TCS, Yale University develop blockchain framework to give data privacy back to users

TCS, Yale University develop blockchain framework to give data privacy back to users
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24 Sep, 2020

Information technology (IT) services major Tata Consultancy Services and Yale University have jointly developed a new blockchain framework that could potentially address privacy and trust issues in peer-to-peer digital networks.

The team plans to enhance blockchain solutions even further as the current crop of solutions does not fully address the issues faced by businesses and individuals around delays, middlemen, high costs and lack of trust, according to a statement.

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“Existing technologies have forced users to choose between trust and maintaining control over their own data,” Professor Leandros Tassiulas, Yale University said.

Tassiulas added that the newly built platform would enable markets to give people sovereignty over their data again.

For the framework, TCS developed the identity component, while Yale researchers built the core service and integrated the software components required to give it the ability to share data and services through a decentralised ecosystem.

According to the statement, most blockchain solutions rely on a centralized management system that prevents users from controlling their own data.  To address this, Yale and TCS, who have partnered since 2016, collaborated to create a new architecture. The team used de-centralized storage provided by Hyperledger Fabric and the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) to build the platform.

Hyperledger is an umbrella foundation for blockchain and related tools while IPFS is a peer-to-peer network that is used for storing data in distributed file systems. The network utilises content addressable storage (a way to store information so it can be retrieved based on its content, not its location) to identify each file in a global folder containing all interconnected computing devices.

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Along with IPFS and the Hyperledger Fabric, the partnership also used two decentralised identity solution tool kits -- Hyperledger Aries and Hyperledger Indy. The new framework provides the benefits of scalability and identity verification present in traditional blockchain solutions along with the trust and decentralization provided by public blockchain systems.

The teams then evaluated the proof of concept. They tested both its security and performance to support off-grid decentralized applications. According to the team, the platform they built offers trusted exchanges within a decentralized framework.

“We believe that decentralized identity is a compelling use case for blockchain technology, and identity platforms and related solutions are already part of our platform and solution strategy,” said Lakshminarasimhan (Lakshmi) Srinivasan, global head, blockchain services, TCS.

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