A blockchain is nothing more than a technology used to back up and verify data and transactions. Blockchains are characterized by a high degree of redundancy – it is, therefore, impossible to influence the entire chain by decommissioning a single system. Each computer that is part of the blockchain has the complete record stored.
This results in advantages: transactions become counterfeit-proof. Although it is theoretically possible to manipulate a data block. However, the required computational power would be so high that this theoretical possibility has no practical relevance: It would take at least 51 per cent of the computing power of the entire blockchain to perform a manipulation.
However, the Bitcoin network, perhaps the best-known user of the technology, has so much global computing power that in practice, a transaction would not be fake with virtually no effort. Each transaction is also traceable to all subscribers since a blockchain like that of Bitcoin is public. However, it is also possible to operate a “private blockchain” in which only selected nodes work.
Criticism of the model
On the one hand, these features are desirable, but on the other, they also present the potential for problems. The Bitcoin blockchain is already being criticized due to its enormous energy consumption devices. Of course, since each transaction is processed by each node, processing power is required. That’s why most people do not pay for digging the virtual currency – the hardware costs and the energy costs that would be needed to generate a financial profit are simply too high.
Another side effect of the Bitcoin boom is a sharp increase in the price of certain graphics cards: Most of the computing power comes in modern PCs no longer from the CPUs but from graphics cards. These have a much higher transistor density than processors. For this reason, compute-intensive tasks – such as in video and image processing – are given by the programs used for processing directly to the graphics processor (GPU). Due to the increased demand, some graphics card manufacturers have even rumoredly tried to enforce maximum deliveries for GPUs.
Security and trust
Apart from these obstacles, Blockchain technology offers industrial applications, especially in cases where data integrity and confidentiality are of paramount importance. Examples are software updates and manufacturing data.
The importance of software updates cannot be emphasized enough. Also that a software update should always come from a trusted source, should be new to anyone. Just the latter can be realized well with a blockchain. For example, a device might have its own “wallet” or user account that handles updates. This ensures that an update has been installed on the device and that the updated update actually comes from an official source.
There are already the first business models in which a blockchain is used for licensing. Especially in areas where the quick availability of spare parts is important, the technology can score points. Instead of getting a spare part out of the warehouse, packing it and sending it by courier to a receiver at the other end of the world, maintenance companies could also manufacture the parts themselves at short notice – using encrypted and Internet-based methods – such as 3D printing Manufacturing specifications of the manufacturer and without waiting times and logistics overhead. This speeds up repairs and significantly reduces repair-related downtime.
However, as manufacturers strive to ensure that manufacturing data is not “secondarily used”, manufacturers can use a blockchain to create a so-called smart contract. Even if the term sounds more like contractual law, a smart contract is nothing more than a blockchain-predefined process that runs when certain conditions are met – much like a computer program.
Here, for example, a license to print can be issued via Blockchain. The manufacturer gives the recipient the permission to produce a specific spare part in a given number of units in a specific machine. A blockchain-secured process would also ensure that no manipulated data enters a manufacturing facility – a factor that is important in any value chain, regardless of software distribution or industrial manufacturing. So back up, reports of “factory-made” malicious smartphones may be a thing of the past.
Blockchain technology is not the answer (to everything)
In all praise for the blessings of the blockchain: The technology is not an end in itself. For example, it is not suitable for highly time-critical applications. Where reactions are needed within a few milliseconds, such as in autonomous vehicles, more local technologies are used.
Even legal is not everything in the matter of Blockchain sunshine. Although the correctness of data or the possession of a thing can be well verified and documented in it, the blockchain (yet?) Can not represent any legal basis.
Although a contract could be signed by the contractors using the technology, such a contract could not be easily annulled or changed, as long as legal concerns arise. Even a legally immoral and therefore void contract would still be valid within the blockchain.
In addition, some of the characteristics of the technology legal provisions are contrary: On the one hand, there is a legally required deletion of data after a certain period of time, however, the final deletion of data in the basic idea of ?? Blockchain does not occur.
All in all, we have a versatile and promising technology here. In the overall context, however, this is still in its infancy. Much has yet to be researched, tried and tested for legal intricacies. Here’s the English phrase “You must learn to walk before you can run” (you have to learn to walk before you can run).