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Will Blockchain impact our digital vision?

For the most technical people, the very basic concept of blockchain is the cryptographic algorithm. By a scientific point of view, an SHA (Secure Hash Algorithm) transforms virtualy any text or string of fonts in a string of hexadecimal numbers. 

The number of available strings on an SHA-256, that makes trillions or quintillions small numbers. So, virtually everything can be translated into SHA. Next to SHA-256, SHA-512 involves just 512 bits so the number of available slots is 2^512, difficult to be imagined.

What matter to us this difficult concept?

If I write a string now, like "Hello", I can easily translate it into "185F8DB32271FE25F561A6FC938B2E264306EC304EDA518007D1764826381969". This is the first block. If next I want to say "Hello Manuel", the new text will be translated into "E13D4402165275B29CC458297597F733C3C42EBF18B79092F6E573855AF6556A". If I want to add a ".", so Hello Manuel. , the text is again translated in a different way : "D0E85DAE75B2EC3FC2966668F4A80FEAAA8CA6631B78F1AFDC374EE7D94EFDAC".

Is it a game?

Well, consider that each block is composed by itself (example "Manuel") and the block that was before ("Hello"), each change is consequently tracked. 

Somebody transformed blockchain into a money game (have your heard about Bitcoin?), but what matters for industry is not a game of money, it's the possibility to keep track of all information. As example, an important multionational in food and beverage has decided to move all expiry date of all food products from barcodes to blockchain: no more possibilitite to change.

What if in the future all proprietary communication will travel across blockchain? 

What if process instrumentation can exchange their diagnostics data with Emerson using a blockchain?

What if an user of a DCS can be remotely notified by a message upon blockchain?

Security. Exchange of information will be finally granted by the true knowledge of where the information is going and who uses it. It's a vision, it's something new. Is it something we have to consider for our future?

Maurizio De Francesco

2 Replies

  • It is something not easy to understand but most probably there are several potential applications. I saw that you spoke about Custody Transfer in another article. Do you have any clue how it could be realized?
  • In reply to giuseppe bernardelli:

    So far, there are lots of studies about, but in order to keep it simple, let's imagine that each "action" that is detected by a meter can be logged in a simple hexadecimal string, each one including all the past actions. In few words, it means that with a minimum memory allocation you can record everything and keep the history of actions. If you have time, I'd suggest you to go to this website: www.xorbin.com/.../sha256-hash-calculator and make some test. I wrote today in Italian "Ciao Giuseppe, come va?" and the translation is: "01d48e3c032854dee5fd0914308db9a22a13b344a097218bf30b025600a245dc". Now I'm going to write another statement, this time in English (no language limitations!): "I'm going now to s"end you the ATEX certification of Micro Motion 5700 transmitter, here you can find the attachment" and the result of the TWO statements is "3180b56a49f0ef9b449eb8d7675cc8742bebe35837a0f6edd9ed773c22870a14". Let's imagine that I will then add the attachment. The result of the two statements PLUS the ATEX certificate is: "367bd7c426a2960444b8fcbd4a785a0e732bd174008ac61b174a9d82d256bc2a".
    So, a very impressive shrinkage of memory allocation.
    But this is not all. This is basic criptography. The blockchain technology is a step ahead.
    Imagine that all these blocks are shared among a long series of servers. All new entry must be in accordance with then former. If your chain is made by 3 nodes only, you might agree with the owners of the 3 nodes to modify the data, so you have realized a fake and nobody can detect if the data you sent are true or fake. But if the number of nodes is virtually unlimited, there is no chance to agree with all of them on a modification (even if a single one will not agree, you operation fails). This is the true relevance of blockchain: the certainty of data!

    Maurizio De Francesco