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Clack is Joint Field Chief Editor for the research journal Frontiers in Blockchain. Recent publications from Frontiers in Blockchain are given below:


  • If blockchain is the solution, robot security is the problem

    If blockchain is the solution, robot security is the problem

    Robotics systems of all types are revolutionizing a wide variety of industries—transportation, manufacturing, and even healthcare—and yet, many essential ingredients for robotics systems in the real world are not technologically ready for deployment. Currently, robots lack the protocols and standards required to be safe and secure outside factories. In an attempt to close this gap, recent research has demonstrated the security benefits of combining robotics systems with blockchain-based and related technologies (e.g., smart contracts, zero-knowledge proofs, Merkle trees). In this perspective article, I argue that blockchain-based robotics is starting to provide innovative solutions (e.g., secure data sharing, consensus mechanisms, and new interaction methods) to urgent problems of robot security. I list the most important takeaways so far from this emerging field of research that I helped establish together with a growing community. I close the article by discussing the implications of the security challenges that the robotics research community is facing, and possible ways for us to move forward.

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  • Blockchain based resource governance for decentralized web environments

    Blockchain based resource governance for decentralized web environments

    Decentralization initiatives such as Solid, Digi.me, and ActivityPub aim to give data owners more control over their data and to level the playing field by enabling small companies and individuals to gain access to data, thus stimulating innovation. However, these initiatives typically use access control mechanisms that cannot verify compliance with usage conditions after access has been granted to others. In this paper, we extend the state of the art by proposing a resource governance conceptual framework, entitled ReGov, that facilitates usage control in decentralized web environments. We subsequently demonstrate how our framework can be instantiated by combining blockchain and trusted execution environments. Through blockchain technologies, we record policies expressing the usage conditions associated with resources and monitor their compliance. Our instantiation employs trusted execution environments to enforce said policies, inside data consumers’ devices. We evaluate the framework instantiation through a detailed analysis of requirments derived from a data market motivating scenario, as well as an assessment of the security, privacy, and affordability aspects of our proposal.

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  • Corrigendum: An overview of blockchain efficient interaction technologies
  • Empowering trusted data sharing for data analytics in a federated environment: A blockchain-based approach

    Empowering trusted data sharing for data analytics in a federated environment: A blockchain-based approach

    As data analytics is used in business to increase profits, organizations use it to pursue their goals. Even if enterprise data could be already valuable on its own, in many cases, combining it with external data sources would boost the value of the output, making data sharing a need in data analytics. At the same time, organizations are reluctant to share data, as they are scared of disclosing critical information. This calls for solutions that are able to safeguard data holders by regulating how data can be shared to ensure the so-called data sovereignty. This paper focuses on the usage of data lakes as well-established technology across enterprises for data analytics where internal or publicly available data are considered. The goal is to extend data lakes with functionalities that, respecting the data sovereignty, enable a data lake also to be ingested with data shared by other organizations and to share data to external organizations. Notable, the purpose of this work is to face this issue by defining an architecture that, inserted in a federated environment: restricts data access and enables monitoring that the actual usage of data respects the data sovereignty expressed in the policies agreed upon by the involved parties; makes use of Blockchain technology as a means for guaranteeing the traceability of data sharing; and allows for balancing computation movement and data movement. The proposed approach has been applied to a healthcare scenario where several institutions (e.g., hospitals and clinics, research institutes, and medical universities) produce and collect clinical data in local data lakes.

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  • Political, economic, and governance attitudes of blockchain users

    Political, economic, and governance attitudes of blockchain users

    We present a survey to evaluate crypto-political, crypto-economic, and crypto-governance sentiment in people who are part of a blockchain ecosystem. Based on 3,710 survey responses, we describe their beliefs, attitudes, and modes of participation in crypto and investigate how self-reported political affiliation and blockchain ecosystem affiliation are associated with these. We observed polarization in questions on perceptions of the distribution of economic power, personal attitudes towards crypto, normative beliefs about the distribution of power in governance, and external regulation of blockchain technologies. Differences in political self-identification correlated with opinions on economic fairness, gender equity, decision-making power and how to obtain favorable regulation, while blockchain affiliation correlated with opinions on governance and regulation of crypto and respondents’ semantic conception of crypto and personal goals for their involvement. We also find that a theory-driven constructed political axis is supported by the data and investigate the possibility of other groupings of respondents or beliefs arising from the data.

