Blockchain solutions are more secure and enable future capabilities.
Blockchain technology is a secure and tamper-proof way to store and share data
A blockchain is merely a different type of database. A record or row is referred to as a block. While most databases support the basic ‘CRUD’ operations: Create, Read, Update, and Deletion of records, blockchain is different in that it can only create and read records (or blocks) but does not support the ability to update or delete existing blocks. This is where the ‘immutability’ characteristic of blockchain comes from.
So, if we can’t update or delete a record how can we record an update to pre-existing blocks or records? In the blockchain paradigm, we create an additional record and link or ‘chain’ it to the pre-existing record – thus the term ‘blockchain’.
What makes blockchain more secure?
Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)
Blockchain solutions employ distributed ledger technology (DLT) with several nodes, making it difficult for malicious actors to tamper with records without accessing the majority of nodes in the network.
Transaction Verification and Consensus Algorithms
Transactions are first authenticated and authorized and then written to all nodes on the network. This transaction verification activity is driven by various consensus algorithms that may be more appropriate to the specific application use case.
Hashing Algorithm and Encryption
The architecture of blockchain solutions also complicates tampering. As mentioned above, blocks are chained together using a hashing algorithm that is difficult to recreate. Data stored on the blockchain is also encrypted and requires both a public and private key, and is only accessible by the parties involved in the transaction.
Document and Data Verification
Documents and data shared using blockchain platforms offer a more secure method of verification regarding origin and authenticity.
These methods allow document issuers to ensure the authenticity of their credentials and restrict holders of these credentials from presenting fraudulent documents or data. Data stored on blockchain platforms are tamper-proof and copies of the ledger are distributed to all nodes on the network and can’t really be tampered with unless a malicious actor with almost unlimited resources can access the majority of these nodes. All transactions and data are encrypted and only accessible by the authorized parties to the transaction.
Capabilities of Blockchain in Higher Education
Blockchain technology offers a lot more than just secure documents and data sharing. Here are some of the many future capabilities that it enables.
Fund & Grant Management
Peer Reviews & Data Access
Commercialization of IP