Deepening Blockchain Governance Toolkit with Two-Factor Authentication 2FA

tyntec_screencast

Datarella demoed a new PoC for off-chain governance with our friends from tyntec at the TADSummit in Lisbon, Portugal this week. Using tyntec’s 2FA service we were able to demonstrate a proof of concept for using strong authenication to secure an Ethereum transaction. This is one elementary piece of the puzzle for creating robust governance structures for the blockchain.

What’s blocking the blockchain from going mainstream? Datarella and tyntec at TADSummit Lisbon 2018

One of the main issues holding back adoption of blockchain-based applications is that we’re still at a pretty basic level when it comes to governance.  Much ink has been spilled over the parity multisig wallet bug and the hack of the DAO. The exact causes of those incidents are beyond the scope of this article but both have to do with complexity and with finality.

One of the major selling points of Ethereum it utilizes the solidity programming language, which is Turing complete. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because this makes it technically possible to build very complex smart contracts which are capable of doing just about anything – that’s a big part of the promise of blockchain. The curse part of the equation is the fact that these complex programs may have unforseen bugs which end up irrevocably committing transactions on a large scale to public blockchains.  This is where finality comes into play. Once approved Ethereum transactions are subject to increasing probabilistic finality. 

In layman’s terms this means that there are no chargebacks, no refunds, no do overs and no room for error. The combination of complexity and probabilistic finality means that if we want to build blockchain applications that are ready for mass adoption we will need significantly improved safeguards and governance before transactions are committed to the blockchain.

In order to be useful, systems that transfer value have to exhibit some kind of finality. When you use a credit card to purchase a latte at your local store the money is transferred on a centralized ledger maintained by visa or mastercard. The money stays transferred unless there is a dispute. If you discover fraudulent charges on your card you just call your bank and prove your identity.  They roll back the charges on your account and an insurer takes care of the damage done. In other words, in the credit card system, finality is limited but sufficient and flexible. In the blockchain world what you commit to the chain remains on the chain. If you loose your private key or a bug in some complex code allows an unintended value transfer, it’s game over.

We can’t change the finality of blockchain and in most public cases we don’t want to. What would be nice is if we could put additonal controls on what the holder of a private key can do. This is useful as a component of our developing blockchain governance toolkit in a number of situations.

Some example use cases:

  • Resetting access to a wallet
  • Restricting malicous transaction attempts
  • Enabling multiparty quorum transactions without relying on complex on-chain multisig wallets
  • Off-chain voting mechanisms

Take a look at the video of the demo above. What we’ve implemented is a smart contract which requires a one time password provided by the tyntec 2FA API in addition to the private key before any transaction can be finalized on-chain. This opens the door to all sorts of governace options which we’re working on for our product RAAY and as part of the Codelegit arbitration libraries which we provide to the Blockchain Arbitration Forum.

We’d like to thank the awesome team of tyntec for their continuing collaboration on this. We’re really looking forward to the role such tech can play in moving blockchain-based governance procedures forward.

Blockchain Project in Humanitarian Supply Chain – Datarella and UK Gov. DFID

We at Datarella are very proud to announce that we will work with the British Government Department for International Development (DFID) to develop a pilot project on the topic of “Blockchain in Humanitarian Supply Chains“!

The project is supported by the DFID innovation and future technologies programme, Frontier Technology Livestreaming. They source ways of improving how DFID works across the world using new technologies from DFID staff. Naturally, blockchain is one of those technologies, and supply chain operations is a very applicable area for this technology for three main reasons:

1. Transparency – Humanitarian supply chains could benefit from having the right tools to achieve increased transparency in a secure manner. More transparency could also facilitate collaboration across organisations.

2. Efficiency – If the operatives working at organisations in DFID and similar organisations (e.g. USAID, the UN World Food Programme, etc.) could rely more on the quality of data, they could focus on other matters. This could contribute to decreased “shrinkage” and thus improved efficiency as more goods are delivered to those in need.

3. Collaboration – Having a shared database of goods, shipments and importantly accountability, where many can write and read, but not change the history, is an ideal setup for collaboration. This could enable the creation of standards for data models and improved service to both those funding (mostly tax payers) and those on the receiving end.

With these prerequisites in mind, we are looking forward to the coming phases and sprints of the pilot where we will implement a live blockchain solution, hopefully of great use to many people, especially those in need of immediate and unconditional aid.

