Developers

Blockchain Expo Europe: How developers can get the most out of blockchain technologies

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Every technology needs its underlying developer ecosystem for it to work – and in that regard blockchain is no different. But what opportunities are there – and what are the threats?

An entertaining panel session at Blockchain Expo Europe this morning gave some interesting perspective on the issue. The first challenge, the panel demurred, was around trust. Iker Alusitza, cryptographer at Lisk, said his company wears two hats when it comes to trust – around trust in the platform itself, and what developers are going to do with it.

“The trust in our platform, we have a huge community,” Alusitza said, adding the size of Lisk’s community enables the building of trust in the platform. “We release and provide trustworthy releases every month or so.

“When a developer wants to build something on our platform and the community follows [and] engages with that, we are just providing them with the tools so they can do this easily without noticing too many [issues].

“I think the trust is something [developers] have to gain themselves – we separate the tools and the platform, and with that you can do whatever you want and the trust is up to you.”

Joseph Werle, CTO at ARA Blocks, differentiated between centralised and decentralised technologies in this regard. “Typically we work in a centralised environment,” he said. “So what we’re now falling into is applications being localised, centralised, living with the end user more or less. We’re going to have to approach the way we hold and exchange information differently – it’s now trusting the idea of a network and the idea of information being passed around.”

Naturally, the end user has to trust that their provider is handling their data correctly – but with GDPR having come into effect last month, they have more weapons in their arsenal.

Dieter Brockmeyer, of the Diplomatic Council, used his role as moderator to question whether certain effects of the GDPR, such as the right to be forgotten and the right to erasure of data, are anathema to the blockchain. Alusitza, in some ways reiterating his earlier point, noted that Lisk was providing the platform and that it was ‘not their concern’ – although developers who were building apps on the platform was a different story.

The general verdict however was that GDPR would require lots of hard work – as it has done in practically all industries – but would ultimately not be a major threat. Jordan Jambazov, CTO of the O.S. University, said that users on their platform could simply delete their private key if they wanted to be forgotten and that all data uploaded to the O.S. University project was encrypted. Jambazov ceded that he was not sure it was 100% GDPR-compliant, but there were cryptographical solutions that could be of assistance.

“As a user, as a blockchain enthusiast, I think the regulations need to be adapted to the technology and not the other way round,” Alusitza added. “If regulations are not adapted to technology, the regulations are going to be behind. It happened with the Internet and I think the same is going to happen with blockchain. As a basic user, I am not concerned that the regulations will change the blockchain in any way.”

“I would say it is a little problem – but in GDPR it’s a very tricky alignment for cryptography approaches,” said Danyil Poliakov, head of presale and analytics at Bitfury Group. “In terms of design it’s plausible, but generally I would not say that GDPR is that big of a threat.”

Another key aspect of trust is through open source, of which Jambazov was naturally well-equipped to discuss. “It’s powerful to say that blockchain provides trust by itself, but it’s not the 100% truth,” he said. “The trust is provided by the people who are using this technology. Blockchain simply provides some sort of immutability – some guarantee that the data is not going to be modified.

“Open source is a very important aspect in this trust building process,” Jambazov added. “When you develop your tools in an open source way, take the best of the open source world, then you can accelerate this trust building process. I think there is a big interconnection between trust building and developing the two in a way that anyone can join and participate in this product building process.”

 

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more at the Blockchain Expo World Series, Global, Europe and North America.

 

 

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more at the Blockchain Expo World Series, Global, Europe and North America.

 

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