Blockchain technology network of computers

In the rapidly evolving environment of the international supply chain, the traditional network of manufacturers and suppliers has grown into a vast ecosystem made of various products that move through multiple parties and require cooperation among stakeholders. Additionally, the demand for improved product visibility and source-to-store traceability has never been higher. Blockchain technology has shown promising results for improving supply chain networks in recent applications and has already impacted our society and lifestyle by reshaping many business and industry processes. In an effort to understand the integration of blockchain technology in the supply chain, this paper systematically summarizes its current status, key characteristics, potential challenges, and pilot applications. Computer Security Threats. The supply chain plays a crucial role in modern businesses by allowing them to achieve efficiency, responsiveness, and success.



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What Is Blockchain? The ‘Transformative’ Technology Behind Bitcoin, Explained


This misconception hampers participants from understanding the security differences between public and private blockchains and adopting blockchain technology in suitable contexts. The results identify a number of security and trust assumptions against various blockchain architectures, participants, and applications.

Findings indicate that private blockchains have serious limitations for securing the interests of users in macrosocial contexts, due to their centralized nature. In contrast, public blockchains reveal trust and security shortcomings at the micro and meso-organizational levels, yet there is a lack of suitable desktop case studies by which to analyze sociotechnical security at the macrosocial level. If this is the case, then it is imperative to develop blockchains into functional, digital institutional infrastructure with transparent governance, security, and operational rules.

Yet, it is rarely acknowledged that security and trust in blockchains are contextual, according to the type of blockchain architecture, the governance model, the needs of the participants using the system, and the context in which it is being applied. By adopting a sociotechnical security analysis framework, this paper argues that both public and private blockchains have social, technical, and infrastructure layer security shortcomings. For private blockchains, these trust and security issues are evident in macrosocial societal applications.

For public blockchains, security issues are present at the micro- individual and meso- organizational levels and unknown at the macrosocial level as there is a lack of suitable desktop case studies by which to analyze security in broader, social applications.

Here, it becomes evident that both public and private blockchains still hold inherent trust and security limitations in terms of technical security, trust in social processes, and infrastructural dependencies. This paper finds that although public blockchains afford users with a greater participatory role in technical and governance processes, private blockchains are more commonly being adopted in contexts that require macrosocial coordination systems, resulting in inherent security limitations for participants through centralization Observations and Findings Section.

The Limitations of Security in Blockchains Section. Further research directions are then proposed to extend this study Conclusion and Further Directions Section. The approach is grounded in a social-constructivist view of security in sociotechnical systems, to reflect on the narrower technological determinist perspective which dominates much of the current discourse on blockchain security.

Sociotechnical studies allow us to view cryptoeconomic organizing technologies as complex social systems that operate at three primary levels: the work systems level, the whole organization level, and the macrosocial system.

Eric Trist first described sociotechnical systems, in the context of the coal mining industry, as microlevel work practices, meso-level organizational practices, and macro-level social systems Trist, Hayes suggests that blockchain-based cryptoeconomic systems should not be studied as money per se, but rather as systems that organize individuals through the radical disintermediation of institutions Hayes, Thus, employing STS methods is a suitable approach to reveal the implicit and embedded technical, social, economic, and political assumptions and decisions that influence how blockchains are applied in social contexts Bijker et al.

Framing of blockchains as a sociotechnical construct and multiscale institutional infrastructure that operates at micro-, meso-, and macrosocial levels across different implementations. A sociotechnical analysis of the security attributes and limitations of blockchain security for people across various types of blockchains and blockchain applications, to expose the trust and security issues. An analysis of the security assumptions for participants across different types of blockchain applications, including possible future risks from blockchain automation and why blockchain may not be a desirable digital infrastructure in macrosocial contexts.

The innovation of public blockchains is the application of cryptoeconomic mechanisms to facilitate coordination at each level of a complex, sociotechnical digital system. At the technical level, blockchains incorporate the encoding of economic game-theory mechanisms of byzantine fault tolerance and governance rules to enforce certain attributes, such as Sybil resistance, execute transactions, and perform certain functions as part of a broader system.

At an organizational infrastructure level, blockchains are responsible for coordination within a system. At a macrosocial level, blockchains operate as a coordinating technology at the social, economic, and political level in society Berg et al.

Blockchain security in a cybersecurity sense tends to consider blockchains as a technical object of inquiry, when in fact they are a sociotechnical construct Hayes, Blockchains enable transactions between participants in a network. The key attributes of both public and private blockchains demonstrate the ways in which security is both a technical and a social consideration.

