Big data, known for its incredible boom of the collection of information since the digital age rose to significance in the late 1990s, may get even more important with the new fusion with blockchain data technology. —
The distributed ledger technology (DLT), as blockchain is also known, seized the spotlight after the emergence of Bitcoin in 2009, but the underlying principles were described back in 1991 by cryptographers Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta. Although DLT was initially explored within the context of cryptocurrencies, it quickly became obvious that the technology has implications far beyond these confines. With two such remarkable phenomena co-existing in the past decade, it was inevitable that researchers, corporations, and market participants would turn their attention to investigating the combined potential of Big Data and blockchain, and the initial signs point to a truly extraordinary mixture, according to the experts of the Pura Cryptocurrency project.
The simplest definition of blockchain is perhaps the one provided by IBM, which explains it as “a shared immutable ledger for recording the history of transactions.” On the other hand, we have artificial intelligence (AI) – the key technology employed in Big Data analytics. As complexity scientist and data strategist Francesco Corea puts it, “Blockchain and AI are the two extreme sides of the technology spectrum: one fostering centralized intelligence on close data platforms, the other promoting decentralized applications in an open-data environment.” Nevertheless, Corea is among those who believe that the two technologies can work together, each amplifying the strengths of the other. AI can help blockchain overcome some of its limitations by providing support in areas such as energy consumption management, scalability, layer and application security, and efficiency, among others. Conversely, DLT can augment AI by increasing effectiveness and trustworthiness, lowering market entry barriers, and reducing catastrophic risks scenarios.
While blockchain is virtually immune to hacking and guarantees the security of the information stored in the ledger, it is not designed to handle the analytics aspect, which is the reason Big Data carries so much weight, Pura Cryptocurrency panel notes. According to Trent McConaghy, chief technology officer of BigChainDB, the intersection of DLT and AI will provide companies with far more than data integrity, as critical as that is. In a world where the two technologies complement each other, there will be more information gathered, which will in turn improve modeling capabilities. Furthermore, “when data from silos is merged, you don’t just get a better dataset, you get a qualitatively new dataset. Which leads to a qualitatively new model, from which you can glean new insights and have new business applications,” McConaghy wrote. Another executive who believes in the tremendous potential of this alliance is Nikunj Thakkar, CEO of DataOne Innovation Labs. According to him, the marriage of blockchain and Big Data will enhance the accuracy and security of the data shared, refine decision-making in machine learning, provide real-time detection of illegal activities, and ensure complete automation, among others. “There is no doubt that the future of business, transport and government is poised to undergo a radical transformation when the coming together of Big Data and blockchain becomes reality in the next decade,” Thakkar concludes.
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