Blockchains: How they work and why they’ll change the world.
⛓ Morgan Peck provides an overview
of the tech behind Bitcoin and Ethereum and the potential impact on the financial industry. In 2014, R3
(a group of top financial institutions) explored how the blockchain could be used to “improve the efficiency of payments between banks
”. 💸 However, in comparison to cryptocurrencies:
Financial institutions are also legally required to protect customer data and control its export across national or regional lines. Given that public blockchains replicate the entire transaction record on every computer in the network, it’s impossible to restrict the chain of custody while using them.
Thus was born the “permissioned ledger” approach to blockchain technology. In a permissioned ledger, the identity of people adding blocks is known, and data in the system is viewable only by selected parties. Because the right to create new blocks is assigned by the people who run the code rather than by a lottery, there is no need for proof-of-work mining or a cryptocurrency to pay for it.
Furthermore, Peck discusses the problems around smart contracts –> blockchains can’t store much data and are unaware of what is going on in the real world as blockchains were never designed to query websites. This means all external information needs to be “injected” in by a “trusted” third party. 🤔 For example, if a smart contract is a “flight insurance system”, information on whether a flight takes off and lands would need to be “injected” into the system. 🛩
Also, in the context of healthcare
, a recent Black Book
survey finds that
“blockchain is increasingly being viewed as a potential solution to numerous IT problems, such as connectivity issues, data privacy concerns, and patient record sharing barriers
”. 🏥 Interestingly - the findings point out the “lack of technical standards” is causing “regulatory uncertainty” - which is perhaps causing the slow adoption. 💡
Should the government be helping charities prepare for the GDPR?
🔍 A survey
of more the 300 UK charities by the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) revealed that a fifth of charities have not yet taken any steps to prepare
for the more stringent data protection regulation. 😳 The biggest challenge, cited by 72% of respondents, is a “lack of clear guidance”:
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has not yet published its final guidance on consent, but the law is written and final and the commissioner has put out a range of resources for all organisations to think about the new law.
How can collaboration technologies boost business performance?
📈 Neat research report by Accenture
explaining the importance of using collaboration technologies
to “shape how work is performed and enable teamwork that leads to better results, greater innovation and higher productivity
”. 👍 Importantly, collaboration means “working together” - so co-labouring, not just co-talking
. For example -
Increasingly, companies are embracing new operating models in which multiple organizations—the company, its vendors, its outsourcers, its partners and others—work together toward a unified goal. Such an operating model will be successful only if people from the different organisations collaborate effectively.
What does anonymous data reveal about our lives?
Long write-up by DJ Pangburn exploring
how much insight can be gained from accessing raw anonymous location data
. 😬 Pangburn asked Gilad Lotan, now vice president of BuzzFeed’s data science team, to “look at a month’s worth of two different users’ anonymised location data, and to come up with individual profiles that were as accurate as possible
”. Lotan discusses the type of personal information which can be derived and how this is used by advertisers to personalise, segment and figure out “how to sell to people based on a better understanding of them
Does the Equifax hack have the hallmarks of state-sponsored pros?
EXCELLENT article by Michael Riley, Jordan Robertson and Anita Sharpe covering how the Equifax intruders
“used techniques that have been linked to nation-state hackers in the past”:
Besides amassing data on nearly every American adult, the hackers also sought information on specific people. It’s not clear exactly why, but there are at least two possibilities: They were looking for high-net-worth individuals to defraud, or they wanted the financial details of people with potential intelligence value.
How British courts may unlock secrets
of how Trump campaign profiled US voters. 🕵