Much like the arrival of the world wide web in the mid-1990s, when it was brought to the general public’s attention and consumption, there were numerous and wide-ranging misconceptions of the nascent technology. Over time, this was sorted out with access and widespread adoption. It is estimated that in 2018 over 50% of the world’s population, or 4 billion people, now have internet access.
Many argue that we are at the same place again, this time with Blockchain. Much of the current confusion is derived from the first and most prominent use case: Bitcoin. Granted, Bitcoin catapulted Blockchain into the mainstream. But, inappropriately, it also branded the two technologies as being one and the same. Fortunately, this is eroding with the realization that Blockchain has vast use-case application of a consensus-based distributed and tamper-proof ledger. And, as the internet has never stopped changing, improving, and making history, the same will likely be said about Blockchain. With that, there are several misconceptions regarding Blockchain:
Misconception #1: Blockchain is a public database and lacks privacy
Many have fallen into the belief that a Blockchain has to serve as a database and is the sole custodian of data. This clearly was the result of the Bitcoin Blockchain architecture where every transaction since origin is posted, verified, and viewable by anyone. This is a necessity for this use-case. It did not take long for many others to come to the realization that an immutable and tamper-proof history of data, i.e. what happened, when, by whom and in what order would prove to be a compelling argument for widespread adoption. The vast number of real-world uses cases, however, accept, hold, process, and transmit vast amounts of private and sensitive information. Factor in regulatory fines and reputational damage for the mishandling or loss of sensitive data, it becomes quickly clear that an open, centralized and un-permissioned ledger is not the solution for the vast amounts of real-world use cases.
This prompted many to re-think how to capture the benefits of a distributed and tamper-proof ledger while keeping critical data private and secure. Clearly, a hybrid Blockchain approach was needed and ULedger provides the solution. At ULedger, we have created a hybrid (private/public) Blockchain that enables data immutability without the need for system-wide consensus. This allows companies to keep their data private while still benefiting from the consensus mechanisms inherent with Blockchain. With ULedger, each company has their own independent Blockchain -or- multiple Blockchains. Independent ULedger Blockchains in our network then cross-certify each other’s data without requiring sharing of the underlying data.
Misconception #2: Blockchain is not scalable
Blockchain has also received an unfair scalability reputation, thanks again to Bitcoin. On average, the Bitcoin Blockchain is able to process 7 transactions per second. Contrast that with Ethereum (20 transactions per second) and Ripple (1,500 transactions per second). One of the main reasons that the Bitcoin and Ethereum chains are slow is because of the fact that so many competing participants are required to validate transactions to reach a consensus on the order of events. Clearly, for enterprises, these transaction limitations are an issue. Private Blockchains, on the other hand, solve for many of the public shortcomings including transaction speeds, costs, access control, and resource consumption. However, there are varying degrees of consensus and immutability associated with private Blockchains. ULedger, realizing enterprise requirements, has constructed the best of both worlds: A hybrid approach that ensures that the underlying data remains secure and private while benefiting from a scalable, distributed and tamper-proof ledger. With the ULedger solution, our customers are able to preserve the privacy of confidential and personal information while receiving Blockchain benefits. This approach delivers a highly scalable solution intended for enterprise data loads and security requirements.
Misconception #3: Blockchain is only for the large enterprise
Many large enterprises are considering, planning, or deploying Blockchain within their existing technology infrastructure. Smaller enterprises, however, may not have the resources to be as aggressive. And, quite common with the lack of resources comes insufficient understanding and the equivalent confusion regarding the requisite steps to deploy a Blockchain application. Uncertainties are centered along several recurring themes:
Contrasting other enterprise solutions that typically charge for professional services, fixed monthly charges for each Blockchain implementation and node, the ULedger Blockchain solution is competitively priced. And, efficiencies by virtue of our API produce savings in terms of valuable enterprise resources: time, transactions costs, initial and ongoing maintenance.
- Disruption and Complication:
IT infrastructure changes can be complex and require exhaustive planning and testing before deployment. With ULedger’s Blockchain, there will be no required changes to your current systems, flows or processes. Our API sits on top of your existing technology infrastructure, eliminating the need for an expensive overhaul and alleviating changes, complications, and disruptions.
- Deployment Time:
When the decision is made to move forward with a Blockchain integration, a crucial component of the evaluation process needs to include the associated time required to deploy. Depending on the amount of heavy lifting that an organization wishes to undertake, the time to deployment can be significantly drawn-out. There are numerous Blockchain alternatives in the current marketplace with differing deployment complexities, costs, and time requirements. Enterprises need to look towards a Blockchain solution that keeps crucial time resources at top of mind. ULedger’s API is designed for a fast and seamless integration to an existing data management environment. This significantly reduces the time to a successful Blockchain deployment.
ULedger is designed to be minimally invasive to an existing technology infrastructure via REST-ful API standards allowing for ease of integration to existing data management environments. Through this process, each database underpinned by ULedger becomes its own Blockchain. As a result, an entity can have more than one Blockchain. ULedger hashes and timestamps the metadata (description of the data) of all transactions that occur on the database(s) and then the hash, timestamp, and metadata are posted to a public network of ULedger Blockchain nodes.
Our hybrid approach ensures that the underlying data remains secure and private while benefiting from a distributed and tamper-proof ledger. This approach also delivers a highly scalable solution intended for enterprise data loads and security requirements.