Blockchain technologies can be divided into three broad categories. These distinctions are important for understanding the role of people in the system and how the system operates in the context in which it is applied.

Public blockchains emphasize transparency and participation. The key attribute of public blockchain networks is that they pursue decentralization through cryptoeconomics, to ensure cooperation in a distributed network.

In this case, decentralization refers to the characteristic of having no political center of control and no architectural central point-of-failure in the design of the software system Buterin, Governance considerations include who can develop the software code, who can participate in the consensus mechanism, and who can take part in communal governance activities to maintain the network.

Public blockchains can be applied to macrosocial coordination problems in society, due to their unique ability to provide decentralized consensus. Private blockchains mean that membership to participate in validating transactions on the network is restricted to only include parties that are approved by a central administrator.

Thus, private blockchains are centralized and operate more closely to a traditional database, than a complex, macrosocial coordination system.

Transaction data is most often kept private. Private blockchains are often adopted in internal, business secure environments, such as access, authentication, and record keeping. Consortium blockchains are comprised of known participants that are preapproved by a central authority to participate in consensus in a blockchain network. Transaction data may be kept private. This type of blockchain may be used between known parties, in supply chain management, banking, or Internet of Things IoT applications.

Blockchain security research is deeply focused on the technical attributes of security, which are under continuous development and improvement to strive toward the goal of offering stronger security guarantees to users Karame and Androulaki, ; Li et al.

All blockchains rely on secure software code to enable peer-to-peer transactions through the use of digital currency to offer security to users. A number of blockchain cybersecurity vulnerabilities remain under active investigation in the field of computer science Lin and Liao et al. What security means for users of a blockchain network is different across different disciplines. While cybersecurity focuses on securing networks from threats, sociotechnical security focused on securing participants in the network.

Public blockchains are often referred to as decentralized, transparent, autonomous, immutable, and pseudonymous Buterin, The attribute of decentralization in public blockchains refers to freedom from relying on central intermediaries in its original interpretation from the cypherpunk culture and cryptoanarchic politics from which Bitcoin, the first fully functioning decentralized public blockchain, emerged May, In contrast, when information and validation on a blockchain is limited to certain parties, as with private and consortium blockchains, the privacy and security guarantees for users of that chain become very different.

These design and governance attributes have critical security implications for the assumptions of people that participate in the network, if a blockchain is applied as a coordinating system in society, but still controlled by a central issuer and administrator. Understanding the type of blockchain, who is being trusted, the needs of participants, and the context in which the blockchain is being applied is vital in reframing blockchain security in a sociotechnical setting.

Sociotechnical security allows for a broader security analysis lens, encompassing the social, technical, and contextual aspects of a digital system. These aspects are integral to studying the security of blockchains as macrosocial infrastructure in society. A sociotechnical analysis is particularly valuable in analyzing blockchain systems in macrosocial contexts.

Governance in blockchain-based systems presents unique security challenges as it is encoded in the technical aspects of blockchain-based systems as governance rules are formalized in software code.

The aim of governance in sociotechnical settings is to recognize the need to support flexible interactions among participants in the administration of network settings Singh, This is not to say that existing security practices are wrong, but rather that science and technology studies can further enhance security practices by drawing in an analysis of the social aspects of a system, especially in digital systems that operate in an institutional infrastructure role in society, such as blockchain.

If blockchains are to be applied as organizational and macrosocial structures, a sociotechnical understanding of blockchain security is required, to place the participants within the system as the referent focus of security. Security threats in sociotechnical systems relate to both intentional and nonintentional exploits. These lenses require us to consider the expectations and intent of participants in the system. There are numerous frameworks by which to guide a sociotechnical analysis of blockchains.

Rather than inventing a new security framework, the contribution of this paper is to apply a sociotechnical security approach to blockchains as macrosocial institutional technology. This includes the social layer people and processes , the software layer code and applications , and the infrastructure layer physical and technological infrastructure Li et al.

The next section of this paper applies a sociotechnical security analysis to blockchains to address how the social, technical, and infrastructural layers of the system are interconnected, with the aim of revealing assumptions about where and how blockchains are applied in relation to context, participant needs, and expectations.

Public blockchains remove the ability for central parties to unilaterally change the rules of the system to secure users against third-party interference. Trustlessness requires trust. Rather than a rhetoric of trustlessness, we must interrogate who is being trusted to design, deploy, and secure blockchain-based systems against the expectations of participants in that network. Blockchain security as a guarantee against the threat of centralization and a promise of trustlessness can be misleading.

