illustration with word cloud with the word blockchain.

The Promise of Blockchain and The Risk of Adoption

I read with interest last week a blog by Robert Herjavec titled: Blockchain Technology Is Here to Stay. There are some predictions about blockchain being a fundamental business enabler and how it will disrupt a number of sectors from finance to real estate and transportation. That I agree. We’re already seeing the financial sector pursuing an aggressive strategy for adoption. Just look at the announcement by SWIFT last October on their successful trial of blockchain. Swift Blockchain Success Sets Stage for Sibos

What stood out for me in Robert’s blog is the comment: “The best part of this technology is that transactions cannot be altered!” 

One only has to do a google search to find several hacks on blockchain and crypto currency to see the financial impact. Want more proof on the risk of blockchain and how it can be hacked? Here is a good article titled:  Can The Blockchain Be Hacked?  published in Sept. 2017.

Blockchain is an open and cryptographically signed ledger based on hashing and cryptographic private/public key technology. With the evolution of quantum computing comes the possibility of quantum attacks on blockchain and its inherent reliance on cryptographic keys. There is plenty of research and publication on how blockchain, thru quantum computing, is vulnerable. (Do some research on the Grover and Shor algorithms)

The risk of blockchain deployment and lack of standards have not gone unnoticed and has led the US Congress in 2017 to enact “The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act,”. Included in this act is a directive to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a post quantum cryptography standard. This is where “Key Shadowing” will have to be considered.

While the market races to adopt blockchain the risks are many. Finding qualified blockchain expertise, addressing the “single point of failure” of key management systems to overcoming the threat of quantum computing on cryptographic keys it will be a bumpy ride for adoption fraught with risks.

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