Technology
Is Blockchain the Future of Digital Transactions?
In October 2016, ICICI Bank successfully executed transactions in international trade finance and remittance using blockchain technology, in partnership with Emirates NBD from the Middle East. This was the first transaction using blockchain in India. This allowed all the parties—an importer, the bank from Mumbai, the exporter and Emirates NBD from Dubai—to track and authenticate ownership of assets digitally and execute the trade finance transaction in real time. The entire transaction was completed in a few minutes using blockchain technology, as against a few days under normal circumstances. So, what exactly is blockchain technology?   
 
Blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between parties efficiently, in minutes. Blockchain also has the potential to eliminate error and detect fraud by providing a decentralised digital repository to check and authenticate the veracity of the transacting parties.  
 
Another aspect of blockchain is that it allows us to move towards ‘trust less’ from ‘trusted’. Let me explain. As mentioned above, blockchain, a type of distributed ledger system, when sufficiently secured, makes it impossible for a single party, or group of parties, to reverse transactions, once recorded on the database. This eliminates the need for trusted intermediaries to authenticate and settle transactions. Contracts or records, stored on blockchain, or authentic digital ledgers, eliminate the need for a central intermediary to provide trust in the system. This is important for increasing transparency while providing ease of compliance and reporting. No wonder, legislators, regulators and governments are realising the potential for distributed ledgers through technologies like blockchain. 
 
There are certain challenges though, including security and privacy of data stored on public blockchain and permitted ledgers, as well as regulation and legal framework. In the US, the state of Vermont is taking initial steps to recognise blockchain contracts in its courts. There is a long way to go before legal and administrative hurdles across the world can be overcome. 
 
Blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value. No wonder, this was used in creating the Bitcoin phenomenon. Bitcoin, as we know, is virtual currency and not permitted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) due to several issues.  
 
R Gandhi, deputy governor of RBI, while speaking at the FinTech Conference 2017, rightly pointed out the issues and risks associated with virtual currencies. He said, “Blockchain, the foundation for Bitcoins-like innovations, is touted to be the death knell of currency. I believe its potential is being overstated. We can see that in these types of solutions for virtual currency, there is no central bank or monetary authority. They pose potential financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security-related risks. Virtual currencies, being in digital form, are stored in digital and electronic media; (they) are prone to losses arising out of hacking, loss of password, compromise of access credentials, and malware attack. Payments by virtual currencies are on a peer-to-peer basis. No established framework for recourse to customer problems, disputes and chargebacks is feasible. There is no underlying or backing of any asset for virtual currencies. Value seems to be a matter of speculation. Legal status is definitely not there.” 
 
Virtual currency, like Bitcoin, was just one of the innovations based on the blockchain technology. Hence it would be better that we do not mix virtual currencies (application) with blockchain (the technology). 
 
 Over the years, disruptive technologies have shown the capability to transform, wipe out, develop, shrink and turn upside down all the players from markets. With a bigger push for digital economy, innovative technology like blockchain can certainly offer better solutions for transactions in a transparent, effective and time-bound manner. But it will need not just push but also legal and regulatory framework to make the use of blockchain successful and productive.

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COMMENTS

Aravind

8 months ago

Some of the disadvantages projected out does not exist , for one it is a distributed ledger so if lost can be rebuilt from the duplicate one and hacking will be a momentous task as you have to hack into lot of ledgers with the transaction. Assuming if it gets implemented world wide no one can hide any asset from anyone.

Mahesh S Bhatt

8 months ago

2 challenges with BITCOIN who Regulates? Who accounts? they say people account but where is the Master Ledger?Also what's the hedge?

Too many unanswered questions another Technology scammy bubble already done?? Mahesh Bhatt

WhatsApp brings back text 'Status' feature
Soon after attracting backlash over its Snapchat-like 'Stories' feature, WhatsApp has revived its text 'Status' option while keeping its image-based replacement, a media report said.
 
In mid-February, WhatsApp removed the feature that let users set a message and then gave the 'Status' name to a Snapchat 'Stories' clone. But last week, text Statuses reappeared in the Android Beta version of WhatsApp in the 'About' section of the profiles, Tech Crunch reported on Wednesday.
 
"We heard from our users that people missed the ability to set a persistent text-only update in their profile, so we have integrated this feature into the 'About' section in profile settings," WhatsApp was quoted as saying.
 
"Now, the update will appear next to profile names anytime you view contacts, such as when creating a new chat or looking at Group info. At the same time, we are continuing to build on the new Status feature that gives people fun and engaging ways to share photos, videos and GIFs with their friends and family throughout their day," the company added.
 
The 'About' status will roll out to all Android users over the next week and is coming soon to iPhone.
 
Users can open the 'About' section of their profile to set a text 'Status' and view other people's updates by opening their contact.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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Cyber attacks on e-wallets aim to steal data: Report
As traffic to e-wallet platforms grows, there has been a significant increase in cyber attacks on online payment gateways to steal data than to disrupt operations, a new report said on Wednesday.
 
According to the data provided by global leader in content delivery network (CDN) services Akamai Technologies, hits to web pages on e-wallet companies grew from 512,115,015 per day in September to 1,264,470,283 per day in February in the country.
 
Akamai in India analysed the growth in traffic volume to India's e-wallet sites on the Akamai Intelligent Platform, three months before and three months after the demonetisation announcement.
 
"Nearly 94 per cent of attack attempts on mobile wallet companies were on the application layer (XSS and RFI attacks) with intent to steal business critical data," the report added.
 
Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS attacks were insignificant in comparison to the overall number of attacks observed, the report noted.
 
DDoS attempts on these wallets constituted less than 1 per cent of the total number of attempts in this time period, emphasising the fact that attacks were intended to steal data and not necessarily disrupt operations of mobile wallet firms.
 
According to Akamai's recent "State of The Internet Security" report for Q4 2016, India is second in the list of countries in Asia Pacific that sourced the most web application attack traffic with nearly 86,38,666 attacks attributed as originating from the country, after China.
 
India also ranks fourth in the list of target countries for web application attacks globally, the report said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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