Blockchain at the service of transparency

In 2019, cryptocurrencies inspired by the pioneer Bitcoin are still in the spotlight. Behind the scenes, however, many companies are exploring other uses for blockchain-based distributed ledger technologies. And even if analysts believe that the market still lacks maturity, several projects are starting to pass the course of experimentation, to be more widely deployed. The French state itself has taken up the subject, through the creation of a blockchain task force, which held its first meeting on July 25, 2019.

Two major implementations frequently recur in initiatives from the professional world: on the one hand Hyperledger Fabric, an Open Source project hosted by the Linux Foundation; the other Ethereum, created by Vitalik Buterin, which presents itself as a programmable blockchain and has a native cryptocurrency. Hyperledger relies in particular on the projects of the Paris Chamber of Notaries or the Connecting Food platform, intended for the agro-food industry. For its part, Ethereum is the basis for Quorum, an open source blockchain platform, created by the bank J.P. Morgan and targeting in particular the financial sector; or Arianee, a certification solution intended for the luxury sector, deployed for example by the watch manufacturer Vacheron Constantin. The diversity of projects shows that technology provides answers to various problems, in many sectors: the fight against counterfeiting in the luxury or pharmaceutical industry; traceability in the food industry, health and logistics; evidence of data integrity for regulated professions and trusted third parties, or even self-management of a resource shared between several players, as with the frequency blockchain, launched by the ANFR at the end of 2018.
The Transparency

One concept is at the heart of all these uses: transparency. This is based on the ability of the blockchain to allow the sharing of information between all the actors (nodes) of the blockchain. As soon as they have the key, they can see the transactions already recorded in a chain, but also validate the addition of new blocks, on condition of reaching a consensus. Furthermore, once data is deposited in a blockchain, it is considered immutable (the distributed nature of the technology making any modification extremely difficult). This therefore makes it a technology of choice for collecting key information at each stage of the life cycle of a product or document, in a sustainable and secure manner.

Private Blockchain

Another common point of most of the projects mentioned is that they are private blockchains, managed by a consortium of actors. In this context, in addition to the transparency brought by technology, real governance is essential: it is necessary to establish precisely what data can be recorded in a chain, under what conditions each member participates in it, in particular on the technical and financial level, without forgetting the choice of consensus mechanisms.

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