The project consists of building a blockchain-based system to track a shipment of plastic sheeting shelter kits (try to say that ten times in a row) from an offshore warehouse, by multiple logistics service providers to a country where they are needed. There they have to be cleared through customs, meaning that a consignee will need to assume responsibility for the shipment. This will also be tracked using a smart contract. Thereafter, a so-called implementing partner will start transporting and deploying the kits within the country.

If you have experience or are interested in learning more about this project and blockchain in humanitarian supply chains, feel free to @ @mountbranch or @datarella on twitter! Also, here’s a link to a Medium post by FTL themselves about the initial phase of the project!

Datarella: Mentoring Blockchain for the FC Bayern Hackdays

We are proud to support FC Bayern, Germany’s leading soccer club on their Hackathon:

Thinking of fan experiences and services in a new way. Testing and applying innovative and new technologies within and outside the stadium. Bringing the emotional connection of our club to life even more through technology and digital infrastructure. Learning from each other and creating new things together.
For the first time, FC Bayern Munich will host, together with its fans, partners, leading experts, start-ups and students from all over the world, the #FCBayernHackDays to learn together, face new challenges and to research new innovative possibilities.

Link to the event: hackdays.fcbayern.com

Blockchain Meetup 9: Blockchain, Quo Vadis?

Rob Habermeier

On blocks, tangles and meta-chains – what is the next step for Blockchain?

This time, we will return to the more technical aspects of blockchain: what is the actual state of different platforms, what’s going on with Bitcoin, IOTA, etc., and where does this all lead us to?

In the first talk, Datarella CEO Joerg Blumtritt will provide us with an outlook, especially on the following aspects:

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The Blockchain Killer App

At yesterday’s Blockshow Europe , a one day blockchain conference by Cointelegraph, I’ve seen the blockchain killer app. At least, these were the words on the first slide of a startup pitch. Oh Lord, won’t you build me a blockchain killer app? My friends all build features, I must make amends. Really?

Man wants to populate Mars, to live forever and to create unicorned products. That’s true especially in the field of blockchain: a modern wild west scenario enabling anyone with either a computer becoming a blockchain node or using some change money to participate in the latest ICO to make a fortune. Some do and bet on the right horse, most don’t. And that’s perfectly fine – no new foundational technolgy ever came without some supersized creativity at the beginning.

Investing in crypto currencies seems to be a relatively sure bet these days, since the crypto market has been steadily growing in its entirety. Just check the numbers from time to time and you will see an amazing growth of the crypto market capitalization of $10bn in the last 6 months alone.. Still: you easily lose all your money due to a very high volatility even of the Top 10 currencies adding or losing billions of value from one week to another.

However, the currency aspect of digital tokens is just one perspective of the field of blockchain, and a quite non-technological one. Another aspect is the use of the blockchain as a foundational technology layer on top of the internet. Most experts agree that blockchain will significantly change conventional transactions. And nearly everybody is looking for the holy blockchain grail – the killer app, or – as we should say – the killer Dapp – since it would be a distributed app. Quibbling aside, my feeling is that there won’t be a killer dapp. I’m totally with Benedict Evans of A16Z, who stated:

Looking at a strategy doc I worked on in 2006. All the ‘next big things’ weren’t. Then they came back as check-box features in every app

Having worked in the blockchain space with industrial, financial services and media clients for two years now, I’d suggest not to look for or believe someone telling you that she had built a killer app. What the market really needs isn’t the fancy disruption but rather the boring evolutionary approach: hundreds, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of incremental optimizations. Sure, these little improvements are based on a completely different technology, that means you do have a certain disruptive aspect here: the “getting rid of the middleman” stories could be sold as some kind of disruption – but middlemen have been an endangered species for a long time already – that’s not to be credited to blockchain.

Most people don’t like changes. Most managers don’t like changes. So, why not throwing away the sword of Damocles like disruption talk and start collaborating, inventing and creating useful products and services that are relevant to many more people than to founding team of a startup only? The old world, the not-yet-familiar-with-blockchain world, is ready for blockchain. Most companies are more open and willing to embrace this new technology than the typical crypto nerd might imagine. The thing is – nobody wants to be laughed at, because he isn’t familiar with the game theory assumptions of PoW. There is plenty of room for collaboration between the crypto blockchain nerds and the old world.

In 2017, corporations are ready to embrace blockchain. And that’s why, in my opinion, clever startups analyze the needs of the market, come up with blockchain solutions for the real world and will then be rewared with great collaboration opportunities. We see that already happening and i hope we’ll see even more startups jumping on that train.