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  • Health Passport: A blockchain-based PHR-integrated self-sovereign identity system

    Health Passport: A blockchain-based PHR-integrated self-sovereign identity system

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was necessary to validate a person’s health status along with their identity to permit travel. This was facilitated via paper-based certificates and centralized digital apps. Even after COVID-19, it is anticipated that such health status verifications will be required for travel and other purposes. As a result, there needs to be an additional credential, a “Health Passport,” that establishes whether a person satisfies the health requirements for various purposes. Digital credentials so prepared should be trustable, unforgeable, and verifiable. The Health Passport should be designed to protect the end-users’ privacy and give people control over the data they use to confirm their credentials. This article explores the requirements for a generalized Health Passport system and uses agent-oriented modeling (AOM) to design a blockchain-based self-sovereign identity (SSI) system integrated with the Personal Health Record (PHR) to address this requirement. The article demonstrates the feasibility of the solution by implementing a proof of concept on Hyperledger Indy and Aries, integrated with the PHR – MediTrans. Credential issuance and verification time were calculated, and it was observed that the time overhead was minimal. This solution allows users to verify their credentials with the verifier without revealing any significant personal information. Our solution can be integrated into any PHR solution as the SSI solution is added as a plugin to the PHR accessible via a mobile/web app.

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  • Market trends and analysis of blockchain technology in supply chain

    Market trends and analysis of blockchain technology in supply chain

    Technology is an important tool in the armory of state-of-the-art innovations, in terms of both digital expansions and disruptions. With blockchain technology gaining momentum, different industries are emphasizing experimentation with it. Nowadays, organizations are emphasizing towards agile and leaner supply chains with end-to-end prominence via the incorporation of this latest technology, thereby boosting services across the world. The revolutionary features of blockchain technology are paving the way for greater opportunities for supply chain businesses. The technology has the potential to become a supply chain data utility and repository that offers benefits to all its users, such as unique market information that would be otherwise unavailable from any other source. This paper contemplates the need for blockchain technology in the supply chain and its contribution to enhancing the overall efficiency and demand planning processes of businesses. It discusses the latest market trends and factors driving the need for the incorporation of blockchain in the supply chain sector and the future scenario. Different use cases of the technology, market challenges in the implementation of the technology, and the solutions offered by different companies to address such problems have also been discussed.

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  • Democratizing effects of digital ledger technologies: Implications for economic mobility

    Democratizing effects of digital ledger technologies: Implications for economic mobility

    There is a large body of empirical and theoretical literature on the effects of technological change on individuals, labor markets, and overall economic activity. Theories of skill-biased technical change (SBTC) suggest that technology increases the earnings power of skilled workers, but substitutes for less skilled workers. Distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) provide a new context for examining and understanding the impact of technology change on labor, competition, and economic outcomes. This paper explores the theoretical frameworks through which DLTs could enhance economic mobility and provides examples from several areas, including: i) the creation of new jobs and higher value-added jobs, and the modularization of complex tasks; ii) improvements in the way people learn and acquire human capital; iii) increased competition in the marketplace; and iv) more inclusive access to financial services with fewer intermediaries.

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  • A Solidity implementation of TAVS

    A Solidity implementation of TAVS

    We present a Solidity smart contract implementation of the TAVS e-voting protocol. The Two Authorities Electronic Voting Scheme (TAVS) is a voting scheme that achieves universal verifiability with a reduced time-complexity both for the elector and the voting system. TAVS security derives from the RSA cryptosystem it employs, and the assumption of two entities that do not share information. We present a Solidity implementation which replaces one of these entities with an immutable smart contract in Ethereum based networks. By doing so, our implementation extends the security properties of TAVS and achieves a higher degree of resilience, verifiability, and availability. We open source the code of the implementation.

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  • An overview of blockchain efficient interaction technologies

    An overview of blockchain efficient interaction technologies

    The successful operation of Bitcoin has made its underlying blockchain technology receive wide attention. As the application scenarios of blockchain technology are enriched, the requirements for its performance are getting higher. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to effectively solve the problem of high-performance data interaction in the blockchain. In this paper, based on relevant domestic and foreign research literature, we start from the development history of blockchain technology and review the relevant research work on improving the performance of blockchain from three perspectives: on-chain interaction technology, off-chain interaction technology, and cross-chain interaction technology in turn. The on-chain and off-chain interaction technologies improve performance by improving the architecture of the blockchain system. The performance improvement solution of on-chain interaction technology is to modify and optimize the basic protocol and architecture of the blockchain itself to achieve a performance improvement. Still, the impact of this approach is limited in terms of performance improvement. The performance improvement solution of off-chain interaction technology is to transfer part of the data processing to off-chain and only return the final result to on-chain for storage and recording, which reduces the burden of on-chain operation and improves the efficiency of data processing. In terms of cross-chain interaction technology, this paper analyses four mainstream technology, namely, Notary Scheme, Side chain and Chain relay, Hash-Locking, and Distributed Private Key Control, and ultimately concludes through comparative analysis that cross-chain technology has a significant impact on improving blockchain performance. Finally, the paper provides a systematic overview of the above and an outlook on the possible future development of technologies related to enhancing blockchain performance.

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