Blockchains for Public Data – IoT For All

Blockchains for Public Data – via @iotforall 
#IoT #blockchain

  • If the government decides to stop releasing open data, like President Trump did in early February, or a company decides to manipulate data on its products, like Airbnb did with its New York listings, what then?Brian Forde wrote on Harvard Business Review that public blockchain can be used to record not only financial transactions (like Bitcoin) but also public data.
  • Blockchain Benefits for Governments, Companies, and ConsumersIn his article, Mr. Forde uses ride-sharing companies as an example to illustrate how blockchain can benefit governments, companies, and consumers.By submitting data into a secure blockchain with appropriate access levels, the government can monitor and regulate companies in real-time.
  • And on the company side, they can more efficiently comply with the law by using a digital, adaptable system, instead of a paper and person-based incumbent, outdated system.While this sounds wonderful, how much of it is in the realm of reality versus fiction?Is Blockchain for Public Data Actually Realistic?IPDB Foundation is creating an open database built on top of the blockchain technology, similar to what the article was advocating.
  • I also believe in Mr. Forde’s vision in implementing blockchain to secure public data and help governments and companies work together.But blockchain in and of itself cannot be the solution.
  • We need a blockchain+ solution: a combination of new technologies that keeps our public data open and sustainably so.

Everyday we unknowingly rely on open data. From checking the weather to finding direction via GPS, we make some of our most basic decisions using this freely available data. But what happens when its…

@delizalde: Blockchains for Public Data – via @iotforall
#IoT #blockchain

Is this the future or just part of the hype?

Everyday we unknowingly rely on open data. From checking the weather to finding direction via GPS, we make some of our most basic decisions using this freely available data. But what happens when its suddenly gone? If the government decides to stop releasing open data, like President Trump did in early February, or a company decides to manipulate data on its products, like Airbnb did with its New York listings, what then?

Brian Forde wrote on Harvard Business Review that public blockchain can be used to record not only financial transactions (like Bitcoin) but also public data. Mr. Forde suggests that public blockchains will enforce the validity of the data as time-stamps and signatures can then be compared against multiple entities, thereby decentralizing data control. If you need a quick refresher on how blockchain works, see “Understanding Blockchain.”

In his article, Mr. Forde uses ride-sharing companies as an example to illustrate how blockchain can benefit governments, companies, and consumers.

By submitting data into a secure blockchain with appropriate access levels, the government can monitor and regulate companies in real-time. Also, if a ride-sharing driver takes a longer route than necessary, this data can be made immediately available to the consumer and the local agency to improve safety and better protect the rights of everyone involved, instead of resorting to the company’s legal and customer support team. And on the company side, they can more efficiently comply with the law by using a digital, adaptable system, instead of a paper and person-based incumbent, outdated system.

While this sounds wonderful, how much of it is in the realm of reality versus fiction?

IPDB Foundation is creating an open database built on top of the blockchain technology, similar to what the article was advocating. Since the system is still under development, it’s hard to tell if the serverless decentralization of data will be achievable.

However, based on their white paper, we can immediately see some limitations. First, IPDB uses BigchainDB’s architecture, which connects to a single RethinkDB (distributed NoSQL database). This means that an attack to this cluster can potentially bring down the entire blockchain. Also, for a system relying on secure private blockchains, the creators themselves admit that it isn’t yet fully Byzantine tolerant.

This brings me to an interesting article I read by Jamie Burke, “99% of Blockchain Startups Are Bullshit.” His fantastic take on blockchain can be summed up in why he invests in blockchain+ companies and not in the blockchain infrastructure:

Now IMHO one of the ways these [blockchain] startups can become commercially sustainable and avoid this downward pressure is if they can successfully leverage machine learning somehow. It’s this combination of technologies that I like most because guess what: machine learning likes big standardised data sets and ultimately I believe this is the main promise of ‘blockchain’.

I don’t doubt that the team at IPDB Foundation has worked hard on the difficult problem of creating a public database. I also believe in Mr. Forde’s vision in implementing blockchain to secure public data and help governments and companies work together.

But blockchain in and of itself cannot be the solution. We need a blockchain+ solution: a combination of new technologies that keeps our public data open and sustainably so.

Blockchains for Public Data – IoT For All

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