In most primers on blockchain, three features are stressed again and again: verifiability, immutability and transparency. At least for blockchain entries that involve a transaction between two parties (such as buying or selling a house), the existence of the transaction on the blockchain itself verifies the transaction. This obviates the need for expensive and time-consuming involvement of intermediaries (e.g., banks or title companies) confirming that your assets are what you claim they are. This creates a powerful new way to create trust.It's an interesting subject. I did initially think of Bitcoin as something of a scam. I was wrong, though I'm still not investing any money there. I do wonder about how many links there have to be in a chain in order to claim immutability? Suppose a blockchain exists on 100 servers--couldn't a worm traverse all the servers and delete the data? I'm reasonably sure that eventuality has been covered.
Immutability also creates trust, because it prevents parties from eliminating or altering information on a ledger to benefit themselves (such as by removing negative information about legal actions).
And transparency is a big benefit of the blockchain for a business process such as FASt Lane that involves the government's interaction with vendors -- all interactions, recommendations, and decisions are stored and viewable.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Blockchain in Government
Steve Kelman at FCW has a long piece on a GSA trial of the "blockchain" technology.