Accenture is working hard to make the blockchain more palatable to corporate America.
Late last year, the consulting firm sent blockchain purists into a tizzy by revealing a prototype for a fully-redactable blockchain protocol with a trapdoor function that creates a master key to modify or delete any existing entry. While the function would solve the finance world’s problem of not being able to correct human errors, it eliminated one of the defining characteristics of blockchain: immutability.
Now, Accenture has released a system that integrates blockchain technology with hardware security modules to help secure data, Fortune reports. The devices run digital key management processes that control data-access permission levels within a network. In a corporate world increasingly ruled by compliance requirements and governmental regulations, such security measures are critical to the widespread adoption of blockchain.
Martha Bennett, a principal analyst at market research firm Forrester, told Fortune that this latest release from Accenture “is an absolutely fundamental building block” to moving blockchain past a hyped-up emerging technology and into mainstream use. "For anyone dealing with highly sensitive or valuable information, this provides assurance that there is an enterprise-grade key management system available."
The business world and the channel have been eyeing blockchain to gauge its potential application in industries from healthcare to utilities to supply chain. With the massive rollout of IoT-connected devices expected to become the norm in the next 12-18 months, organizations need a new approach to manage and secure the vast amount of data that new paradigm will produce.
Still, the distributed ledger technology (DLT) still shows the biggest promise in finance, where investment banks are eager to incorporate the tech in order to lower operational costs.
In fact, the World Economic Forum forecasts that one-tenth of GDP will make its way onto the blockchain by 2025, and Santander has predicted banks saving up to $20 billion a year in infrastructure costs by 2022. Last year, blockchain hit “peak hype” on Forrester’s Hype Cycle report, leading many to adopt the view that the technology is coming of age.
But many experts caution that blockchain is still in the research phase and that expectations that 2017 will bring widespread adoption are bound to exceed reality. Partners looking to stay ahead of the curve should watch developments like those from Accenture carefully to see what potential revenue streams this emerging technology may be creating.