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Securing Transactional Processing on the Blockchain

The advent of the blockchain as a viable architecture for distributed forms of currency, requiring no third-party intermediaries, has defined the boundaries of possibility. Currently crypto pioneers have adopted this tech for its censorship resistant design & its privacy enhancing features; while many incumbent organisations in industry are making significant efforts to adapt & adopt this tech primarily for the efficiency savings that can be gained.

From a cyber security point of view, the main innovation of the blockchain is in a nutshell, its use of cryptography to ensure that write-access is baked into the blockchain design on a technical level via technical processes, thereby making write-access cryptographic rather than being centralised under the control of an admin. On the other hand, a by-product of the blockchain design is that read-access has been thrown open for the entire world to see. This therefore clearly excludes any sensitive data from being added to the blockchain and thereby has prevented uptake of the blockchain as an architecture for distributed applications & services for highly regulated industries such as healthcare where for example confidentially of patient records is very important. It has therefore been a point of strong research interest to make read-access for the blockchain also cryptographic whilst retaining the accountability of data, something that is especially pertinent for currency as the system needs to track; if a person has funds & if they have a right to spend it etc.

Nevertheless, a recent solution has been implemented using zk-snarks which has now been proven to be technically possible with the reconciliation of their two unique privacy features. However, this process is susceptible to a DDOS attack, i.e. a botnet sends many requests to the service but does not complete the process. Despite this, this attack is not a big issue at this moment in time. This is due to the fact that there is a cost associated with initiating the processing of a transition on the blockchain, therefore this service is currently protected by the economics of scale. Although the cost is low to process a transaction, normally a couple of dollars, it is still cost prohibitive to initiate an attack which would cost much more than any reasonable benefit that can be gained from doing so. However, with this in mind, it would seem self-evident that both people and businesses that use the blockchain will always want the processing costs of this system to be lower. Moreover, it is safe to state that developers, researchers, entrepreneurs, companies and the blockchain organisations themselves are all trying to be more competitive and satisfy customer demand for lower costs. Therefore, as the cost of processing a blockchain transaction falls, the security vulnerability will become tenable. After all, a DDOS attack costing in the hundreds is a lot more likely to happen compared to a DDOS attack that has a cost in the millions.

At Zaiku Group we`re very interested in open distributed systems such as public blockchain, and how new technologies rising from these systems can be applied to highly regulated industries whilst preserving privacy and high security standards. Our efforts are being lead by our Co — Founder Liam Shore, who is exploring novel ideas to ensure contingency security solutions are in place when the market shift so as to guard against attacks such as DDOS on a robust technical level rather than relying on cryptoeconomics to dissuade bad actors (e.g state actors) from using this as attack vector.

Zaiku Co — Founder Liam Shore.

We will try to implement some of Liam`s research on top of our reactive distributed systems platform Nanosai, so that hopefully one day we can help democratize the use of blockchain technology e.g. enable everyone to be able to start their own crypto ventures safely without hassle.

Finally, if you would like to follow our progress please feel free to subscribe. We would love to connect with blockchain enthusiasts such as; developers, fellow entrepreneurs, security experts, regulated corporate companies looking to explore the potential of blockchain technology and investors.

Posted by Bambordé Baldé, Co — Founder | Twitter: @cloudbalde | LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/bambordé|

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