While blockchain technology has been argued for or against as a good technology with potential to change human life for good, there is no debating that the technology has potential to be both good and bad. Here are a few guidelines from blockchain company IBM that can help blockchain innovators harness it for good.
- Go for open source: Majority of the best and safest blockchain projects are open source. Simply, open source means the codes behind a project are open to modification by a community of developers and not just one or two who thought up the idea. Open source projects continue to improve as codes get updated by several developers with different ideas, and that is the way to go. Examples are Bitcoin network and Ethereum network.
- Permissioned not private should be encouraged: For regulated enterprise-grade blockchain platforms, design should be trust and permission-based, not private. This is because anonymous blockchains are not suitable for regulated industries despite their several advantages, since organizations need to verify identities and know who they do business with. Digital identity networks such as one to be launched by Microsoft and Stellar network are examples of permissioned networks.
- Decentralized governance: Enterprise blockchains with centralized governance have several weaknesses such as bias in meeting the needs of the community and certain use cases considered superior to others. To avoid this, governance of blockchains should be decentralized and comprised of members with different interest in order to cater to the needs and aspirations of all members. An example of such blockchain is the Verified:Me identity network in Canada.
- Interoperability: Most of the blockchain projects are independent of each other, so they have different standards. However, the industry is evolving into interoperability, a concept which brings blockchains together to operate based on agreed-upon standards. An example of such project is Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF) DIDs project.
- Privacy is important: While interoperability and sharing of data is greatly encouraged, this should be done with respect for personal data of users who should be allowed to determine how their data is accessed. The creator of the platform however should be allowed access to all as a way of regulating data sharing. Private user data could be kept off-chain to ensure it is secured. An example of such enterprise project is IBM Food Trust.
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