Dr. James Smith who heads the Open Data Institute (co-founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt) Labs programme and the software team which delivers software projects across the organisation has written a poignant piece providing some interesting and fresh opinions on the Blockchain. Particularly, pointing out, in his opinion, that storing data in the Bitcoin Blockchain is possible, and has been done since day one, but it isn’t really advisable.
Blockchains are designed to be immutable, to have data written into them and be available for evermore. Technically, that seems a desirable quality as it means you can’t go back and rewrite history: nobody can deny that a transaction took place, even if it was revoked later on.
However, technology, meet society. In the sphere of human life, immutability can be a major problem. What about the recent EU right to be forgotten ruling? What’s your legal recourse when the data you want removed from public view is stored in an immutable data store? Is there any truly immutable data?
Here’s an example: in the UK, if you change your gender, you of course have the right to have your new gender reflected in all official records. That, though, includes rewriting history and backdating your new gender, so that the gender you were assigned at birth doesn’t appear even in old records. If, say, your driving licence is stored in a blockchain, the old version can’t be modified. It can be revoked and replaced with an updated one, but the original record is still there.
Sure, you could solve those problems by storing only pointers to data in a blockchain, and having the data somewhere else, somewhere mutable, but then you’ve lost the resilience aspect of the technology; the data is still centralised, even though the index is distributed.
How then, do we design data storage in blockchains so that immutability is limited to the things that need to be immutable?
Smith has resorted to treating the very word Blockchain – as a shorthand for “undefined radically distributed storage technology”.
Make no mistake, there is huge (and radical) potential in this technology area for data, and for society as a whole, but we need to understand how these technologies are best applied.
And whether it’s blockchains or something else, there are plenty of questions. How do we standardise storage in such a system so that we get a single network of data, as opposed to having to use a different storage system every time we want a new type of information? What are the data protocols for distributed storage? How do we talk about, and perhaps enforce, ownership and licensing?
We are exploring the potential applications of these technologies in the context of data infrastructure. This applies at different scales: global, national and city data infrastructure. It also applies across sectors: finance, agriculture, nutrition and global development.
- WAX Partners with Xsolla to Offer Its Platform to More Than 2,000 Video Games - November 20, 2017
- Pundi X integrates NEM blockchain to Bring Cryptocurrency Payments Into Retail Stores - November 20, 2017
- Fujitsu Develops Security Technology to Safely Connect Blockchains - November 20, 2017
- Jibrel Network Announces a Highly Successful Pre-sale Round - November 20, 2017
- KRAFTWERK on Blockchain - November 20, 2017
- MintHealth: Empowering Patients to Take Control of their Health and Data via Blockchain Technology - November 20, 2017
- IBM Completes PoC Of Blockchain-based Shared KYC With Deutsche Bank, HSBC, MUFG And Cargill, IBM Treasuries - November 20, 2017
- LetsEnhance.io to process images on Neuromation Platform - November 20, 2017
- Blockchain And AI Researchers Propose A New Model To Return The Control Over Human Life Data To The Patients And Accelerate Biomedical Research - November 20, 2017
- Storiqa Makes Cryptocurrency Closer To The World – Usual E-shop With A Few Peculiarities For Unusual Currency - November 17, 2017
- American Express Cuts Deal with Ripplenet – Giving Visibility and Speed to Global Commercial Payments - November 16, 2017
