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INSIGHT: BLOCKCHAIN


Doing business on the Blockchain –


Applications for the Lubricant Sector


Jeff Conroy, Chief Scientist, Authentix


Mention blockchain and many people will immediately think of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies that have been dominating headlines over the past few years. Although cryptocurrencies are an example of blockchain technology, there are many other uses for the underlying fundamental properties that blockchains provide.


A general definition of blockchain is a distributed, append-only, immutable digital ledger. A blockchain is the connecting (or chaining) of packages of information together in a verified record by a network of users with an agreed upon protocol. This network of users and the record may be publicly available like the well-known cryptocurrencies, or it may be private and require permissions to access like the Hyperledger Fabric that is the basis of many commercially available blockchains for business use.


The protocols in different blockchains may have different advantages for different applications, but the important concept is that the ledger entries (data)


32 LUBE MAGAZINE NO.149 FEBRUARY 2019


are used as the input to a function. That digital data is used as a set of inputs to a protocol (mathematical functions), the output of which is another set of digital data. Once calculated (and validated by multiple parties) the ledger of transaction is updated with the new entries (a new block), and the answer to the function is published (added to the chain). These answers for each block are intertwined in the protocol so that all the past entries and the values calculated for the ledger cannot be changed without a different answer being arrived at by the algorithm. The new blocks would fail to give a correct answer, and nothing would be added to the chain.


The shared possession and processing of the blockchain amongst users acts as a means of instant validation of a historical set of data in that blockchain. No data can go into the blockchain unless it is formatted correctly, processed by the agreed upon protocol, and the new blockchain confirmed by multiple parties as being a valid record given those inputs. In the purely digital world, a blockchain


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