In the first instance the rules of blockchain-based technology are a product of the context and beliefs in which they were developed and then applied. Trustlessness in not requiring third-party verification to execute transactions has been conflated with broader meanings of trust, which can create misleading assumptions regarding the capabilities of blockchains for users beyond the initial context Chohan, From these origins, trustlessness is a normative property that represents what people hope to achieve with blockchain technology, rather than a security guarantee.

When blockchains are applied to manage macrosocial interactions that are responsible for the coordination of, and arbitration between, people in society, they function as institutions. Public blockchains require trust between stakeholders in numerous ways. Coordination between software developers is necessary in each change to the software protocol code, such as issuance of a cryptocurrency e.

This means that collusion might influence the underlying record of transactions in forks or other governance disputes, thus demonstrating the need for trust in some actors in the network for blockchain security.

In reality, blockchain technology can be compromised at the technical, software code, and social coordination layers in systems that are shaped by software engineers, social processes, and market forces.

The idea is not to replace trust with code but to provide accountability by making the rules of the system transparent through publicly available, open-source code De Filippi et al. Yet, decentralized infrastructure does not necessarily lead to decentralization of influence within that infrastructure.

Despite technical sophistication, security through decentralization and trustlessness at the micro- and mesolevels in public blockchains is difficult to achieve due to social, technical, and infrastructural dependencies. The next section explores a number of private blockchain case studies by applying a sociotechnical framework to investigate the social, software, and infrastructure layers of private blockchains in action at a macrosocial level, including which community participating in the network in need of protection; what features can be exploited within the network, and who is responsible and accountable for securing participants in the network.

Private blockchains are prevalent in a number of real-world, macrosocial level applications across humanitarian, government, and corporate applications.

Each case study below focuses on a use-case of blockchain as a macrosocial institutional infrastructure for coordinating goods, services, and people in society. Each example is then run through a sociotechnical analysis.

Blockchains have been piloted in a number of humanitarian, not-for-profit organization use-cases at the macrosocial level, predicated on governing the most vulnerable. Blockchains were applied in the project as a ledger of transactions and settlement layer to transfer cash aid to Syrian refugees in a Jordanian refugee camp.

The project received overwhelmingly positive coverage in the media Juskalian, ; Apte, ; Awan and Nunhick, However, this blockchain-based system has a number of shortcomings which could equate to significant people security vulnerabilities for participants. First, the community participating in the network in need of protection are Syrian refugees, who are a highly vulnerable population fleeing a civil war. Protection of identity is a necessity for this population Gillespie et al.

Yet, digital identities are being created that are permanently linked to biometric indicators which could then be hacked and traced back to family members or used as leverage to direct behaviors.

Furthermore, biometric registrations are mandatory when receiving cash aid, making participation in the system mandatory and not voluntary.

Second, a number of technical and social features can be exploited in the system. The system is inextricably linked in political and infrastructural contexts which may not be in the best interests of users. For example, the blockchain is centrally issued and administered by WFP and administrative access is afforded to a consortium of international aid organizations Baah, This results in significant power asymmetries in terms of how the system operates, what data is recorded, where it is stored, who has permission to access the data, and for what purposes.

The biometric iris scanners used are provided by a local Jordanian company, IrisGuard, meaning persistent, biometric digital identities of refugees are being stored locally. Once data is recorded, it is hackable, replicable, and vulnerable to technical or human exploitation Verizon, Numerous technical systems and levels of cybersecurity, as well as numerous permissions to access and correlate highly sensitive data, with little to no consent from participants persist throughout this system.



Working as a layer on top of the internet, blockchain is an instrument of change

The blockchain is simply part of the continuation of the history of Internet technology, represented by the Web, as it carries on its journey to infiltrate our world, businesses, society, and government. Whereas the Internet was first rolled out in , it was the World Wide Web that gave us its watershed evolutionary moment, because it made information and information-based services openly and instantly available to anyone on earth who had access to the Web. At its core, the blockchain is a technology that permanently records transactions in a way that cannot be later erased but can only be sequentially updated, in essence keeping a never-ending historical trail. This seemingly simple functional description has gargantuan implications. To fully understand the blockchain, you need to look at it simultaneously from a business, technical and legal perspective. Technically, the blockchain is a back-end database that maintains a distributed ledger that can be inspected openly. Business-wise, the blockchain is an exchange network for moving transactions, value, and assets between peers, without the assistance of intermediaries.

The Internet Computer is the world's first blockchain that runs at web speed using advanced technology and a novel network architecture.