- CapLinked Named One of 20 Most Promising Collaboration Technology Providers By CIO - November 16, 2017
- Global Blockchain Technologies Corp. Announces $20M Fund to Invest in Steem SMTs - November 16, 2017
- Augmate Announces First IoT Device Management Platform Using Distributed Ledgers - November 16, 2017
- BitDegree Teams up with Zcoin to Develop Cryptography Course - November 16, 2017
- With Backing from the Biggest Poker Names, CoinPoker Launches Pre-ICO - November 15, 2017
- Jeff Garzik – Metronome GitHub is now public - November 14, 2017
- Livestreaming Pioneer YouNow Doubles Down on Decentralization with Storj Labs Partnership - November 14, 2017
- OriginTrail – Winner of Walmart 2017 Food Safety Innovation Award Announces Presale - November 14, 2017
- Revain Announces Release Of The First Test Version Of The Platform - November 13, 2017
- PikcioChain Receives Huge Pre-ICO Boost by Winning a Place on BNP Paribas’ Fintech Accelerator - November 13, 2017
- Fluree PBC Launches FlureeDB — Scalable, Blockchain Cloud Database - November 13, 2017
- CoinTracking – The Personal Portfolio Monitoring Tool and Tax Tracker for Digital Currencies - November 13, 2017
- OTC Exchange Network Announces that DMALINK has Joined their Early Adopter Program OTC Exchange Network Announces that DMALINK has Joined their Early Adopter Program - November 13, 2017
- Leondrino Exchange, Issuer of Digital Branded Currencies, Announces Its Own Digital Currency XLEOLeondrino Exchange, Issuer of Digital Branded Currencies, Announces Its Own Digital Currency XLEO - November 13, 2017
- Blockchain Executive and Cryptocurrency Investor David Drake joins eSport and Gaming platform Play2Live Advisory Board - November 13, 2017
- UHUB.IO Seeks to Bring Their Decentralized E-commerce Platform to Life - November 13, 2017
- Eidoo Hits 100,000 Downloads As Cryptocurrency Customers Seek A Simpler Way To Store And Use Their Assets - November 13, 2017
- Ethereum Goes to Hollywood – Award-Winning Crypto Film Project Premieres in Hollywood - November 13, 2017
- Santa Claus Is Moving To Blockchain! Bye, Bye Chimney! - November 13, 2017
- Safinus Platform Wants to Unite Investors and Traders in One Place - November 13, 2017
- Exscudo Uses Multisignature Technology To Protect User Accounts - November 13, 2017
- Lykke To Support ERC20 Tokens In Latest Lykke Wallet Release - November 13, 2017
- Can Blockchain Revolutionise The Third Sector? Introducing The World’s First Recycling Intiative - November 13, 2017
- JBOX Announces Initial Coin Offering for Blockchain-Powered Decentralized Video Platform - November 13, 2017
- Perkins Coie Selected as a Founding Steward in Self-Sovereign Identity Network - November 13, 2017
- Waves Claims it Will Become the Fastest Blockchain Platform in the World - November 13, 2017
- Binary.com Announces ICO - November 13, 2017
- Finova Financial Announces The JOBS Crypto Offering (JCO): A Path To A Regulated Public Securities Offering for Non-Accredited Investors Using Cryptocurrency - November 13, 2017
- Dash Transactions Now 215 Times Cheaper Than Bitcoin After New Network Upgrade - November 13, 2017
- Tech Bureau’s mijin Opens Applications for Powerful New Enterprise Blockchain - November 13, 2017
- Human Discovery Platform Launches Token Sale to Build the Largest Storage of Human Behavior Powered by Blockchain - November 13, 2017
- CarFix Will Repair Your Vehicle For A Fraction Of The Price, With Help From The Ethereum Blockchain - November 13, 2017
- Neufund, Receives 10M Euro In Funding To Create ‘Equity Token’ - November 13, 2017
- Beenest Begins Decentralized Future For Short-term Housing Rentals - November 13, 2017
- CanYa Wants to Eliminate Crypto Volatility within Online Gig Economy Marketplace - November 13, 2017
- Allianz Pioneers Blockchain Prototype for the Captive Insurance Market - November 13, 2017
- Third Generation Cryptocurrency SkyCoin Aims to Shake up the Market - November 7, 2017
- DAO PlayMarket 2.0 – a New Era of Mobile Applications - November 7, 2017
- The International Scientific and Practical Association Jus Naturale – The first NGO with Blockchain-Based Membership - November 7, 2017