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Accenture stirs up trouble with blockchain editing technique

Accenture stirs up trouble with blockchain editing technique

Accenture is stirring up a blockchain storm within the community by patenting a technique for editing information stored using the nascent technology in a move designed to make it more commercially viable.

By allowing a central administrator to amend or delete information stored on a blockchain, the consultancy says

A bitcoin in a digital surrounding

Accenture stirs up trouble with blockchain editing technique

that its prototype — to be unveiled — will make the technology more attractive to the financial services industry – according to the FT.

However, to many diehard fans of the technology underpinning the cryptocurrency bitcoin, the move threatens one of its founding principles: that a blockchain should be an immutable ledger of events without the need for a central authority.

Having initially been sceptical about it because of worries over fraud, big banks are now exploring how they can exploit the technology to speed up back-office settlement systems and free billions in capital tied up supporting trades on global markets.

Richard Lumb, global head of financial services at Accenture, told the Financial Times that financial institutions and regulators would need a means to quickly correct errors on the blockchain before using it in securities markets. He gave the example of a “fat finger” trading error, or a trade assigned to the wrong counterparty.

“What we are talking about is adapting the blockchain to the corporate world and how do we make it pragmatic and useful for the financial services sector,” he said. “This prototype allows you expunge a record completely and we think that will be needed by corporates and regulators.”

He drew a distinction between the need for an editing function on the invitation-only, “permissioned” blockchains that most banks are looking at establishing and the open, “permissionless” blockchains, such as bitcoin, where immutability is a key feature.

Accenture and Giuseppe Ateniese, a professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, have filed a patent for their technology in the US and Europe. It uses a technique called the “chameleon hash” to add a type of padlock between units in a blockchain that allows an administrator with the key to unlock and edit them.

The post Accenture stirs up trouble with blockchain editing technique appeared first on Payments Cards & Mobile.

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