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In the future will we have anti-blockchains?

by Dave Aron  |  January 17, 2019  |  Comments Off on In the future will we have anti-blockchains?

As we all know, blockchain is one of the hottest topics at the moment. And one of the features of blockchain and other distributed ledger architectures is, even without a central authority, the ability to have your transactions never forgotten.

Ironically, another powerful global trend is increased regulation and concerns about privacy, including the right to be forgotten.

It seems like one potential future is a future where organizations don’t aim to build up and keep big databases about their customers and other stakeholders, but instead allow their customers to have sovereignty of their own data, have a trusted relationship with them, and just ask the customer’s data agent for the minimum amount of data when they need it, and keep it for as short amount of time as possible. So, for example, I don’t need to keep your date of birth on file, or even know it temporarily, if I have a trusted way of asking you reliably “Are you over 21?”. A sort of minimum viable data approach.

If we extend this to an ecosystem, rather than a one-on-one supplier-customer relationship, we could imagine new paradigms that were kind of similar to blockchain, but designed to achieve the opposite effect; designed to allow information to be help in a distributed fashion, but to ensure that information disappeared completely from the ecosystem in a specific amount of time. Maybe using stuff like distributed ledger technology + zero knowledge computing or suchlike.

In my head, I wanted to call such things dropchains, but a scan of the internet revealed that dropchain is a already taken (a food supply chain blockchain project). So, perhaps we could call such architectures anti-blockchains for now.

Just like many blockchain-based projects, there will be many situations where this can be achieved without any of the fancy distributed ledger technology, but some might benefit from it.

I wonder if and when we will we start hearing about anti-blockchains?

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Dave Aron
VP & Gartner Fellow
9 years with Gartner
26 years in IT industry

Dave Aron is a vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner's CIO Research group, focusing on IT leadership issues. Mr. Aron is a thought leader on business and IT strategy, mergers and acquisitions, CEO-CFO-CIO interactions, benefits realization, governance….Read Full Bio




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