MIT Professor: Blockchain’s Perceived Advantages Actually Work Against It


Blockchain technology has been highly spoken of, as the distributed ledger has been proven (in many businesses) to improve operations in terms of efficiency, costs and security – with the latter having been widely emphasized. This, however, is not the same sentiment that John Norris Maguire Professor of IT at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stuart Madnick shares.

As reported by Cointelegraph, the IT professor took to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) to expound on factors that make Blockchain inefficient when it comes to security. Surprisingly, he believes that the key factors that have led many to applaud the technology have now turned against it.

“Transparency, Distributed Control and Anonymity”

A study was initially conducted in arriving to this conclusion, where 72 publicly informed cases regarding security breach was evaluated (those dating between 2011 and 2018). It turns out some of its vulnerabilities include, “transparency, distributed control and anonymity,” all being features of blockchain technology.

With any good comes some bad, and this seems to be the same approach taken by the professor in making his points. He first argued that while transparency allows people to validate and verify a software, it also allows hackers, scammers, and people of the sort to take advantage – especially since they too have access.

The next case made was in relation to distributed control, where Madnick supposedly gave the example of a stock market undergoing flash crash – a volatile fall in security values over a short period of time. In this more centralized case, the market can be forced to come to a halt, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case with blockchain.

Anonymity Is A Disadvantage For Blockchains?

Finally, the IT prof argues that anonymity is another advantage turned to a disadvantage due to the following reason:

“The key is the only way that you are identified so you are anonymous, which is why it is popular for illegal transactions, such as ransomware payments.”

In conclusion, he trusts that just like any technology, blockchain also has some vulnerabilities amidst the praise it has gained.

He also noted that,

“human actions or inactions still have significant consequences for blockchain security.”

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