Let’s Break It Down: Blockchain Technology 101

The US has always been, and must continue to be, at the forefront of digital innovation. However, regulatory uncertainty is standing in the way of innovation when it comes to public blockchain technology and tokenized open source software. We need new policies that will lay the foundation for a new Internet: digital infrastructure that will support creativity, prosperity, privacy, and security. With regulatory clarity enacted, our online and offline worlds will change for the better. We are endlessly inspired by its ability to connect people, enable commerce, and catalyze innovation. Its inventors and early proponents could never have predicted that the Internet would permeate every aspect of our lives, providing the framework for everything from global business transactions to social networking to self-driving cars. However, as the revolutionary technologies of the last decades have permeated all sectors of industry, so have their vulnerabilities and shortcomings, particularly when they are deployed without due care at scale. The Marriott and Equifax breaches provide tangible examples; large corporations relying on centralized databases vulnerable to a single point of failure. And they are not alone.


6 Real-World Challenges that Blockchain Technology is Poised to Solve

blockchain technology network of computers

Recently, research in blockchain technology has grown in popularity. Most of these researches have pointed out designing and improving conceptual structures to create digital systems that are more secure, accessible, and effective. Although blockchain offers a wide range of advantages, it also has some pitfalls. This research aims to present an understanding of the properties of blockchain, the advantages, pitfalls, and applications based on blockchain technology. To achieve the goal of understanding blockchain technology concepts, a systematic literature review approach was introduced.

If you were explaining why blockchain matters to your mother, you might tell her that she will no longer need to go through a bank to make a payment to the electric company.

Cryptocurrency goes green: Could 'proof of stake' offer a solution to energy concerns?

Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system. A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain. Blockchain is a type of DLT in which transactions are recorded with an immutable cryptographic signature called a hash. This means if one block in one chain was changed, it would be immediately apparent it had been tampered with. If hackers wanted to corrupt a blockchain system, they would have to change every block in the chain, across all of the distributed versions of the chain.


Blockchain's revolution

Blockchain technology is most simply defined as a decentralized, distributed ledger that records the provenance of a digital asset. By inherent design, the data on a blockchain is unable to be modified, which makes it a legitimate disruptor for industries like payments, cybersecurity and healthcare. Our guide will walk you through what it is, how it's used and its history. Blockchain, sometimes referred to as Distributed Ledger Technology DLT , makes the history of any digital asset unalterable and transparent through the use of decentralization and cryptographic hashing. A simple analogy for understanding blockchain technology is a Google Doc. When we create a document and share it with a group of people, the document is distributed instead of copied or transferred. This creates a decentralized distribution chain that gives everyone access to the document at the same time.

Cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology that powers them make it possible to Instead, it is secured by a large peer-to-peer network of computers.

The first two decades of the 21st century have seen technology advance at an unprecedented scale, true to Moore's law. This accelerated progress led to the rise of numerous new industries and impacted every existing industry in significant ways. With the advent of emerging technologies, the world of finance is transforming from CeFi to DeFi, ie, centralised financial system to decentralised financial system. CeFi and DeFi have become the new buzzwords.


While blockchain hit the mainstream and became a buzzword with bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency, its potential extends much further. By allowing digital information to be distributed and not copied, blockchain technology is gaining attention for its potential use in many industries. At its most basic, a blockchain is a time-stamped series of immutable data records that are managed by computers not owned by any single entity. Each block is secured and bound to the other using cryptographic principles, or the chain.

Blockchain networks tend to support principles like open access and permissionless use that should be familiar to proponents of the early internet. Unlike political regulation, blockchain governance is not emergent from the community.

Before we get started, make sure you've read Blockchain Explained: The Complete Guide Part 1 so that we're all on the same page. In today's post, we dive a little deeper into understanding the importance of blockchain technology in the business world and how it solves problems for the end user - me and you. Blockchain is a form of distributed ledger technology DLT that allows cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and other digitized information to move freely from one person to another without the involvement of a central party like a central bank. Blockchain technology utilizes computers or nodes on its network to verify a transaction simultaneously. Anyone with a computer can join the network and act as a transaction validator think bitcoin miners. These nodes approve the transaction, which is stored on multiple devices as a block of code. Any subsequent transaction of the same data-set is added to a chain hence blockchain to keep a historical record on the DLT hence distributed ledger , virtually eliminating the possibility of hack-attacks.

Close panel. Press Enter. These three technologies will mark a before and after in the banking sector in the years to come. New technologies have been a real revolution in the banking sector.


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