“There is almost no industry where blockchain can not be relevant”

Interview Iota

Original Post – Scope https://www.scope-online.de/digitale-fabrik/-es-gibt-fast-keine-branche—in-der-blockchain-nicht–relevant-werden-kann-.htm
All Credits To Caterina Schröder

Visions and technologies were the focus of this year’s Fujitsu Forum in Munich at the beginning of November. Dr. Rolf Werner, Head of Central Europe and CEO of Fujitsu, knows that digitization in all its facets is affecting companies of all industries and sizes as well as the public sector. SCOPE editor Caterina Schröder talked with Dr. Katerina Schröder about relatively recent trends such as blockchain, smart contracts and virtual currencies, as well as their significance for the industry. Rolf Werner.

SCOPE: Blockchain technology is considered as important as the Internet. What justifies this view?

Dr. Rolf Werner: That’s a very daring statement. Because the Internet is still the transport medium for the Blockchain. Blockchain has limitations, such as the number of possible parallel transactions or the amount of computation required, which may limit the use. But: There are a lot of uses for the Blockchain. Namely everywhere, where transactions should or must run safely – be it in the financial sector, in contracts or in logistics. With crypto currencies such as IOTA, machine-to-machine payment is also possible, ie communication or a payment process between machines without human involvement. One of the drivers in developing the blockchain was to prevent fraud. Contractors no longer need an intermediary who vouches for them and whom they trust if the contractors do not trust each other, because they have an intrinsic relationship of trust and transaction security at the technological level. To put it in the words of Bill Gates: “Banking is necessary, banks are not.”

But to return to your comparison with the Internet: Generalized, the development will result in the addition of the Blockchain-based “Internet of Value” in addition to the classic “Internet of Information”. Both will exist in parallel. Because not everywhere the high transaction security of a Blockchain is necessary. The market for these applications is huge: The World Economic Forum expects that 10 percent of global gross domestic product will be represented by block chains by 2025.

SCOPE: Database technology is still at the experimental stage. When can we expect the real breakthrough?

Werner: More and more companies are using proof of concepts and pilot projects to handle contracts securely or to create, manage and execute decentralized programs or “smart contracts” in their own blockchain. However, there are still many open legal questions about “smart contracts”.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are probably the best known application at the moment. But here too there are differences or developments. So you can see Bitcoin as “Blockchain 1.0” and Ethereum as “Blockchain 2.0”. Ethereum uses the internal crypto-currency ether to pay for transaction processing done by participating computers. What “Blockchain 3.0” will look like is still open. Blockchain-based applications also need to be developed further so that you do not need any specialized knowledge for the application. A breakthrough is expected within a few years, as billions are invested in this technology. Fujitsu is also working intensively on this technology – for example for banking applications. For example, the Japanese Fujitsu Laboratories have developed “ConnectionChain”, a security technology that can handle payments with different virtual currencies safely and easily. In addition, Fujitsu will launch a field trial with three Japanese banks starting in January 2018, where payments between human participants will be handled using blockchain technology. And the Japanese Bankers Association (JBA) is using a blockchain platform based on the Fujitsu Cloud Service K5, which it now wants to make available to its members.

SCOPE: If the blockchain is implemented, it is considered absolutely secure. Is that a fallacy?

Werner: Blockchain is extremely safe. To speak of absoluteness is daring. After all, what if quantum computers can crack encryption in the foreseeable future? To avoid this, you must always stay up to date. However, the biggest security issue is not the blockchain itself, but the before and after. It must therefore not be considered in isolation. The safest blockchain does not help if the user authentication is uncertain. Here then the use of really secure biometric authentication solutions such as Handvenenscans appropriate. Cryptocurrencies are also unregulated, which entails additional risks. But all these are no excuses not to deal with Blockchain. Because this technology has immense potential and also the regulatory authorities will (have to) define specifications in the foreseeable future.

SCOPE: What legal questions does the blockchain raise and how should they be resolved?

Werner: The blockchain concept is based on distributed databases. Of course, this “everyone knows everything” concept raises the question of the protection of sensitive data. Technically, it is not a problem to encrypt and anonymize the data. Legally, it is tricky. For example, if contracts are programmed improperly and executed incorrectly, the question is how the victim gets his right. This is especially true when computers are in different jurisdictions. This can be, for example, when a German on holiday in Italy concludes a contract with a French company via a cloud in the USA. Then the price question is: which law applies? And who do I want to sue if something does not work? Legally sound regulations still have to be developed here. But regardless of these open points, there is virtually no industry and no area where Blockchain can not become relevant. Wherever secure and cost-effective transactions are needed, blockchain is something to deal with.

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