This unique technology lies at the intersection of computing, economics, and game theory. Obscured in the technical detail is a powerful and straight forward idea.
Simply put: a blockchain is a data structure that publicly secures records.
→ Records are submitted as transactions and publicly verified by network participants known as nodes, that are financially incentivised to secure the network.
→ Each record may contain any kind of data, making the applications of the technology endless.
→ A blockchain is an indelible, permanent, immutable trail of transactions comprising blocks of data publicly linked using hashes or block headers.
→ A record or transaction cannot be deleted. Rather, records are updated or corrected by publishing a new record in a subsequent block.
→ The publication of the chain of blocks makes a proof-of-work blockchain secure. This enables the creation of data that is immutable and consequently trusted.
Like traditional paper-based double-entry bookkeeping ledgers, or more modern write once read many (WORM) systems, if any records have to be updated or errors corrected, values can be added. The difference is that on the blockchain, values, including errors, cannot be deleted and remain in the record even after corrections. This is to ensure the integrity of data, particularly when being updated and amended.
Node operators or network miners publicly announce authorised transactions on the network and update the blockchain through the creation of blocks.
The miner who wins the right to confirm a transaction and add it onto the blockchain must confirm the integrity and validity of the requested transaction, including that the amount to be spent has not already been spent and other rules of the protocol.
A block of transactions is only considered completely final when 100 further blocks are built on top—a time frame within which block rewards cannot yet be spent.
Records are permanent once they are added onto the blockchain, which means that they can’t be removed. They can be corrected by posting updated records.
The BSV blockchain, on which we build, presents a fixed protocol, which allows developers to build with the reassurance that their applications may still function in the future, saving development costs and ensuring access to the information stored on the blockchain.
The BSV blockchain has a roadmap for continuously increasing the number of transactions the system can handle, ensuring the network stays ahead of growing adoption, including peak times.
Given the permanence and worldwide distribution of blockchain enabled record keeping, this technology poses unique challenges for data handling and the enterprises that want to take advantage of its unique properties.
Regulations such as the EU’s GDPR impose strict rules that data handlers and processers must respect. The goal of protecting the privacy and personal data of individuals is one we share at nChain. We work with our customers so that only securely masked data is added to the blockchain. This means that no Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is ever made public through nChain products or solutions.
We have integrated data protection into our products, so all our customers remain compliant with industry best practice for legislation such as GDPR.
Kensei, our data integrity platform, uses a hybrid model (combining on-chain and off-chain storage) that securely masks data before adding it to the blockchain.
Data sovereignty or localisation initiatives aim to address where data needs to be stored.
Data sovereignty or localisation initiatives aim to address where data needs to be stored. While the EU’s GDPR has rules on how data can be transferred and stored to protect data privacy, these rules are distinct from sovereignty concerns. nChain has processes in place to address enterprises that are subject to data sovereignty regulations. This process may include local instances to process and store data in specific locations.
Ultimately, a customers’ data can remain within a designated jurisdiction with only securely masked data, indecipherable to the public, written to the public record. Through thoughtful design and implementation, we ensure customers can leverage the value of a public blockchain and employ industry best practice for all the applicable data governance regulations.
Contact us if you have question on using the blockchain while safeguarding your privacy and sovereignty.