British consumers not very impressed by blockchain adoption

If you are thinking that the new blockchain solution adopted by your organisation to protect sensitive data will improve your organisation's cyber security credentials in the eyes of consumers, research indicates that British consumers don't place a lot of trust in blockchain and some, in fact, view the new technology with suspicion.

A study by IP EXPO Europe has revealed that while a majority of British consumers have not heard of blockchain, many of those who have are not convinced that blockchain is the best thing to have arrived since sliced bread. In short, organisations need to do more to educate consumers about the new technology and to explain how it will help protect their data better.

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Most consumers don't understand what blockchain is

Research carried out by OnePulse on behalf of IP EXPO revealed that while 53 percent of Brits haven't heard of Blockchain, those who have are not really sure what it actually is, with some believing it to be a type of currency, a messaging service, and even a children’s toy.

35 percent of all British consumers told OnePulse that they would not trust an organisation using Blockchain to keep their information secure as they don’t know what it is and 11 percent of consumers, who said they know what Blockchain is, said they wouldn't trust an organisation using it.

"Blockchain is a technology that many people in the industry are still struggling to wrap their head around, so it’s of no surprise that it’s also causing plenty of confusion for the general public," said Andy Steed, Director of Content for IP EXPO Europe.

"However, what is concerning is how many people are stating a lack of trust in organisations who say they are using it. Businesses need to make sure they are not only deploying new technology like Blockchain in a way that will have a meaningful impact, but that they are taking the time to explain what the technology is in easy to understand language to their customers instead of simply stating that they are using it," he added.

Even enterprises don't know much about blockchain

The lack of trust placed by consumers in organisations that use Blockchain technologies is not really misplaced. Several reports have indicated an explosive rise in the adoption of Blockchain but what's most concerning is that the adoption is not backed by sufficient research into how the technology works and what vulnerabilities it contains.

According to security solutions provider RSA, enterprises must take security into account from the very early stages of any blockchain implementation, while also taking advantage of developments in behavioural analytics and artificial intelligence to support the secure adoption of new technologies.

It added that enterprises must evolve their security information and event management (SIEM) systems to ensure they are able to analyse new technologies and learn more about them so as to implement blockchain safely and without having to worry about unwanted intrusions.

Commenting on the research by IP EXPO Europe, Travis Biehn, technical strategist at Synopsys, said that while enterprise blockchain adoption has reached a fever pitch internationally in 2018, the security community has been late to the game in terms of securing these platforms against attack.

"While the open source community has been enamoured with the success of Ethereum, the enterprise community has been quietly building the next generation of distributed trust-less applications on permissioned blockchain technologies," he said.

He also gave a brief account of how public and enterprise blockchains work and explaining the same to consumers should help UK businesses in convincing the latter that such technologies are indeed secure and that there are measures in place to prevent their compromise.

"Public blockchains allow everyone to participate in the network (with varying degrees of access), while private blockchains regulate access via membership control. While enterprise blockchains have roots in established public blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum, they have significant and security-relevant differences. Unlike Bitcoin and Ethereum, the private blockchain’s primary use case isn’t to store and transfer value, but to enforce arbitrarily complex business logic. Enterprise practitioners often use the term distributed ledger technology (DLT), referring to the general capabilities that blockchain platforms provide.

"Promises made by blockchain platforms include immutability, auditability, tuneable-trust, and programmability. Immutability is the guarantee that, once data has been written to the blockchain it will be tamper-proof indefinitely. Auditability is the direct result of the immutability guarantee combined with historical data kept by all members of a blockchain. Tuneable-trust promises that applications built on distributed ledger technology don’t need to trust all members of their network. Programability means the rules of the network are codified into so-called smart contracts. These blockchain programs describe precisely with code how data changes, ultimately comprising an enormous state machine," he said.

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