IBM Highlights 5 Principles to Build Blockchain Trust and Value

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  • IBM lists five principles of blockchain technology that can help increase its trust and value within enterprises 
  • IBM proposes that open blockchains are better and can accelerate native innovation and development
  • Common standard contracts could lay groundwork for global blockchain standards

IBM is one of the pioneers of the enterprise blockchain space, and in their role as a market leader they are in prime position to suggest how enterprise blockchains should be engineered. In this month’s issue of Supply Chain Digital magazine, Big Blue has put together a list of five principles around which enterprise blockchains should be built if they are to benefit all participants in a network.

Open is better – Developers should avoid closed blockchains where possible, as open source blockchains allow for innovation and lead to an improvement of code quality and strength over time. Using open source blockchains can increase the rate of innovation and reduce overall costs.

Permissioned doesn’t mean private – IBM says that organizations using blockchains should build them on a principle of “permissioned and trusted access”. This means that organizations implementing the technology should opt for the less restrictive permissioned system as opposed to a completely private one in order to foster a sense of trust between the entities on the blockchain.

Governance is a team sport – IBM says that enterprise blockchains should “embrace distributed and transparent governance”, which they say will “prevent undue concentrations of influence” and will enable networks to “serve the requirements of participants.” It might be difficult for companies working with each other for the first time to have equal trust in each other, especially where a new technology is involved, but clearly IBM believes that equal governance is the best way for blockchain technology to flourish.

Common standards are common sense – IBM believes that enterprise blockchains should be modelled around common standards “with interoperability in mind”. Interoperability and a common standards approach can “futureproof” networks, preventing the existing issues of vendor lock-in and encouraging a “robust ecosystem of innovators.”

Privacy is paramount – Allied to the point on permissioned systems, IBM are clear to state that participants on an enterprise blockchain network must be able to control who can access the data and under what conditions. Clearly, not everyone within the network should be given full access, and access levels should be clearly established up front, while the rights to the data on the blockchain “should always belong to the creator.”

Common Standards Could Lay Groundwork

IBM clearly believes that if blockchain technology is to take off there can be no secrecy between parties, which is ironic for a technology that essentially cuts out the need to trust other parties. However, IBM makes very salient points, especially when it comes to common standards, which is something blockchain is lacking right now, leading to companies having to work together to come up with their own standards.

Developments such as this can only be good for the space and could help lay the groundwork for generic blockchain network contracts in the future.