Blockchain to fight corruption

Blockchain
By Eleanor O'Neill, Student Blog

21 August 2017

Blockchain is essentially a digital 'decentralised' ledger that is used to track digital currency (like Bitcoin) transactions around the world.

It can be viewed by anyone and, crucially, can only be edited with the agreement of a majority of users. This means that everyone using the system is constantly aware of who owns how much and where they are putting it.

For high-value transactions, in particular, Blockchain offers a uniquely secure record of ownership and empowers users with control over their own data.

Open access and transparency

Speaking earlier this year, former Prime Minister David Cameron cited Blockchain technology as a possible solution to governmental and business corruption around the world. He said: "I think there are so many opportunities that your technology has because it is digital, because it is decentralised, because it is transparent, because it is held away from governments.

"[You] have the opportunity, if we can get it right, to help these governments and these countries to be less corrupt, to have the rule of law, and to have something else that we have in this country which sits alongside the rule of law, which is not just a set of rules but a sense of trust in the institutions that we use."

However, the system isn't perfect just yet.

What are the challenges?

Security concerns remain, as evidenced by hacks and incidences of financial misconduct that have made headlines this year. Despite the transparency inherent to the Blockchain platform, varying layers of encryption and user skill mean that some criminals feel comfortable using it for untraceable transactions.

The technology is also facing a number of regulatory challenges as a global agent of change. Its current status is uncertain as massive cooperation would be required from both traditional financial institutions and international governmental bodies for effective universal legal protections to be put in place.

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