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Blockchain, beyond the buzz

Beyond the buzz

Nicolas Kozakiewicz

Head of R&D and Innovation

Blockchain has been the talk of the town for a while now but what is it really? Let’s start by saying what it is not… Blockchain is not just about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies or even just financial services. Of course, these are the most commonly-known applications of this technology but Blockchain is capable of a lot more and can be applied to a wide variety of verticals. Indeed, being a communication protocol, Blockchain is basically a decentralized governance enabling peers, who share the same goal, to trace and log events, or data, without the need for the peers to know and trust each other. Unlike centralized governance, it does not need a trusted third party and is, by design, secured and scalable. Peers are anonymously authenticated and access to data can be easily tailored. Blockchain is also very versatile as it can be easily interfaced with any Information System since it is a standalone protocol that can be implemented via simple APIs.

"Blockchain can be compared to a communication plane* where all peers, within said plane, are masters of the data logged in that plane."

* a surface on which a line joins any two points on it

Beyond the application of Blockchain for cryptocurrencies, this protocol is currently being used for several different use cases around the world. For example, in Sweden, Blockchain is being implemented in the real estate industry to register and record land titles in a bid to digitize real estate processes. Finally, the NASDAQ is also using the Blockchain protocol for their assets and transactions internal management system.

"Blockchain does not per say host data but traces and facilitates secured access to data hosted in the Cloud."

Innovation being at the core of our DNA, we created a Blockchain Workforce at Worldline, and within the larger Atos Group. Not only does this Workforce educate our colleagues, our customers and our partners on this technology, it also actively contributes to open source and collaborative projects.

Additionally, Worldline is intensively working on several uses of the Blockchain technology within our industries. In this context, we create PoCs around the main usages of a Blockchain. Such demos include the Car Maintenance Book and Smart Corporate Bonds. We are also exploring the use of the Blockchain technology in verticals such as e-Health, logistics, payments and e-IDentification.

In regards to the use of the Blockchain technology in e-Health, as shown in the below illustration, it allows for a traceable and regulated access to a patient’s health data, hosted on a secured Cloud independent of the Blockchain. What data can be accessed by which e-Health third party is defined in the Blockchain and access is granted by combining the patient’s key and the unique key given to each third party, such as a pharmacy, a doctor, an hospital…

"Blockchain by Worldline is the new multimarket trust-aceable protocol for End 2 End Digital Services."

Blockchain could be the ideal tool to solve issues that currently do not have appropriate solutions and, as discussed previously, could be used in a wide variety of verticals such as energy, insurance, media, voting, transport and IoT, to name a few. It is a disruptive technology and industries, companies and governments will need to adapt to this new approach but its highly secured and scalable nature makes it a viable technology for the long term.