Trust me I’m a blockchain coder

App updates are relentless, mostly for bug fixes, but with the blockchain data remaining forever, coding errors could be catastrophic. For the opportunities of blockchain to be realised it has to be trusted so the coding needs to be right the first time.

Overlook the updates in the app store for a few days and they mount up. On closer inspection most are bug fixes. It's all very well releasing buggy code if it’s is for gaming or entertainment - still annoying - but if it's a smart contract to enact irreversible transactions that can be very costly very quickly. 

Even before the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, trust was expounded as paramount in the face of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) for businesses seeking to take advantage of big data. Holding, letting alone leveraging, customers’ data beyond the basics for a transaction now demands their permission and gaining that increasingly requires an assurance that privacy will be maintained – trust. 

This month, IG attended the Global Blockchain Innovation Summit in London to learn more about blockchain. Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom, DVMT-US, Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon and IBM were among the major companies to send delegates.

Again the importance of trust was emphasised if they were to win over the public. One speaker questioned our acquiescence with coding that comes with endless bug fix updates.

The event organizer, Corporate Parity, says that blockchain is the next great disruptor, like the advent of the internet itself ‘blockchain technology has the power to transform how we do everyday tasks, reinventing economics and the exchange of information.’

Stefano Tempesta from Microsoft, which launched its Azure Blockchain Workbench this month, thinks the blockchain could lead to an increase in trust in industry and the government. 

However he noted the risks surrounding blockchain were difficult to predict but will likely come from misuse and the immutability property of blockchain, anything put on the ledger will stay forever and cannot be removed. 

The importance of robust coding was also highlighted by Rob Knight, co-founder of Mattereum, saying code needs to be written much more carefully in the future if it is to be used with confidence for financial applications. Knight warns reliance on smart contracts is unwise as they are not legal. His company bridges this oversight drafting legal contracts to accompany the code.

Smart contracts enable transactions without involving third parties. This, Pilar Santamaria, CTO and VP Innovation at Dell EMC, says will allow users to reduce costs while introducing greater transparency reducing related bureaucracy

She sees blockchain more as adding value, co-existing with currents systems rather than replacing them. It also encourages a more customer-centric attitude. 

Boris Spremo, operations director, emerging business and architecture at BNY Mellon, in fact sees the blockchain technology alleviating the need for trust, having confidence in all the intermediaries in the chain of a traditional transaction. You will trust the blockchain. 

This makes the responsibility of the blockchain smart contract coder paramount – the new adage of confidence may be ‘trust me I’m a blockchain coder.’

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