Identifying Projects

I have a few different ideas of what I could do for a project based on blockchain, generally based around the idea of content protection. The first project idea is a research subject, whether blockchain could be used to project content creators. This would require researching blockchain and how it could be used to protect content from being exploited or stolen, including how re-uploaded content could be identified as a copy. The second is whether blockchain could be used as a platform for commission exchanges. This is based on how digital commissions can be harder to verify using current system, which are often based around physical goods. As example is PayPal, which has a chargeback function which can be exploited by both creators and clients (eg, clients filing a chargeback for a product already completed by claiming it was never shipped, or a creator taking longer than 6 months to provide a product and preventing clients from filing a rightful chargeback or being refunded). The third thing would be creating a social content sharing platform, which uses blockchain to keep user content protected. This one is similar to both previous ideas, but is more based on website design. Most of these projects would involve similar work, just with a different overall outcome and goal.

Some potential academic articles for referencing:
Ushare
Personal Data Control
Sharing Economy
Monetized Graphics
Musicians

Broad Research

IT Area: Blockchain

Why it’s Interesting
Blockchain uses cryptography to create a secure system which can be used to for data-based transactions. This can be applied to things like business/monetary transaction using cryptocurrencies, but could also be used for any kind of data transactions, and would be a method of verifying transactions which could otherwise be exploited.
It could change how transactions are done if implemented as it removes the need for third-party involvement and would use direct peer-to-peer contact, and solved the double-spending problem (spending a single digital token more than once) preventing the use of cryptocurrencies.

3 Facts
Blockchain/bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto, who’s real identity (/identities) are unknown.
Blockchain hashes are used to identify unique content on a blockchain, so for things like images this only requires a tine change for the image to register as different and generate a new ID
Blockchains can be a number of different types (eg public or private), and use a decentralised design to prevent centralised data risks, ensuring the accuracy of the data.

3 Assumptions
Blockchain could be used for smaller contend creators to help prevent things like theft of content or claiming ownership of others work.
Two reasons which prevent Blockchain use are block-scale and fundamental differences with current systems.
Open/public blockchains are more common and safer in terms of transactions than private chains.

3 Unknowns
Why blockchains use cryptocurrencies rather than other currencies
How blocks are constructed
If blockchain could be used for protecting content creators outside of business-based content

Resources
General Website
General introduction to blockchain

Academic Articles

Decentralising Privacy: Using BlockChain to Protect Personal Data
Problem:
Third parties have too much control over massive amounts of user data, and there are too many breaches of personal user privacy and security because of how the data is handled. “The recent increase in reported incidents of surveillance and security breaches compromising users’ privacy call into question the current model“. A service like blockchain can completely take this out of the hands of a third party, and would allow users to control their own data rather than being forced to rely on and trust a third party company who might benefit greatly from misusing that data, or might record data they don’t require. An example of this would be Facebook (Hill, 2011), which seems to record and hold onto pretty much any kind of data that relates to a user, when this isn’t really necessary for them to successfully provide users with a social media account service.

Why is it important:
In the Big Data era, data is constantly being collected and analyse, leading to innovation and economic growth.” Personal data is valuable. It helps companies determine what consumers want or enjoy, and allows them to make decisions based around that knowledge. The problem now is that “there is a growing concern about user privacy… …Individuals have little or no control over the data that is stored about them or how it is used“. Just how much personal data is recorded usually isn’t up to the user, and often can’t be changed or controlled by them, and once their data has been stored the user has little control over what happens to or, or a right to have it remain private. One method to deal with this has been to anonymizing research but “recent research has demonstrated how anonymized datasets employing [k-anonymity] techniques can be de-anonymized
Blockchain is a possible solution to this, as it no longer requires the third party for data organization, leaving the user themselves in control of their own information and what gets given out. The system discussed in the paper claims that it focuses on “Data Ownership, Data Transparency and Auditability, and Fine-Grained Access Control“, all commonly faced privacy issues (Users often have no control/ownership of their own information, have no idea what data is being recorded, and agrees to data permissions on sign up which cannot be altered later). Section III Proposed Solution of the article goes over the system in more detail, discussing how exactly a blockchain system would allow users to determine what information the service providers/third parties have, based on set and changeable permissions, as well as how this doesn’t prevent user identity assurance.

