“Blockchain al­lows in­di­vid­u­als to mon­i­tor use of per­sonal data”

Governance Now - - E-GOV NOTES - Pratap Vikram Singh

Can you ex­plain the con­cept of blockchain? How does it func­tion? What kind of IT in­fra­struc­ture is re­quired for de­ploy­ing it?

Blockchain is a sys­tem for main­tain­ing dis­trib­uted ledgers [‘dis­trib­uted ledger tech­nol­ogy’ or dlt] in a way that al­lows or­gan­i­sa­tions which might not fully trust each other to agree on ledger up­dates. in­stead of us­ing a cen­tral third party or an off­line rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process, Blockchain uses peer-to-peer pro­to­cols. As a dis­trib­uted ledger, blockchain pro­vides a near real-time and in­deli­ble record that’s repli­cated among the par­tic­i­pants. Blockchain holds the prom­ise to fun­da­men­tally trans­form how busi­ness is done, mak­ing busi­ness-to-busi­ness in­ter­ac­tions more se­cure, trans­par­ent and ef­fi­cient.

Please ex­plain the cur­rent and fu­ture trends in blockchain.

Mo­bil­ity or mo­bile de­vices have a large role to play in driv­ing most of the dis­rup­tions hap­pen­ing to­day for ex­am­ple, iot. Blockchain can take iot to places where it can cre­ate or es­tab­lish bet­ter trans­parency, process com­pli­ance and trust among stake­hold­ers. Blockchain cre­ates dig­i­tal records, across com­put­ers and hence mit­i­gat­ing the risk of hack­ing. When you com­bine IOT and Blockchain – BIOT – it brings in a com­pletely new set of ser­vices and busi­nesses. For ex­am­ple, to track ship­ments; in smart cities sce­nario to cre­ate con­nected heat­ing sys­tems for en­ergy con­ser­va­tion or to man­age rush hour with con­nected traf­fic lights.

Blockchain tech­nol­ogy al­lows in­di­vid­u­als to closely mon­i­tor the use of their per­sonal data. Pri­vate in­for­ma­tion plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in our daily lives and to­day we are go­ing through a ma­jor so­cial and le­gal de­bate over pri­vacy. Blockchain al­lows quicker, more ef­fi­cient iden­tity man­age­ment with­out any third-party ver­i­fi­ca­tion, if ver­i­fied iden­tity is stored.

A blockchain plat­form, when used in sup­ply chain man­age­ment, can au­to­mat­i­cally track in­di­vid­ual prod­ucts, parts or goods dur­ing any part of its jour­ney from sup­plier to the end cus­tomer. it will also keep a com­pre­hen­sive record of se­rial num­bers, trans­porta­tion his­tory and own­er­ship; of­fer­ing greater trans­parency, in­creased op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency and more strin­gent ad­her­ence to lo­cal reg­u­la­tions in the process.

What are the top five ar­eas where blockchain’s ap­pli­ca­tion could be trans­for­ma­tive and how? Please elab­o­rate.

Blockchain pro­vides trans­parency, ac­count­abil­ity and se­cu­rity, which makes it use­ful for var­i­ous busi­nesses and not just for cryp­tocur­rency or fi­nan­cial ser­vices.

Cy­ber­se­cu­rity: Blockchain can bring about big ad­vance­ments in cy­ber­se­cu­rity. As the whole process ex­cludes hu­man in­ter­ac­tion in the data com­mu­ni­ca­tion process, it lessens the threat of data cor­rup­tion, hu­man er­ror and hack­ing. An­other as­pect is au­then­ti­ca­tion of data. some of the in­ter­na­tional star­tups are try­ing to come up with a blockchain­cen­tric key­less sig­na­ture in­fra­struc­ture. This will work by tag­ging and ver­i­fy­ing data trans­ac­tions, pro­vid­ing cryp­tolevel as­sur­ance of data au­then­tic­ity and in­tegrity.

Ad­ver­tis­ing: Blockchain tech­nol­ogy will take ad­ver­tis­ing by storm as it al­lows in­for­ma­tion to be stored and dis­trib­uted but not to be changed or copied. This tech­nol­ogy will over­haul on­line ad­ver­tis­ing as it will not re­quire the mid­dle­men any­more for the data. The users will be able to se­lect the amount of data that needs to be re­leased to ad­ver­tis­ers. so, in­stead of in­ter­me­di­aries, the cus­tomers will

be sup­ply­ing the data in a con­trolled man­ner to them.

Real es­tate: real es­tate is an­other area plagued with mas­sive pa­per trails, over­all lack of trans­parency, er­ro­neous public records and a per­sis­tent scare of fraud. Blockchain tech­nol­ogy can be a boom for this sec­tor. The tech­nol­ogy can re­duce the need of pa­per records and thus speed­ing up the trans­ac­tion time, re­duc­ing the trans­ac­tion costs and im­prov­ing the over­all ef­fi­ciency and ac­count­abil­ity.

