In recent years, companies spouting blockchain technology have quickly risen to the forefront of news listings. The new technology is represented by a global network of computers and constitutes an online ledger system which can be used to log transactions (including, most famously, those related to digital currencies), and much more. And yet, many people have been reluctant to integrate blockchain into traditional businesses because of widespread concerns about the security of the system. Could big banks offer a clue as to how the blockchain could be made more secure?
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Predictability and Third-Party Concerns
One issue that has plagued the blockchain throughout its history is predictability. Because transactions on the blockchain are limitless and no single governing body oversees its maintenance, the blockchain itself is subject to a lack of predictability that some users find disconcerting, according to a report by The Conversation. Beyond that, there is an inherent point of vulnerability from a security perspective: at this time, a variety of third-party sites perform transactions with the blockchain on the behalf of users. Because these sites, including Shapeshift, Kraken, Changelly, and more, are all manged and owned separately from the blockchain, they simultaneously allow users to purchase and sell blockchain assets while contributing to general security concerns.
Possible Solutions to Security Issues
Many blockchain attacks have already taken place, temporarily or even permanently separating users from their blockchain-linked assets. How to best prevent these issues? Adjustable spend and transaction limits are currently in place in many mainstream bank accounts to prevent illegal transactions which may sabotage those accounts. Timothy McCallum and Luke van der Laan of the University of Southern Queensland believe that blockchain systems could also adopt these protocols. There are various ways to do this: verification of user identity would be a critical first step and could be accomplished via voice authentication or two-step verification. This verification process could use both voice authentication and vocal passphrases to verify the identity of a user before allowing a transaction.
The potential benefits of these security measures are many. The authors of the report at The Conversation believe that additional security within the blockchain realm would precipitate a degree of predictability and, in turn, user trust. With user trust would come increased confidence, new business opportunities, and more. The alternative, they suggest, is the risk that a single malicious attack on the blockchain network could potentially sabotage the entire system before it is fully developed. While there would likely remain a number of blockchain supporters, if widespread adoption of the protocol does not take place before this time, this could permanently disrupt the blockchain technology and relegate the system to an inferior position.