The building blocks

taking blockchain technology to the next level

We took a close look at blockchain technology and concluded that it was good but could be better. The notion of an immutable ledger has obvious relevance to proving compliance, but the existing state of the art is too cumbersome and relies too much on sharing data across too many partner networks. Not only that but, as recent studies have shown, blockchain is a huge energy consumer. Given our imminent planetary emergency, we couldn't allow that to continue.

So we've been working closely with our friends at InterlockLedger to build in a storage system that's nimble, responsive and even more secure.

There’s good news and bad news

Blockchain has been hailed as something of a panacea, and it certainly has a lot to recommend it. First, of course, is its immutability. It provides an unquestionable source of truth that’s ideal for proof of compliance. It’s highly resistant to security penetration, making it ideal for financial transactions. It excels as a person-to-person data driver, largely due to its origin as a crypto trading platform.

All of this gives excellent accountability for financial institutions, which is why we decided from the outset that biz.Clarency should be based on an immutable ledger model.

But blockchain isn’t the perfect answer.

We saw in 2020 that blockchain could be penetrated, though it’s undoubtedly extremely difficult to do so. We looked for a still higher level of security.

By its very nature, blockchain needs a huge network of distributed processors, all of which require some sort of reward – a complexity we wanted to avoid. And this distribution and the need for agreement across the network makes traditional blockchains very slow and cumbersome when dealing with large files – and we needed to work with lots of scanned document images.

…and here’s the good news

It was only after months of search and research that we found the answer. InterlockLedger in São Paulo were able to demonstrate a clean-sheet rethink of blockchain technology. It offers greatly improved security, a unique structure that allows full functionality and immutability from just a single node, super-fast document manipulation and more.

Here was an energy-efficient, adaptable platform that ticked every box – and it wasn’t some techie’s vision of the future; they were able to demonstrate it in full functionality. Better still, they’re a great bunch of people who have become true partners in developing a genuinely ground-breaking platform.

A sustainable blockchain

It’s surprising that, in our energy-conscious world, no one seems to have noticed blockchain’s carbon footprint. All that duplicated storage is, frankly, an unacceptable consumption of energy. The biz.Clarency blockchain delivers greatly enhanced security and immutability, but requires far fewer nodes - by a factor of millions. Its revolutionary structure delivers full blockchain functionality - plus higher speed and greater security - from just a a single node and two peers.

what’s special about InterlockLedger?

Conventional blockchains work by duplicating blocks over a widely distributed network. Any data operations are submitted to all of the processors, which then compete to carry out the instruction. When one processor wins, that block of information is copied across the network. Validation of a piece of data requires all processors to agree on common truth; any discrepancy in one node is rejected. This makes it extremely difficult to make an unauthorised change. It’s a powerful security technique, but all that negotiation and duplication comes at a heavy price in speed and energy requirement. And data can’t be processed or accessed offline.

InterlockLedger doesn’t work this way. There’s no need for a crypto reward for participants, nor does it require a blockchain application for access. We were able to connect direct to the ledger through an excellent web services API.

Instead of duplication across independent processors, with the associated requirement for data to be visible to all peers, InterlockLedger - or IL2 for short – can work fully with just two independent peers. When data is shared between peers – something that was vital to our architecture – only relevant data is shared or processed, vastly reducing energy and storage requirements. It also allows systems to work offline.

The integrity of data is guaranteed by an exchange of interlocking keys that mutually lock each block – and all preceding blocks – from any alteration. Those keys contain imprints of each preceding block, so any change instantly creates a key failure, preventing the tampering attempt. This means that only the encrypted key is shared between peers, while the actual data can be kept private.

The technology was impressive – and it worked. IL2 is now earning its living as a next-generation blockchain that works seamlessly behind biz.Clarency. As our platform has matured and developed, the guys at InterlockLedger have been there with us, developing new functionality and reacting cheerfully to our ever-increasing demands.

This has definitely been one of our better decisions.