David Roon (blockchain expert):
Beyond the prototype
David Roon says the blockchain community is now moving from the planning phase to direct implementation. The benefits of this include fully automated and free servicing, incorruptible data transfer and KYC optimisation. Interview.
A blockchain for consumer digital identity is being developed in Japan. What does that involve?
It’s a private blockchain initiative run by a consortium of banks, aimed at sharing databases and avoiding the “silo” effect wherein every single player stocks data which is never to be used again. This allows consumers to fill in their data once: the information can then be shared securely among the members involved in the initiative. In the context of an initial coin offering – crypto-currency-fundraising - the PICOPS project explores similar solutions in terms of identification. Consumer data is encrypted and can be accessed for onboarding purposes and crosschecked with blacklists. uPort goes further in the protection of data with its zero-knowledge proof protocols. Once an individual’s data has been checked and assimilated in the blockchain, that same individual will be able to prove to other consortium members that he or she is an adult, without providing any ID.
« Work on a new consensus algorithm will allow the network to scale up and to increase traffic. »
What are the current blockchain success stories?
Once again, uPort has managed to roll out one of its initiatives in the canton of Zug in Switzerland and has partnered with local authorities for identification procedures. We’re now moving beyond the prototype phase to modest yet concrete implementations. Projects are still in the early stages but are moving in the right direction. In a totally different sector, Retalix is working on a decentralised asset exchange platform – an important factor in the field of crypto-currency as trading remains risky. An individual has to provide control of his or her assets to an exchange service provider in order to transfer currency. If the provider is hacked, all assets can be lost. Retalix decentralises exchange protocols and significantly mitigates such risks. Etherisc is making big waves in the Ethereum – the largest development platform – community. The company focuses on flight insurance, with the objective of automating the product to lower operation costs. After further development, their product model will be fast and free.
What new developments do you see emerging in the blockchain world?
Ethereum is a victim of its own success and is currently saturated due to the vast amount of blockchain operations running on it. Work on a new consensus algorithm will allow the network to scale up and to increase traffic. Smart agreements, or intelligent legal contracts, are another interesting development, combining human and machine logic to ensure 100% valid contracts which can’t be forged. The reduced costs and the time gained through automation are going to facilitate B2B activity significantly. In another area, TrueBit, a high-resource calculation service applies blockchain for secure peer review purposes. A member can publish his or her results on uses network and reviewers can verify the work – with every step of the verification being published on the chain. The blockchain’s virtual computer is then able to navigate the provided segmented data set to pinpoint mistakes or to validate the calculation. The advantage of this system is that it can verify every single step of the process.