Despite the hype surrounding blockchain, there’s a strong sense that it is still at an incredibly nascent stage of its development. For instance, at London Tech Week this summer a tiny proportion of the events had any kind of blockchain element to them.
Despite this however, it does seem to be a technology that has legs, and indeed reports have emerged highlighting its tremendous potential for things such as healthcare information management.
“In the NHS, the technology offers the potential to improve health care by improving and authenticating the delivery of services and by sharing records securely, according to exact rules,” says Sir Mark Walport, the UK’s chief scientific advisor.
For the time being however, Bitcoin remains by far the most well known application of blockchain technology, and a recent paper highlights a novel visualization method for shedding light on the transactions undertaken on the platform.
The new approach makes it easier to hone in on individual transactions, and the authors believe it will help to detect things like money laundering.
The researchers, from Imperial College London, takes a top down approach to visualization and thus differs from more bottom up approaches that look at things from a single-source perspective. By looking at transactions from the top down, they believe that it makes it easier to spot patterns before then drilling down into individual transactions for more detail.
The approach could prove particularly useful for regulators who must try and make sense of what is happening on blockchain so that they can perform their intermediary function effectively. By using visualization, it makes it much easier to understand large datasets, which will hopefully make the task easier for them.
Such approaches will help to support the trust elements that are so important to the very ethos of blockchain.
“Blockchains offer a new paradigm for implementing transactional trust. We should open our minds, and accept that trust will be computed by machines, instead of verified by humans,” he says in his latest book, The Business Blockchain.