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Blockchain: no node, no control

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

A single pawn isolated from a group of several pawns

“Whatever is well conceived is clearly said,

and the words to say it flow with ease.”

Faced with certain discussions on blockchain, Boileau's aphorism sometimes leaves one wondering... But the vagueness, more or less maintained, would not be serious if it did not hide an absolutely major issue, and finally a substantial risk.

Blockchain is too often presented as a technology with intrinsic properties. This is the case for "immutability", which means that content that enters in a blockchain cannot be modified in a latter stage.

This property is essential in a B2B context of end-to-end supply chain traceability. It allows shared data to be unquestionable, engaging and auditable in terms of origin and content ("who said what and when") without one actor assuming hegemonic control of the responsibility of others. This promise is the heart of blockchain's interest in traceability, which is what makes it an essential technological brick with no real alternative.

[Read our article on this subject "Does supply chain traceability need blockchain? »]

But this promise is entirely based on the governance and typology of the blockchain network. In particular, having your own node autonomously is the main requirement for a guarantee on the immutability and auditability of data, including your own.

If the network nodes are controlled by a single actor, this promise does not apply; if you use a network and do not have your own node, this promise does not apply either. Finally, if you are in a network where you cannot have your own node, in your own technical infrastructure, then you should seriously reconsider it, because blockchain technology no longer promises you anything.

Also read our article "Blockchain 101", which explains in a simple way what blockchain technology is!

Credits: Markus Spiske from Pexels


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