This is a breakdown of Cisco’s recent announcement about Bitcoin Technology and how they are moving forward with developing the Open Source Technology.
Bitcoin & “Blockchain” is rapidly becoming one of the cornerstones of many industries and organizations, mainly because it brings a level of trust in transactions between different parties in a decentralized manner. Interactions between participants are stored in a shared secure ledger so information can’t be tampered with or altered by just one party. This level of ‘automated trust’ will simplify and fundamentally alter the business process.
The main drive behind this change is that internet business has increased both in size and complexity creating a challenge for business to manage data in a secure and transparent way. Bitcoin/”Blockchain” technology can increase the level of trust in the digitization process, enabling the construction of complex, decentralized ecosystems in which transactions can be automated and simplified.
Removing third party institutions, such as banks or governments, from trade and commerce offers the opportunity to increase efficiency in economy and increase new business value in excess of $3 billion by 2030, primarily by improved cash flow, asset provenance, native asset creation and the increase of trust in business models.
Bitcoin “Blockchain” models can be used across many industries, such as securing supply chains in materials, goods and assets in manufacturing business, automatizing the registration and securing of new products linked to the internet of things, and systematizing data about transportation, energy and utilities in smart cities, thus streamlining interface with citizens and maximizing the use of resources.
Current-day use of Bitcoin “Blockchain” technology is still in an experimental phase, and as it evolves several government and institutions are facing several challenges, mainly focused on which set of standards can meet the complexity of needs of each enterprise, industry-specific solutions for their processes, and interconnectivity between several different blockchain networks. Cisco is currently building the foundations to help businesses meet their needs to deploy large scale operations of “blockchain” networks.
The Cisco blockchain framework is composed of four reference groups, all of them based in Cisco’s proprietary technology. These reference groups are Platform, Interfaces, Infrastructure and Network, and Security and Analytics.
The Cisco Blockchain Platform is based on a Composable Architecture, which is adaptable for specific implementation across several industries and can be upgraded over time as the technology advances. The platform’s multiple layers can be customized via multiple plugins to meet the specific needs of each enterprise.
This Platform provides tools for both performance management and security, communication and consensus between nodes, secure contracts, authentication authorization and identity management, and ease of development for network administrators.
The Interface allows for an easy way of deploying and managing the network, deployment of necessary tools and integration with existing enterprise systems. It considers the several different users that will have access to the platform and different levels of access for both marketplace users and network managers. The platform offers flexibility for administrators via portal access, a Software Developer Kit (SDK), and a middleware and connector interface that integrates with other enterprise systems and “blockchain” networks.
The Infrastructure and Network offers a secure set of standards to address security risks, including reference architectures deployed on-site: as an enterprise demilitarized zone, via cloud service, or via hybrid deployment. This infrastructure provides flexible support for many infrastructure technologies such as Hardware Security Modules and WAN optimization tools.
The Security and Analytics offers an increased level of defense against threats that can put the blockchain network at risk, such as focused DDos and Sybil attacks, Routing attacks, exploiting of secure contract vulnerabilities, etc. The Cisco Blockchain network is secured with end-to-end security and analytics, with additional protection given by blockchain application firewall (BAF), an analog to a web application firewall that provides security by inspecting unusual patterns via analytics. This service also measures the performance of the network to provide SLAs and service assurance.
Cisco offers experience in several areas that will prove to be fundamental in the deployment of blockchain networks.These include Cloud service, since hybrid deployments will be fundamental to the enterprise blockchain space. Cloud service providers are already starting to offer blockchain tools and templates. Another important area is System integration, since these networks will have to be integrated with legacy systems and the deployment of new app tools. Finally, Industry specialists will provide solutions to specific industry requirements, assist with business case and ROI calculations, and ensure compliance to industry regulations.
Cisco is offering a complete ecosystem of services to provide “blockchain” adoption for enterprises, future-proofing our partners and customers while using all of the possibilities this new technology offers.
Interoperability between blockchain networks will become fundamental once more business start using this technology and their discrete networks start to integrate with each other. This interaction creates the need for industry standards and protocols as well as security toolkits. Cisco is focusing on creating a common data model that can be deployed on any blockchain network, while maintaining a cryptographically secure record of ownership or custody.
Cisco is working with a number of industry and ecosystem partners to develop “blockchain” standards and develop Bitcoin technology to its full potential. These partners include Trusted IoT Alliance, which focuses specifically on developing an interoperability network for digitized physical assets and their smart contract libraries, Hyperledger project, an umbrella project for multiple enterprise blockchain platforms and associated technology, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, which Cisco joined to develop open industry standards to address issues about scalability, privacy and confidentiality on the Ethereum blockchain (a fork of Bitcoin), and the Digital Chamber of Commerce, where Cisco is spearheading efforts to promote the acceptance of digital assets and blockchain-based technology.
Blockchain can potentially change how trust and transparency is managed in digital business. To meet this end, it has to meet the needs of enterprises through established protocols, industry-specific solutions, and the interoperability of Bitcoin “Blockchain” networks. Cisco is building a comprehensive foundation for enterprise Bitcoin “Blockchain” technology based on their strengths in high-availability distributed systems architecture and best-in-class capabilities around security, identity and cryptography, with a powerful ecosystem of partners and alliances. As businesses get ready to adopt this new technology, Cisco is focused on making Bitcoin “Blockchain” enterprise-ready.