In business, there is a necessary element of trust. How does a company know its supplier is providing the right goods? What about invoices being received and paid? In this Internet Age, how does a company know the real identity of the person with whom they’re conversing? These are all questions of trust, and the easiest way to be sure of that trust is to have verifiable, corroborated information. Blockchain technologies provide that information.
To learn more about the effects of the blockchain, Dave Vellante (@dvellante) and Stu Miniman (@stu), cohosts of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, spoke to Donna Dillenberger, IBM fellow, Watson Research Center, at IBM, at the IBM Edge 2016 conference in Las Vegas.
Dawn of the Hyperledger Project
The conversation started with an overview of the blockchain concept. Dillenberger explained that the blockchain started with Bitcoin and the need for a protocol that can run on distributed computers. This distributed protocol is the blockchain, and it can be used to record many things just like an accounting ledger. Because the information is verified across a distributed system, it’s very hard to alter or fake records.
Dillenberger pointed out that IBM’s blockchain is different from Bitcoin’s, in part because it does not share the latter’s weaknesses. This new blockchain, called the Hyperledger, provides a flexibility so only the participants of a transaction are involved in verifying that exchange. This level of accountability reduces disputes and builds better relationships with partners and suppliers.
Adding analytics and the Internet of Things
The Hyperledger blockchain does not stand alone. Dillenberger mentioned how IBM can apply analytics to the information, allowing them to find many patterns. Meanwhile, the blockchain itself can be used to verify and corroborate that information. This combines very well with the growing Internet of Things. “It’s like baking; you have all these ingredients and when you put them together you get a great cake,” she said.
The most important question, though, is one of identity. Dillenberger stated that in the industry, the current way of proving identity is through multifactor authentication. If that information is on the blockchain, systems can check against the blockchain itself. This means these systems won’t need to hold any of the user’s security information themselves.
Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of IBM Edge 2016.