Skip to main content

Bitcoin Meets DLT: Bitfury Releases 'Anchorable' Enterprise Blockchain

Can Bitfury Group replicate its success in enterprise blockchain?
Long a leader in the lucrative bitcoin transaction processing sector, this has been an open question since the startup expanded its mission in a bid to win the trust – and business – of the world's biggest financial firms, governments and institutions. But that it's also a question that now has new context, as Bitfury is today making public an enterprise blockchain initiative that has long been in development in the lab.
Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, Bitfury Group is open-sourcing its first private blockchain framework, though it's one that offers a twist on the established idea. Called Exonum, the software aims to distinguish itself from DLT solutions by enabling users to secure data using the bitcoin blockchain.
As explained by Valery Vavilov, the CEO of Bitfury Group, despite uncertainty surrounding the protocol's technical roadmap, potential clients are actually becoming more aware of bitcoin's strength as the longest-running and most secure blockchain in the world.
Vavilov told CoinDesk:
"What we observe is a lot of companies and institutions becoming more and more comfortable using the bitcoin blockchain. Those monitoring the system known bitcoin has been around for 8–9 years, that it hasn't been hacked and that it is offering security that doesn't exist anywhere else."
Alexander Shevchenko, head of Exonum, further stressed how the notion of adding cryptographic data from private, permissioned blockchains into the public bitcoin blockchain would strengthen the assurances of even trusted parties and networks.
"Anchoring brings security to the solution. Even if all the validators collude and want to go back in time and rewrite an Exonom blockchain, they can't do this," he said.
As evidence of interest, the software is also already in use in Bitfury Group's ongoing projects – including its land title trial in Georgia, as well as an undisclosed insurance effort.
For those who want to take a closer look, the source code for Exonom, written in Rust, is now available on GitHub. It will further be on display during an 11-city tour that begins today in the Netherlands, and that includes stops in Beijing, Boston and San Francisco.

Finding a niche

Still, anchoring the data isn't the only feature of Exonum.
Also touted is the auditability the software provides by enabling developers to create both "full clients", which validate the full history of the system's data, and "light clients" that use this record to verify data.
While that might sound like a slight feature, Shevchenko cited the infamous "Heartbleed" vulnerability, where a code issue in OpenSSL left as many as half a million websites exposed to exploits, as evidence of how Exonum's design could be a practical step in improving internet systems.
As profiled in The New York Times, one of the major issues cited in the aftermath was the length of time it would take for OpenSSL's code to be audited, as well as its lack of regular reviews.
By enabling light clients, Shevchenko contends more nodes can participate in Exonum networks, verifying and auditing data to avoid such issues.
"Each client guarantees correct data storage, and thus the overall, it's self-auditable. Everything controls its tiny part, and you get this full audit of the system," he said.
Vavilov continued:
"This is really important. You can build very strong blockchain system, you can anchor it on the bitcoin system, and if your client is compromised, auditing can help. It closes the full loop of the security of the system."

Cost of use

Still, that's not to say public blockchains are without difficulties.
To this point, Bitfury Group went so far as to address concerns about the rising costs of bitcoin network use, and how they might impact Exonum networks that seek to tether transaction data to bitcoin.
While Bitfury didn't provide specific figures, representatives indicated that it believes this would represent a "low cost", owing to how copies of data are stored on the bitcoin network.
Should a consortium of users want to hash data, for example, they would simply set up a multi-signature wallet and then batch transaction timestamps onto the bitcoin blockchain, using the OP_RETURN feature in bitcoin's code.
As even very small fractions of bitcoin can store additional information, the company argues the costs could be affordable even if the Exonum system was running processing as many as 3,000 transactions per second.
"The only thing we need to have is the bitcoin you need for the transaction fees," Shevchenko said.

DLT design

But what about users that don't want bitcoin's added security?
Another major feature of Exonum is a new, unnamed consensus algorithm it claims improves on the Byzantine fault-tolerant protocols most often used today in distributed ledger proofs-of-concept. While the company did not disclose many details about the system, it described it as more robust and capable of achieving greater uptime.
Elsewhere, Bitfury Group said Exonum's implementations can support features including multi-signature contracts, time locks and oracles.
However, in interview, Vavilov mostly kept his sights on the biggest picture for how these features will enable what he believes will be an important leap in the use of blockchain technology.
Evoking the classic comparison of private blockchains to intranets, Vavilov framed Exonum as a natural next step in bridging the gap between these systems, and public, open blockchains.
Vavilov said:
"Years ago when the internet started, a lot of conservative organizations didn't start using internet, they created so-called intranets to become comfortable. After some time, all intranets are connected to internet. We believe this will help build a more secure and scalable system."
Going forward, Bitfury Group said it will seek to update the product ahead of the release of an enterprise version of Exonum in the coming months.


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…

Case-By-Case or Cease-and-Desist? In Search Of a New Approach to ICOs

That rumble you hear is the sound of regulators around the world mobilizing resources to tackle the pressing matter of token sales. Yet, in spite of the spectacular growth of blockchain token-based funding, no one seems to have a clear idea of what type of rules to introduce. The resulting uncertainty (not to mention ridicule) is left hindering progress as money flows to unviable projects and investors are left vulnerable to foul play – exactly what regulation is supposed to prevent. Perhaps a new approach is needed. But to see where this could go, it's worth stepping back and asking what we expect the regulation to do. Safety belt First, why do we need regulation, not just of finance, but of anything at all? To protect us. At its roots, that is the main role of government – to protect its citizens from avoidable harm and extreme loss brought about by others or from our own lack of common sense. When it comes to securities, that usually means stopping us from making poor decisions…

Suddenly, Bitcoin to Be Officially Legal in India

Leading Bitcoin exchange Zebpay has revealed that the Indian government committee has ruled in favor of regulating Bitcoin. On April 14, Cointelegraph reported that the Inter-Disciplinary Committee within India’s Ministry of Finance was actively investigating the legal status of Bitcoin and considering the possibility of regulating the market. Efforts of Indian Bitcoin exchanges Over the past three years, the big three Indian Bitcoin exchanges including ZebpayCoinsecureand Unocoin operated with self-regulated trading platforms with strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering systems in place, despite the lack of regulations in the digital currency industry and market. The efforts of the Bitcoin exchanges in India to self-regulate the market allowed the Indian government to reconsider the Bitcoin and digital currency sectors, regardless of the criticisms by several politicians that significantly lack knowledge in cryptocurrency. On March 24, Cointelegraph reported that…