Second day of the Hyperledger Global Forum 2018 conference: reflection on the notion of trust intrinsically associated with Blockchain technology. In essence: should we and can we trust the blockchain?
Special envoy to Basel – Bruce Schneier, fellow and lecturer at Harvard Kennedy School, took advantage of the event to deepen the notion of trust in general, before making the connection with the Blockchain.
The latter is largely preceded by its reputation of being tamper-proof and therefore secure. But, is this really the case?
Think about the concept of trust before you trust
For the American lecturer, all this corresponds only to a ” narrow definition of trust That can be granted to the blockchain.
The technologies implemented around the blockchain correspond ” to a relative confidence in the degree of verificationOf it. But, to add that ” cannot replace trust with verification “.
To accredit such statements, Bruce Schneier, takes as an example ” the huge amount of trust placed in everyday life “. They are trusted by thousands of times every day. ” Trust is therefore a concept to which many definitions correspond. “.
This would be defined according to 4 different patterns: over-the-counter trust, contracts, trust through intermediaries and distributed trust.
Blockchain and trust inseparable?
With regard to the blockchain, intermediaries do exist, and it is necessary to trust computers, software …
The Blockchain does not therefore solve, according to him, the problem of trust, because if it reduces the number of intermediaries, there are still some.
And what about private blockchains? Do they provide a higher degree of confidence? This is where the private blockchain promoted by Hyperledger for business-centric applications comes in.
One thinks in particular of Hyperledger Ursa which consists of a shared cryptographic library allowing people (and projects) to avoid the duplication of other cryptographic work and to increase security.
The different Hyperledger frameworks (Fabric, Sawtooth, Burrow, Indy, Japanese Iroha…) are also associated with different consensus protocols depending on the applications and services for which they are intended.
Fabric is based on the BFT (byzantine fault tolerance) protocol with different variants ((PBFT, SBFT…), while Sawtooth has an innovative strategy called Proof of Time (Poet).
We are far from Proof of Work (PoW) which is the protocol of many crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin.
Finally, start-ups have understood that there are indeed weaknesses linked to the blockchain, in particular for the management of encryption keys. This is the case with Interxion, which offers a complete solution certified (requirements for cryptography modules) FIPS 140-2 Level 3 (FIPS being the acronym for Federal Information Processing Standards).