A Blockchain Controversy

As part of blockchain’s value derives from perceived impenetrability as a tamper-proof transaction record, Accenture’s recent announcement of a means that would allow for alterations to the record has been controversial. The contention regarding Accenture’s announcement is rooted in two areas:

1.  Accenture’s alterations would allow for silent editing of blocks using a “chameleon hash” to break a block’s original code; and

2.  Once a block’s original  code is broken, an adaptable algorithm would rebuild the larger chain, leaving other computers in the chain unaware.

However, as Fortune.com pointed out, the blockchain uproar may be rooted in perception more than fact.  Blockchains exist in numerous iterations, and some of them make Accenture’s announcement seem less controversial than behind-the-times. Because while the most notable blockchain, Bitcoin, is “permission-less,” and thereby allows anyone to participate in the ledger, other blockchains are less transparent and more likely to allow users to conceal, if not edit, certain data.

Further, the creation of edits as a safety feature is both timely and necessary. Blockchain-based Ethereum’s $60 million hack, among others, proves that nothing is without flaw. And the public, sensitized to the risks of crypto-currency hacks, may find the creation of a trusted administrator comforting.

Further movement towards strengthening blockchain’s ability to self-correct, to address fraudulent transactions and to fortify weaknesses serves to increase confidence in the system and currency.  In that atmosphere, legitimacy may follow. Per Fortune.com‘s take on the matter, the announcement “could add to the growing technology stack surrounding blockchain and, at the very least, serve as a marketing too to encourage banks to embrace the technology.”

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