Over the last ten years two of the most important technologies that have seen widespread adoption have been virtualization and Bitcoin. Virtualization paved the way for cloud computing and the Bitcoin protocol has the potential to reinvent finance using cryptographic building blocks called blockchains.
Bitcoin relies heavily on the blockchain, a public “ledger” of every transaction that has ever taken place that is distributed to the edge of the network. The key idea is that there is no centralized authority that is responsible for saying what is true or what is false, rather multiple distributed parties come to consensus, that consensus is entered into the ledger which thereafter can be accessed by anyone in the future. It is computationally infeasible for a single actor (or anything less that majority consensus) to go back and modify history.
What do consumers of cloud computing care about? What do they want to know is true?
What would be the equivalent of a blockchain transaction in the cloud?
If we position the cloud as a giant logistics platform for data, then we can think of a transaction as the transport or processing of data. Data enters in to the cloud (network), it is processed (compute) and then is either returned to a consumer or kept for re-use at a later date (storage).
If you ask CIOs what they need to move their mission critical processes to the cloud then you will hear terms like “accountability, reliability, compliance, security, verifiability, auditability, acceptance of liability” etc. In other words they demand that there is a secure supply chain and that every step in that supply chain can be verified in real-time and when things go wrong it is possible to figure out what went wrong and that there is someone who can be held accountable.”
Today not a single cloud vendor can say this. It also shows the opportunity; if such a platform could be built and the concerns of Enterprise CIOs could be satisfied then the entire global enterprise IT budget would be up for grabs.
Everything, that happens to data, whether transport, processing or storage of data is entered into the blockchain.
In essence the blockchain freezes the compute platform in time and users of the platform can verify that the platform is in the correct state in real-time.What happened to data, who accessed the data, where it went and how that data was governed can be verified by anyone who has access to the blockchain
Such a system would give complete traceability for the cloud, entities who are either using or administrating the cloud can be held responsible for their actions, regulators get to audit all processes and everyone involved can verify what happened when.