Olga Zeveleva
December 2017.
201

What sector could really benefit from blockchain technology?

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I was just recently discussing with an astronomer how to create a system for collecting data on stars over many decades, and having the database be writable by many parties around the world, such as astronomers working at different universities, and putting that into a shared system - a repository they could all access, all update, and that crucially could be resilient over many decades to very infrequent but catastrophic incidents. Blockchains can help address the low probability but unacceptably high cost incidents, like total data loss. If you are collecting data over a long enough time horizon, you need to think about the once every 10 year or 20 or 100 year catastrophic events.

Amazon web services, for example, is an incredibly sophisticated and resilient system for running the web. But it periodically crashes, and when it does, a big chunk of the web goes down. Putting astronomical data into an extremely resilient, writable, shared system that’s designed to weather the proverbial ‘100-year storm’ could make some sense. It’s yet another good example of a new, interesting use case for blockchain.

Garrick Hileman and Michel Rauchs released the 2017 Global Blockchain Benchmarking Study, which can be downloaded as a PDF here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3040224.
You can read the brief summary of their study here: https://insight.jbs.cam.ac.uk/2017/central-banks-are-trialling-blockchain/
The above interview was conducted on 12 December, 2017.

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