Blockchain and hyperledger fabric are changing trusted transactions
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Blockchain has the potential to save time, money, and increase information security across many sectors, including healthcare, supply chain monitoring, real estate processing, and financial services, of course.
Through blockchain, data can be managed in ways that provide a level of security and privacy previously unavailable through more traditional information exchange solutions. One of blockchain’s greatest strengths is that its benefits are available without an overarching monitoring solution because of the self-regulating nature of blockchain.
While blockchain is not yet ubiquitous, organizations such as IBM, are committed to the future of the platform. IBM has more than 1,000 employees continuously working on various blockchain technologies, such as tracing where one company’s product, like lettuce, is in the supply chain or as a platform for four out of five of the most prominent shipping lines to share data to increase efficiency.
For blockchain to reach its potential, easy-to-use solutions must be in place.
More than cryptocurrency
Tracing lettuce shipments may not sound like the most groundbreaking application of technology, but it illustrates that blockchain is more than just a cryptocurrency platform.
One particular aspect of blockchain technology, called hyperledger fabric, allows organizations the ability to build customized blockchains that increase their utility and creates the ability to combine cross-industry knowledge.
Hyperledger fabric is a modular framework that is the foundation for blockchain-based products and applications using “plug-and-play” components. There are five differentiating features of hyperledger fabric:
- Privacy and confidentiality
- Permissioned blockchain
- Pluggable consensus
- Smart contracts
Hyperledger fabric enables the privacy and confidentiality of transaction processing and confirmation. The architecture of the fabric makes it both highly modular and easily configurable, which opens up its use in industries as wide-ranging as insurance, banking, healthcare, and more. It can be used for many purposes, including:
- Secure sharing of medical data
- Music royalties tracking
- Cross-border payments
- Real-time IoT operating systems
- Personal identity security
- Anti-money laundering tracking system
- Supply chain and logistics monitoring
- Secure voting mechanism
Hyperledger fabric features what is known as permissioned blockchain, which means the platform participants are known to each other. Some platforms are built or used by anonymous or pseudonymous users, but this process is about trust and transparency.
The final two features are smart contracts and pluggable consensus. Smart contracts mean that a platform is written in a general-purpose programming language rather than in a constrained domain-specific language. Pluggable consensus means the platform can be customized to fit a particular need and model.
How it works
Hyperledger fabric can facilitate the sharing of confidential data through its ability to require permission(s) before any data or information is accessed. Developers can create private channels that are useful in any circumstance where confidential obligations need to be managed without sending everything through a central authority.
Say a student is transferring from a distant location, and it is not feasible or secure to share the student's medical records by other means. Developers can employ hyperledger fabric to create channels where the key participants (physician, parents, and school) can share the information securely. In this example, the school can access the student’s medical records only after the parents grant permission.
As this still-evolving technology is utilized, new and unexpected applications will develop. Likewise, as the platforms are implemented, and mature, modern, and secure forms of communication creation ensure the ability for organizations using the platform to identify more efficient ways to conduct business and improve information exchange.
Because blockchain has the potential to save time, money, and increase information security across many sectors, data can be managed to provide a level of security and privacy previously unavailable through more traditional information exchange solutions.
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