The U.K. National Archives is Investigating the Use of Blockchain for Records Sharing

Blockchains first became popular with the rising popularity of crypto currencies, such as Bitcoins, Ethereum, Monero, and many others. However, the concept of electronic record keeping, or a ledger, of transactions is finding many other uses besides crypto currencies. Companies and organizations as diverse as IBM, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Wal-Mart are in the process of adopting blockchain technology to their everyday business needs.

NOTE: Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology which is both tamper-resistant and decentralized. For an explanation of blockchain technology and why it is unhackable, see What is blockchain? Can it live up to the hype? at https://tinyurl.com/ybrapsht and Blockchain, Cryptosecurity & Cybersecurity at https://tinyurl.com/ydfx4mm7.

Also, according to Forbes at https://tinyurl.com/ya9y94nr:

Blockchain exists as a shared database distributed across a public or private network of computers. A network uses its combined computing power to continuously reconcile data so that the shared ledger of transactions is updated and audited frequently. Secure, direct exchanges make blockchain ideal for trusted transactions. Individuals or businesses can utilize it to transfer intangible values such as equities, currencies, votes, patents or copyrights, as well as tangible property such as gold, real estate, pharmaceuticals or commodities.

Now The National Archives (TNA), the official record-keeper of the UK government, is investigating the use of blockchain for records sharing.

The research project, dubbed Archangel, is being led by the University of Surrey and involves partners such as the Open Data Institute. Among other goals, the initiative will explore the extent to which blockchain can address pressing questions related to archive management.

In a blog post published Tuesday, Alex Green, the Archives’ digital preservation services manager, wrote:

“How can we demonstrate that the record you see today is the same record that was entrusted to the archive 20 years previously?… How do we ensure that citizens continue to see archives as trusted custodians of the digital public record? To address these questions, Archangel is exploring how we can know that a digital record has been modified and whether the change was legitimate so that ultimately it can still be trusted as the authentic record.”

“Specifically, the project is investigating how blockchain might be used to achieve this,” Green added.

To read more about this new technology being used to guarantee the authenticity of very old things, read Trustworthy technology: the future of digital archives in The National Archives Blog at: https://tinyurl.com/ychdo548.

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