That’s it.

Blockchain Meetup 6: IoT Blockchained

Dirk Siegel

We are very happy to have Dr. Dirk Siegel, Partner of Deloitte, to discuss the question: Blockchain and IoT – A promising model?

Dirk is Partner with Deloitte and leads the Deloitte Blockchain Institute in Germany. He has 25 years of consulting experience in Financial Services, both Banking and Insurance. Throughout his career he has been exploring the interplay between business processes and technology. Dirk holds a PhD in Applied Mathematics from Cambridge University.

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Blockchain Meetup 4: Finance Industry Blockchain Use Cases

Dr. Markus Hablizel

After our deep dives into Ethereum Solidity, some Ethereum showcases in the energy sector with RWE and last meetup’s cultural shock with Meredith L. Patterson facing us with major security issues of Turing-complete machines, we want to focus on the finance industry and its respective blockchain use cases in this meetup.

We are very happy to have Dr. Markus Hablizel, blockchain evangelist (the organizer’s wording) of Allianz, an insurance company, presenting some perspectives of corporate blockchain use cases.

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The biggest thing in tech 2015-2025?

From time to time we contemplate about which developments, movements or innovations are those that really matter, and that make this frequently mentioned difference. The results of these intellectual games must be subjective and are generated from a uniquely individual perspective. Things get fascinating, though, if you’re convinced that a specific development not only qualifies as your personal No 1 but should be on many people’s A-list. 

Speaking of technology, my personal No 1 which back in 2009 was ‚Apps’, since 2015 is „Blockchain“. Beside developments such as VR and AR that certainly will honour their promises, the blockchain will fundamentally change the way we use the internet. You can regard it as a layer on top of the internet which allows a completely different approach to transactions – i.e. the end-user perspective – and supply chains – i.e. B2B perspective.

Without summing up and repeating all aspects of a blockchain, let’s focus on just one aspect (which, by the way, is the only reason for using  a blockchain, anyway) – the automated consensus made possible by smart contracts. A smart contract is an algorithm defining and executing a set of rules, i.e. without an additional notary service deciding upon whether all contracting parties comply with all rules. Now, without knowing the technical details behind smart contracts, just ask yourself: how many manually executed processes immediately pop up in your mind that could be substituted by an automated process that minimizes time and costs.

VR and AR have been around for years now. Many companies have been founded, many have been shut down. From my perspective, both, AI and AR, need new use cases and new hardware  to demonstrate their raisons d’être. That’s why it takes so long until they can really demonstrate their added value.

Don’t get me wrong – I can see the sexiness of many VR and AR prototypes. But, still, our world is heading towards automated processes; i.e. automatisations of already existing processes. And here the blockchain comes into play: it’s the great enabler of this global development. That’s why I hereby submit that in 2025, the blockchain will be regarded as the biggest development in technology of the last 10 years.

Comments?

PS: This posts reflects my personal view which is not necessarily congruent with the Datarella team member’s

Blockchain Meetup 2: Global Chained Delivery Network

Carsten Stöcker, RWE AG, working in the ‘RWE Innovation Hub’ on blockchain technology use cases, will present and discuss his perspective on:

A Global Chained Delivery Network

• Sharing, Decentralisation, Access to Assets, New Forms of Value Exchange

• Physical Delivery and different types of delivery networks

• Chained Delivery Networks

• Example Use Cases

Some of us might have heard about this project of Carsten’s team: a teamwork with slock.it to explore some use cases in the energy sector.

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Let’s discuss all things Ethereum at our Ethereum Munich Meetup

More and more Big Data projects we with Datarella are involved in demand not only administrative or legal security layers but also state-of-the-art technical frameworks to provide the maximum security there is for business as well as petsonal data.

To provide our clients with sustainable solutions we have partnered with Ethereum and its spin-off Ethcore. The Ethereum framework enables us to build business models on top of it, using a very sophisticated blockchain approach, smart contracts and elements of the DAO concept and finally, our own product, the Datarella Data Trust.

Since the blockchain, smart contracts, DAO and especially Ethereum are quite new to the Big Data scene, we aim to make them better known to a broader audience. So we have started the Ethereum Munich Meetup as a platform for presentations, discussions and development of Ethereum-based ideas, concepts, use cases, projects, etc..

If you are interested in all things Ethereum feel invited to our regular meetups!