Jay Jay

While blockchain has been termed as the next-generation technology that would vastly enhance the security of enterprise data, improve efficiency, and ensure that hackers won’t be able to intercept communications, the concept has received a major shot in the arm with global giants such as Kodac, De Beers and HSBC launching their own blockchain-based systems either to maximise efficiency or security.

Why is blockchain important?

Last year, Joe Pinder, Director of Product Strategy, CTO office, Gemalto, told TEISS that the idea behind blockchain was to ensure that people could transact with others they didn’t know or trust in a secure way without worrying about losing their data or seeing their businesses destroyed.

“In the past, trusted intermediaries, security certificates etc were used but those solutions have not been found to be water-tight. BlockChain answers questions differently and rather than going to a single authority, it looks at the consensus; it looks at the collective picture of what the world is,” he said.

“The main deliverables from deploying blockchain can be condensed to some specific functions. Integrity and distribution potential are some of the main factors. Every box in the chain is signed and available across the entire network so information is not just available but also believable.

“By also bringing in a high level of accountability and audit-ability- so it is known who is signing the blocks (audit) and based on the way it works, it is solving 4 of 5 cybersecurity problems! In fact, its credentials are so strong that it can be used to apply and fix DDoS attacks!” he added.

Global firms embracing blockchain

The benefits of blockchain are such that more and more enterprises are now taking steps to implement blockchain-based systems to support their digital networks. Recently, De Beers announced the launch of a new blockchain-based software named Tracr which the diamond producer said would ensure that the right gems would reach intended recipients. It would not only tag a gem based on its clarity, carat, and colour but would also track its movements across the supply chain.

“This is a significant breakthrough made achievable by the close engagement of the pilot participants who share our commitment to industry progress and innovation. We look forward to sharing the platform with more partners in the coming months and capturing their insights before ultimately making this technology available to the broader industry,” said Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group.

HSBC also announced today that it successfully used blockchain in partnership with Dutch bank ING to finance a shipment of soyabeans from Argentina to Malaysia.

“HSBC & ING Bank have used Corda blockchain technology to finance a shipment of soya beans from Argentina to Malaysia for food & agriculture conglomerate Cargill. Revolutionising the future of Documentary Trade,” the bank tweeted.

“With blockchain, the need for paper reconciliation is removed because all parties are linked on the platform and updates are instantaneous,” said Vivek Ramachandran, global head of innovation and growth for commercial banking at HSBC.

“Blockchain has been making waves as a disruptor in the financial sector, but when you drill this technology down to its raw concept it becomes apparent that its benefits can spread further. If more businesses allow themselves to think more creatively, we’ll start to see blockchain having real impact in many more scenarios,” says Nick Ford, Chief Technology Evangelist at Mendix.

“The blockchain-based systems recently launched by Kodak and De Beers are just two instances where this powerful technology can be used to build much-needed encrypted infrastructure, protecting sensitive data from corruption. This technology also has the advantage of offering infrastructure, and its maintenance, at a much lower cost than traditional centralised models.

“Going forward, blockchain will expand its impact through demonstrating its value across numerous industries, enabling easier, more reliable, and secure transactions. Ultimately, now is the time for business leaders to understand and explore the potential of this technology and capitalise on its ability to provide a solution that is adding real value. The options are simple. Experiment now – or get left behind,” he adds.

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