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Evanston IL-CCN correspondent, Eric Eissler, covered a lecture at Northwestern University by Marie Wieck, general manager of IBM, Blockchain. Wieck has covered the industry, the history of the blockchain and talked about IBM’s Hyperledger project and how to address the challenges of digitization such as security of supply and supply. the food chain and digital identity.
IBM enters Blockchain
IBM started working on a blockchain project 3 or 4 years ago by forming a unit exclusively dedicated to technology with more than 1500 employees. Wieck noted that “we can not get enough people with skills in Blockchain” to fill all positions. She said the industry is hot and needs talent. “Despite all the benefits,” she continued, “blockchain is very hype and still very poorly understood.”
However, despite being hyped and misunderstood, Wieck went on to say that “on a lighter note, my opinion is that you know you’ve arrived in a technology when there are Dilbert cartoons on [blockchain]. You have now passed the point of the hype cycle and [blockchain] is now in the common lexicon. “A rather interesting note is that most people are focusing on the initial point of blockchain entry and the case of use, Bitcoin. They associate any blockchain with Bitcoin and this is not correct. There is so much more to blockchain than bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
In development: IBM Hyperledger
IBM entered the blockchain world with the question: is Blockchain the next generation of transaction systems?
“What we concluded,” explained Wieck, “is that no, it’s really a response to digitization and the scanning process.” She added, “It is important to understand the history of blockchain and what it is not.” She said Blockchain has its origins in digital transformation and disruption. Wieck pointed out that “Blockchain is the answer to the 2008 financial and mortgage crisis. It’s about knowing how to create the same type of model that you have in the actual anonymous trade, but in a digital world. “
In other words, how can you have “cash” transactions on the Internet? How can you rebuild the market experience?
The real world experience is that you go to a market and you find a book, you know its value and you know the value of your money. You talk to the seller, you get along, you agree on the right price, establish a value proposition, and then trade. You do not need to disclose your identity nor the seller to make the transaction. The question is: How do you do this in the digital world? Today, you can not do it anonymously because there is a mechanism that identifies you, your credit card, your wallet, and so on. This is very true if there are cross-border transactions as there are more actors and agencies your transaction. This is where the blockchain comes in and eliminates the middleman.
Hyperlégers address 3 challenges
IBM examined 3 major problems with the use of Ethereum as the basis for its blockchain:
- Proof of Work (POT): via mining is a process of high energy consumption where 40% of blockchain spending was on the same. mining in 2017. “There are other ways to solve the dual problem of non-mining expense.” We did not like this aspect of consuming a lot of resources without having a lot for it, said Wieck. . “
- Permissions : “Many IBM customers want to know who they are dealing with and there are ways to ensure confidentiality and confidentiality without being anonymous.” having permissions and anchoring the trust of who you work, we believe, actually increases the value of blockchains. “
- License Model: “IBM wants to use open source, it has to be there for a new technology platform like this,” Wieck said. This is very important because of the collaborative nature of Blockchains.
A year and a half ago, IBM approached Linux to work on the creation of the Hyperledger project. There are now more than 200 committed participants and it is the largest and fastest of all the Linux Foundation projects and he sees a lot of traction in other places.
Safety of food chain supply
Walmart has partnered with IBM to establish a map of the food supply chain in order to be able to track products to promote safety in the event of an outbreak of the original disease food. When hatching occurs, it takes weeks to go back to the source. Using blockchain in a fully connected supply system, it only took two seconds to trace the origin of the outbreak. For this to happen as quickly, competitors will need to cooperate and share logistical information. Despite this need for industry-wide collaboration, IBM has been able to reduce the time needed to trace the origin of outbreaks to days rather than weeks without blockchain technology in place.
Digital Identity Card – How do you know it’s you in the blockchain?
Wieck asked, “How can you replicate in a bank and produce a piece of ID to perform digital transactions?” She pointed out, “If you think about it, showing a driver’s license , you provide more information than you want. to: address, date of birth, etc. “
IBM works with Canadian SecureKey, which has a network of all major banks, the Government of Canada and Rogers Communications, to verify digital identity. SecureKey is a triple-blind system that gives you ownership of your identity. If someone needs to access your identity to confirm a transaction, they will only ask you for that specific information. For example, you go to a bar, the bouncer will have to check your age and showing a driver’s license gives more information than necessary. By using this blockchain, without providing more information than necessary, your age will be confirmed. So, for other transactions, you would be able to provide only the information needed to process and no more. Essentially, you take control of your own identity. Wieck drew a bigger picture saying, “Imagine that you can control your own credit report and remove a third party credit reporter who is vulnerable to hacks? It’s a much, much better system to keep your identity alive. all security. “
For more than 25 years at IBM, Marie Wieck has held various technical and executive positions in IBM hardware, software and services units. In January 2017, IBM appointed Wieck to its current position as General Manager of blockchain. She is responsible for IBM’s participation in the Hyperledger project: an open blockchain ecosystem for developers and service providers.
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