Skip to main content

How Blockchain Could Help Tech Giant Cisco Reboot

Cisco is changing.
The technology firm best known as the supplier of enterprise computer hardware has seen a slow, steady decline in revenue from some of its core products. As a result of an increasing number technological services being virtualized, and the storage of information moving to the cloud, the $158bn firm has been restructuring and exploring new ways to capitalize on connected devices.
But amidst this change in identity, it's in identity itself where some of the California-based company's most interesting new experiments are taking place. With a series of early stage blockchain projects, Cisco is now pushing even deeper into what could end up being much more than a way for employees to prove who they are across subsidiaries.
In conversation with CoinDesk, Robert Greenfield IV, Cisco software engineer and executive team lead of the firm's Connected Black Professionals resource group, explained how several blockchain projects have evolved into a new way for corporations to prove identity.

Corporate identity on a blockchain

Founded in 1984, Cisco Systems was one of the first members of the blockchain consortium Hyperledger, led by the Linux Foundation.
After remaining largely under the radar (while other members of the group made splashy headlines), the company earlier this year revealed its role in helping launch a new consortium with BNY Mellon, Foxconn and others aimed at investigating how connected devices could be integrated with distributed ledger technology.
In interview, Greenfield expanded on earlier reports that Cisco was focused on work related to the group – formally called the Trusted IoT Alliance – related to distributed identity and supply chain management.
It turns out, not only is Cisco exploring how to distribute identity to simplify employee logins across more than 20 of the company's subsidiaries, but that Cisco's customers themselves may someday use the service to better audit the transactions of suppliers.
According to Greenfield, many database standards still have difficulty recognizing that a subsidiary is actually part of a parent company, making it hard to track who conducted which transactions and under whose authority.
"We wanted to create a blockchain ID use case that uses the different APIs across these different organizations, and internal applications to establish one identity for internal users," he said. "But also customers as well, where it’s going to be easier to perform analysis."

Increased security

With so many points of entry, the attack vectors for potential hackers also increase, resulting in a greater potential security threat.
So, in addition to linking APIs associated with each subsidiary to blockchain-based corporate identities and employee identities, Greenfield said Cisco would like to upgrade its current two-factor authentication to a blockchain-based multi-signature functionality.
"There's a lot of points of entry that hackers, people who want to corrupt the network, can get into," said Greenfield. "So, it's a security issue, but it's also an efficiency issue."
If all goes as planned, Greenfield says the blockchain-based identities capable of granting access across subsidiaries, could one day expand the security benefits beyond the confines of Cisco itself and be used to prove identity to other organizations as well.

Evolving business model

But Cisco's push into blockchain goes beyond portable, decentralized identities. Also springing from the Trusted IoT Alliance is a project to move Cisco’s complex supply chain to a distributed ledger.
In partnership with several startup members of the alliance, Cisco is currently exploring how its identity work could be integrated with a private version of the ethereum blockchain to track hardware, including routers and switches, according to Greenfield.
In spite of generating a total of $49.2bn in revenue last year, Cisco has reported declining sales in its routers and switches category for each of the past five quarters, according to a Search Networking report earlier this year.
If Cisco’s complex supply chain can be further simplified by integrating it with blockchain or machine-to-machine communication, Greenfield argued that entirely new smart contract-enabled services could be built directly into the hardware.
"It gives a viable solution to regain recently lost market share," said Greenfield. "Particularly in router and switch markets, and maintain global dominance within the Internet of Things."

United conversations

This week stands to mark multiple milestones in the history of Cisco's early blockchain work.
While much of the firm's efforts with the technology are aimed at finding efficiencies on the enterprise side of its operations, the firm's independently operated non-profit, the Cisco Foundation, is also exploring blockchain.
Greenfield works as a liaison with the foundation, and today he expects to begin a partnership with non-profit Street Code to help increase the number of minority coders in blockchain. Another partnership with Black Girls Code is in the early stages of development.
Further, Greenfield said he will soon meet with one of the technology partners working with the UN to explore how the two organizations might improve identity to better serve both those in need internationally and locally in the US.
For more news follow the link below.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Duncan Logan just tweeted that he's on board Electroneum

I have been a buyer and holder of bitcoin and Etherreum for a long time but this will be the first ICO I buy into--Duncan Logan.

What is Electroneum?

Electroneum (ETN) is a cryptocurrency that can be mined with a smartphone, requiring almost no technical knowledge or prior experience. This sets it apart from other cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin) which require expensive hardware and technical know-how to mine.
Electroneum’s unique mobile mining experience allows anyone with a smartphone to earn ETN coins by letting the miner app run in the background.
It was designed specifically with mobile users in mind, thereby appealing to a potential market of 2.2 billion smartphone users around the world. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, Electroneum has a user-friendly, beginner-oriented interface that allows users to seamlessly transfer ETN coins between one another, check their balances, and mine coins.
Being a cryptocurrency, Electroneum is created, held, and spent electronically, and has no phy…

Is Bitcoin Legal?

Bitcoin is of interest to law enforcement agencies, tax authorities, and legal regulators, all of which are trying to understand how the cryptocurrency fits into existing frameworks. The legality of your bitcoin activities will depend on who you are, where you live, and what you are doing with it. Bitcoin has proven to be a contentious issue for regulators and law enforcers, both of which have targeted the digital currency in an attempt to control its use. We are still early on in the game, and many legal authorities are still struggling to understand the cryptocurrency, let alone make laws around it. Amid all this uncertainty, one question stands out: is bitcoin legal? The answer is, yes, depending on what you’re doing with it. Read on for our guide to the complex legal landscape surrounding bitcoin. Most of the discussion concerns the US, where many of the legal dramas are currently playing out. Alternatively, you can access our comprehensive Regulation Report for worldwide expert …

Police Bust Alleged $13 Million Crypto Pyramid Scheme

Police in China's northwestern city of Xi'An have arrested the founders of a claimed nationwide cryptocurrency pyramid scheme that allegedly amassed 86 million yuan ($13 million) from over 13,000 people.
According to a report from local media source Huashang News, Wednesday, the scheme launched in March 28 this year after months in preparation by a primary suspect who has has the surname Zheng, as well as three other accomplices.
The report cited an investigation from the police who said the scheme used a cryptocurrency called Da Tang Coin (DTC) that is linked to DTC Holding - a firm under the suspect's control and registered in Hong Kong - to allegedly hoax potential members of the pyramid scheme.
In various promotional events in multiple cities in the country, the scheme claimed that new members can make 80,000 yuan (roughly $13,000) per day with an initial investment of $480,000 to purchase the DBTC at $0.50 per token, according to the report.
These promises of high r…