In recent years, hack attacks on several technology giants and widespread identity theft have given people more to be wary of cyber security. Amidst the growing concerns, open ledger or blockchain technology has become increasingly popular and many see it as a great alternative to traditional record management systems.

Many hail this technology as the next big thing after the Internet. While many associate blockchain technology with digital assets, the potential to apply this technology in various industries and avenues are immense.

In a nutshell; the blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are verified and once passed verification, will be permanently linked and secured using cryptography on a distributed computing system. Furthermore, the verification process has a consensus mechanism, in which the record that is to be added will be verified by several nodes and must pass the majority of checks it goes through;

This gives users more trust and confidence on the authenticity of the record as compared to traditional methods where records can simply be added upon the authority’s permission. Some of the benefits of harnessing this technology include

Tamper-proofing

By having a consensus mechanism, a record is verified several times before it is deemed valid, and a timestamp is concurrently added as the record is permanently encrypted into a blockchain.  As this is done by several machines on the distributed network, a record can easily be verified in the event of a suspicion or possible malice. This is often refered to as “tamper-proofing”.

Disaster Recovery

In a traditional infrastructure set-up, data is stored in centralized locations and perhaps back-up mechanisms arranged for disaster recovery. In a blockchain, the data will be stored across the machines on the distributed network. While this may cause some redundancy, fault tolerance is greatly increased

Privacy Protection

Compared to previous encryption systems, blockchain gives users a private key (a fixed length hash value). With private keys, even if the centralized database server is compromised, the passwords are still protected, however, it is not possible to recover a password; you can only reset your password.

References

Lindman, J., Tuunainen, V. K., & Rossi, M. (2017). Opportunities and Risks of Blockchain Technologies–A Research Agenda.

Dai, Fangfang & Shi, Yue & Meng, Nan & Wei, Liang & Ye, Zhiguo. (2017). From Bitcoin to cybersecurity: A comparative study of blockchain application and security issues. 975-979. 10.1109/ICSAI.2017.8248427.

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