A blockchain, originally block chain, is a growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data (generally represented as a merkle tree root hash). By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of the data. It is “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way”
Blockchain. You may have heard the term recently as it has been in the news quite a bit over the past number of years, especially in reference to cryptocurrency like BitCoin and Ethereum. It isn’t cryptocurrency, though, that has sparked our interest, but the blockchain concept itself that serves to “…record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way” – meaning that it is a method of providing authorization of electronic transactions. We did some poking about on the Internet looking for a clear and concise explanation of what all the buzz was about and, eventually, we came across several podcasts that it started to make more sense.
First there was a podcast on a tech company working on transforming the process of purchasing the title to a house to an all electronic process using blockchain to provide a secure method of recording required legal transactions. Then another podcast talking about a tech company using blockchain to provide a secure method of recording transactions for biometric access controls on smartphones as well as standalone hardware. Next there was an article in Wired magazine introducing a new smartphone by HTC marketed specifically as a “blockchain phone,” which further led to the concept of decentralized digital identities secured by blockchain.
So what does all this mean for us as a contract company to the federal government? One of the things that we know our primary customer has been struggling with for quite some time is how to bring mobile technologies into their secured network. Maybe….just maybe….the combination of technologies outlined above – blockchain for secure electronic transactions, biometrics on mobile devices, and decentralized digital identities – could be brought together to allow for mobile technologies in a secured environment. One of our key strengths as a company is our ability and experience with integrating new technologies into secure networks, so it seems that there may be something here for us to get into.
If you are interested in helping with this project and helping to steer the technological path for the company into the future, send me an email and I will add you to our Research group looking into these types of cutting edge technologies.