Vot­ing: elec­tion rig­ging is one of the most ac­tive pain points of any democ­racy. elec­tions at any level re­quire au­then­ti­ca­tion of vot­ers, record keep­ing, vote track­ing and count­ing. All these lev­els when op­er­ated man­u­ally leave a huge room for ma­nip­u­lat­ing and fraud­u­lent ac­tiv­i­ties. Blockchain can cap­ture each vote as ‘trans­ac­tion’, where noth­ing can be changed, re­moved or added. some of the us-based star­tups are devel­op­ing a beta ver­sion of their com­plete blockchain­cen­tric so­lu­tion.

Fore­cast­ing: When we have ac­cu­rate records, which are sup­ported by data anal­y­sis, fore­cast­ing can be done ba­sis ma­chine learn­ing al­go­rithms to de­velop more pre­cise in­sights.

Can you ex­plain the ap­pli­ca­tion of blockchain in land records, health records or na­tional res­i­dent ID? These func­tions are be­ing man­aged by gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials by ad­vanced com­puter sys­tems. Can you dis­cuss the value of its ap­pli­ca­tion in each of these cases?

in in­dia, presently the own­er­ship of prop­erty of land parcels are proved through chain of doc­u­ments (ror) that ev­i­dence the trans­fer of own­er­ship of the land par­cel till the cur­rent date. The prob­lem is that any one of these in­ter­me­di­ate trans­ac­tions is ca­pa­ble of be­ing chal­lenged and the of­fice of sub-reg­is­trar is the only un­der­tak­ing deed reg­is­tra­tion un­der the Cen­tral reg­is­tra­tion Act, 1908. if we are to in­tro­duce greater cer­tainty into the real es­tate busi­ness, we must de­vise a mech­a­nism by which own­er­ship trans­fers can­not be set aside and are ir­refutable and blockchain can play an im­por­tant role by ac­cu­rately times­tamp­ing each trans­ac­tion and even adding a cryp­to­graphic Hash. sim­i­larly, blockchain can se­cure stor­age and shar­ing of elec­tronic health records be­ing gen­er­ated at var­i­ous hos­pi­tals as part of e-health ini­tia­tive can se­cure stor­age and shar­ing. it can also help in the man­age­ment of ser­vice provider cre­den­tial man­age­ment and clin­i­cal tri­als (store trial re­sults in a tam­per-proof way, an­ti­coun­ter­feit drugs).

What is the value cre­ated by blockchain when it is ap­plied in bank­ing and fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions?

Ac­cord­ing to Har­vard Busi­ness re­view, Blockchain will do to banks what in­ter­net did to me­dia. in 2016, 60 per­cent of fi­nan­cial or­gan­i­sa­tions plan on us­ing blockchain for in­ter­na­tional money trans­fers, 23 per­cent for se­cu­rity clear­ing and set­tle­ment, and 20 per­cent for ‘know your cus­tomer’ (KYC) reg­u­la­tions and anti-money laun­der­ing ser­vices. The blockchain would change the bank­ing sec­tor in two ways – It will be less ex­pen­sive and will be­come faster.

some in­dus­try re­ports sug­gest that blockchain sys­tems re­move a com­plete layer of over­head, which is ded­i­cated to con­firm­ing au­then­tic­ity thus re­duc­ing costs. Iden­tity con­fir­ma­tion is an­other area where banks can lever­age blockchain tech­nol­ogy in a big way. iden­tity fraud has costed $16 bil­lion in 2017, so it is not an ex­ag­ger­ated claim, when it is said that banks can save $20 bil­lion ev­ery sin­gle year. Banks are be­lieved to spend $400 mil­lion on blockchain by 2019.

Glob­ally, there were some ex­per­i­ments done to check how fast cross-coun­try pay­ments can be done by us­ing blockchain tech­nol­ogy. euro 667, which would typ­i­cally take about two-six busi­ness days, were trans­ferred in about 20 sec­onds and now the same process can be com­pleted in 10 sec­onds flat. This is the rea­son al­most ev­ery ma­jor bank is in­vest­ing in blockchain tech­nol­ogy. In In­dia, bank­ing and fi­nan­cial sec­tor is bet­ting big on blockchain and Ml for tack­ling debt cri­sis and de­ploy digi­tised ledger to cap­ture each trans­ac­tion.

“Elec­tions at any level re­quire au­then­ti­ca­tion of vot­ers, record keep­ing, vote track­ing and count­ing. All these lev­els when op­er­ated man­u­ally leave huge room for ma­nip­u­la­tion and fraud­u­lent ac­tiv­i­ties. Blockchain can cap­ture each vote as a ‘trans­ac­tion’, where noth­ing can be changed, re­moved or added.”

Ashish asthana

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