Real-world applications:
There are many in relation to IT and online services, as pretty much any service which requires user data could gather and misuse data without permission of the user. It would overall make data storage more private, transparent and adjustable for users as well as enabling the same data-gathering rules to be put in place regardless of the third parties involved as it would no longer be determined by them.

Bitcoin-NG: A Scalable Blockchain Protocol
Problem:
While Bitcoin and Blockchain have been successful, the current protocols used by blockchain limits the scale of possible transactions it can be used for, which limit the throughput/latency. “Despite its potential, blockchain protocols face a significant scalability barrier. The maximum rate at which these systems can process transactions is capped by the choice of two parameters: block size and block interval.” With the current protocol, the block size can’t be increased without making blocks take longer, and the interval can’t be increased without restricting the block size.

Why is it important:
The block/interval limitations prevent blockchain from becoming more widely applicable – For example, bitcoin can do 7 transactions a second, while a system like PayPal can manage 193 a second (Rosic, 2017). This means bitcoin-built blockchain systems suffer from the same problem, limiting the scalability of blockchain transactions and limiting their applicable uses.
Bitcoin-NG (Next Generation) is supposed to be a solution for this problem, “a new blockchain protocol designed to scale“. This would overcome the downfall of the current system, instead limiting the transactions by the network and node capabilities rather than the program itself.

Real-world applications:
A scalable form of blockchain/bitcoin would allow for additional use throughout different. “Such scaling is key in allowing for blockchain technology to fulfill its promise of implementing trustless consensus for a variety of demanding applications including payments, digital asset transactions, and smart contracts — at global scale.” Blockchain has been established as a safe way to conduct transactions between parties without the need for a third party, and to perform transactions with a global digital currency.

References:
Hill, K (2011, September 27). Facebook Keeps A History Of Everyone Who Has Ever Poked You, Along With A Lot Of Other Data Forbes Magazine

Rosic, A (2017, November). Blockchain Scalability: When, Where, How? BlockGeeks

Industry Topics

One example of a software industry topic would be Blockchain technology, and its potential impact and uses.

Blockgeeks talks about the general purpose and application of a blockchain and how it can protect assets on the internet, such as currency exchanges using digital currencies such as Bitcoin. In general the article is informative about the subject rather than giving an opinion on it, and goes on to list a number of applications where blockchain is useful, such as finance, property, and identity protection.
Medium has a post which discusses real-life applications of blockchain and the use-case scenarios of it, and generally discusses the benefits of using a vlockchain system rather than a more traditional one. It touches on similar topics to the BlockGeeks link, such as financial security in trades.
Harvard Business Review also discusses some of the ways blockchain would be beneficial to security and transactions, but also about some of the issues which could prevent its adoption, such as how blockchain works fundamentally and how it contrasts with current systems used.
BitcoinMagazine discusses the potential use of blockchain in space missions and internal operations.
Xenonstack also has a general overview of the system, such as it’s origin and how that original use has been expanded for alternative uses outside of Bitcoins.
The Economist gives a more business-orientated view, listing the areas where blockchain would be beneficial within a business environment for things like staff payment, contracts and cloud storage.
Most of these articles have a positive view of the system, with the HBR discussion on BlockChain’s larger implementation being the most negative due to their view on when the system is likely to be implemented at large.

In general BlockChain interests me because of the applications in general internet media, such as personal online content and security. It could be useful for content creators to reduce the plagiarism and theft of content such as writing and artwork, as well as providing a more secure way to make online transactions regarding that kind of media. Current payment systems like PayPal are known for being more interested in buyer protection than seller protection, making it easy for freelance artists to be charged back money for work they completed due to it being digital/not shipped to the buyer.