Of all the new technologies shaping the next wave of digital transformation, it seems none is getting as much attention as blockchain. Syniverse recently made a major move in this space by announcing our partnership with IBM. Together we created a solution that uses blockchain to instantly validate new processes for clearing and settlement services.
We built on this collaboration when Syniverse Chief Technology Officer Chris Rivera and I had the opportunity to participate in an IBM Blockchain Platform Board of Advisors meeting in New York, along with a number of other industry leaders that are also collaborating with IBM as blockchain innovation partners.
As a member of the board, Syniverse was represented on the business side by Dennis Meurs, Vice President and General Manager of Transaction and Clearing Services and head of Syniverse’s blockchain solutions, and on the technology side by Chris Rivera and myself.
Together with our customers and partners, Syniverse is creating an ecosystem where blockchain is one of many technology and service enablers. The meeting gave us the opportunity to discuss topics that are essential to progress on this front, including various issues with implementation and forthcoming technology sets specific to identity, the internet of things, and 5G.
These areas are core of Syniverse’s mission and particularly Hyperledger Fabric, the blockchain and smart contracts mechanisms that Syniverse is now working with. This is a blockchain framework for developing applications or solutions with a modular architecture that allows components to be plug-and-play. As part of this, Hyperledger Fabric uses smart contracts called “chaincode” that provide the application logic of the system.
For Syniverse’s mobile operator customers involved in clearing and settlement, this Hyperledger blockchain represents a single source of truth specific to contract acceptance, usage and invoicing, reconciliation, and dispute-management interactions. Critically, thanks to blockchain technology, these interactions are immutable and transparent (specific to the participants within a permissioned or private group).
Here’s a deeper look at some of the new developments and innovations that we discussed in this area at the meeting.
So what’s new?
It should be stated that identity is a context-driven theme and is fundamental to blockchain, directed acyclic graphs, and, of course, the internet of things (IoT). To this end, at the meeting, there was an opportunity to explore more scaling mechanisms that could be applied to IoT applications. For instance, we discussed the use of directed acyclic graphs (DAGs), a type of graph used to model probabilities, connectivity, and causality, and their application with Hedera Hashgraph.
Hedera can be best characterized as a “scalable path to permissionless and distributed“ architecture. There is a governing council model, including 39 organizations and enterprises, where members vote on the software direction of the public nodes and the Hedera platform code base. The Hedera performance rate is approximately 250,000 transmissions per second. Moving forward, like IBM, Syniverse, our customers, and our partners will explore the applicability of Hedera to the development of new solutions.
What about zero-knowledge proofs?
A zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) is a method where one party can prove to another party that they know a value without conveying any information apart from the fact that they know that value. In other words, it’s a way of saying, “I cannot tell you my secret, but I can prove to you that I know the secret.” Fundamentally, with ZKPs, we can implement a safeguard to protect against data leakage.
Within Hyperledger, Indy and Aries comprise the parts that are focused on peer-to-peer identity with the use of ZKPs (think privacy by design at a simple level). Hyperledger Fabric also already possesses a ZKP capability. As we move ahead, we look forward to collaborating with various customers, business partners, and industry organizations to assess the development of ZKPs for solutions that will best serve our customers in today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape.
Monique is a member of the office of the Chief Technology Officer at Syniverse and works cross-industry and cross-organizationally to create new business ecosystems to delight Syniverse customers and partners. Monique is also President and Co-founder of the Humanized Internet, a nonprofit organization focused on addressing the need to control identities as well as providing digital identity for those individuals most underserved. The belief in the social good of technology with embedded ethics has guided Monique’s extensive work with blockchain, especially its applicability to education and credentialing as well as other industries, including healthcare, insurance, and the internet of things. In addition, Monique is also President of the VETRI Foundation, in Switzerland. The main purpose of the foundation is to manage a platform presently known as VETRI and the funding, establishment, and execution of initiatives that are focused on the management and control of data and privacy. More about Monique can be found on her website, www.moniquemorrow.com.