By Simon Bain, CEO at OmniIndex
Web3 and Data Security expert Simon Bain discusses blockchain’s bad rep, it’s potential outside of cryptocurrency and how it could revolutionise how we protect our vulnerable data
In 1991, two scientists first introduced the concept of blockchain technology, seeking a way to time-stamp digital documents so that they couldn’t be tampered with or misdated. In short, a blockchain is a distributed ledger suited to the storing of files and data. It combines a number of different technologies including enhanced encryption and AI and as a result offers many security and privacy advantages over traditional cloud storage solutions.
Many people will associate blockchain with cryptocurrency, because perhaps its most famous use in recent years is to store and manage digital assets such as cryptocurrency.
Due to the media hype surrounding cryptocurrency, there is an unfortunate and overwhelming public belief that cryptocurrency and blockchain are intrinsically linked. This has meant that blockchain is often associated with the more negative aspects of cryptocurrency including its often-destructive environmental impact and the many scams and bad-actors that plague the industry. This is undoubtedly a massive waste.
In layman’s terms, a blockchain is a platform that is used to record transactions across many computers. Once a ‘block’ is added to the ‘chain’ it can’t be removed or changed, only further blocks can be added. This process takes place in a secure, chronological and immutable way.
This concept can be applied to many things outside of cryptocurrency. It can be applied to files for example, ensuring that each time a file is saved it is stored that way and that version of the file can’t be changed or removed.
Time and time again it has been proven that current mainstream data storage solutions are vulnerable to attack with ransomware and internal data leaks causing financial and personal harm to both businesses, and individuals. As such, we desperately need to free the blockchain from crypto’s clutches and start accessing its added security, privacy, and accountability to solve this worldwide problem.
Blockchain for data storage
Applying blockchain technology and its principles to data storage is simple. Instead of cryptocurrency of varying and fluctuating value, your sensitive and private data is securely stored in your own isolated and unchangeable blockchain. It can’t be changed or deleted once stored and crucially, your data can’t lose its value and cost you your life savings.
Utilising blockchain for storage is a tried and tested way to stop cybercriminals from stealing your data and holding you to ransom. With the addition of fully homomorphic encryption, files can be searched, analysed or previewed without exposing them to attackers.
Nigeria’s National Blockchain Policy
One of the largest global moves to utilize blockchain is in Nigeria where the government recently announced its National Blockchain Policy. The policy’s vision is: “To create a Blockchain-powered economy that supports secure transactions, data sharing, and value exchange between people, businesses, and Government, thereby enhancing innovation, trust, growth, and prosperity for all.”
Among the key benefits outlined in their policy of adopting blockchain nationally are improved transparency and accountability, increased efficiency, enhanced security, and financial inclusion.
These benefits are all visible in OmniIndex’s recent partnership with educational management experts Future-X. Together they are working with the Federal Ministry of Education in Nigeria to transform Nigeria’s educational ecosystem with blockchain data storage. As well as creating local jobs and new data centres, the adoption of blockchain in the school system will protect crucial student data from attack and misuse while also greatly enhancing the ability to introduce improvements through secure analytics of the encrypted data without decrypting it.
The Big Question
The question has to be asked as to why more nations and companies aren’t adopting blockchain data storage and are relying on legacy storage solutions that have proven to be weak and vulnerable.
While there is an obvious monopoly over data storage from the leading cloud providers, surely their influence alone isn’t enough to prevent others from stepping up and adequately protecting their data where they can? Especially when failing to act now puts the data of these nations and companies at further risk of attack while others are acting to protect it.