Accenture has created a prototype of a new capability that enables blockchain technology to be edited under extraordinary circumstances.
The invention aims to resolve human errors, accommodate legal and regulatory requirements, and addresse mischief and other issues, while preserving key cryptographic features.
Accenture's new release will especially be useful for enterprise that use of blockchain technology in banking, insurance and capital markets.
The newly created prototype works for "permissioned" blockchain systems, which are managed by designated administrators under agreed governance rules. It is not designed for open and decentralised "permissionless" systems.
"As we focus on new uses for blockchain technology beyond the realm of cryptocurrency, absolute immutability will become both a virtue and a vice," said Richard Lumb, group chief executive- Financial Services at Accenture. "For decentralised cryptocurrency systems, such permanent accounting has been crucial in building trust and faith among participants. But for financial services institutions faced with a myriad of risk and regulatory requirements, absolute immutability is a potential roadblock. Our invention strikes a balance for enterprise use that preserves the fundamental value of the technology while enabling enterprise adoption."
Alternative to existing technology
Providing an alternative to existing blockchain technology, the invention ensures that any edit made to a block leaves an immutable "scar" to indicate that the block was altered.
Accenture's solution makes it possible to deal with situations in a predictable fashion when things do not go as planned.
It also allows users to meet new and changing regulatory and legal requirements, like the 'right to be forgotten' and other data-privacy and retention rules.
The invention is expected to increase in popularity as an editable form of blockchain is more practical and useful for enterprise systems.
"The clever work of the bitcoin creators and leaps of progress in applied cryptographic research are opening the door to bold new uses of blockchain," said Dr. Giuseppe Ateniese, a leading cryptographer and professor of computer science at The Stevens Institute of Technology. "By modifying the traditional 'chameleon hash' function we can preserve the strength of the original blockchain while making it even more useful. Unlike a traditional database, our solution is compatible with current blockchain frameworks and works in a decentralized and accountable environment."
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