Blockchain – which do you choose VHS or Beta?

No sooner do most retail market investors finally understand the difference between cryptocurrency and blockchain, (simply put crypto needs blockchain, blockchain doesn’t need crypto), than the timely debate starts as to which platforms are actually commercially viable.

With Bitcoin and Ethereum taking up the most column inches, the uninitiated could easily believe they are the only platforms out there.

Whilst they are arguably the most popular names in the public blockchain arena, there are many other public and private platforms offering distributed ledger technology (DLT), each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

As you can probably guess given the title, the only certainty is that they don’t talk to each other. Older readers will of course remember the hackneyed comparison and discussions regarding VHS (JVC) and Betamax (Sony) home video recorder systems in the dim and distant past. While it would be nice to think that we’ve learnt something about technical standards in that time, as in so many instances, it appears not to be the case – after all who really needs interoperability anyway?

Accenture’s press release (1) earlier this month details its approach to enable two or more disparate blockchains to have some form of communication whether this be transfer of a tokenised asset or data mapping different blocks across different blockchains. The devil is of course in the detail, but this is obviously a move in the right direction; anything that helps bring together two organisations with different technical solutions and / or with disparate requirements must be good.

Interoperability is key to the take-up of DLT technology. Therefore, the ability to run an application on a DLT platform, any DLT platform is a key consideration with solutions like Sequestrum our Universal Digital Repository application. The universal element here was designed in from day one, we wanted to achieve an application that had near zero barrier to entry, an application that could be added to legacy systems to provide that immutable proof of record whether the use case be for copyright, audit or governance, without have to re-engineer vast swaths of code.

It was equally important that the application could sit on the client’s choice of DLT platform. Taking the approach adopted by some of the application development frameworks, we looked to separate the application from the DLT platform, choosing to interface these via an application programming layer (API). Not a new solution, but very flexible. In theory this API layer acts like the Babel fish, allowing two incompatible elements to communicate, sometimes easily, sometimes with a bit more complexity. In Sequestrum’s case allowing the application to remain agnostic to whichever platform it is accessing its data from.

Sequestrum is fully owned and developed by the team at Catenae Innovation (CTEA.L), which is listed on the LSE and is in many ways well ahead of Silicon Valley as a proven, cash generating offering.

With the development being headed by Alan Simpson, better known for his work on the BBC iPlayer project, Sequestrum is currently tested and running on two private DLT blockchain platforms and is a leap forward in terms of being both cost effective to the end user and ultra-efficient compared to current solutions.

Our next client implementation is already being finalised on a Hyperledger platform, after all if it’s good enough for IBM!

We may not yet have delivered the modern age equivalent of the panacea for a morphing tape cartridge that fits all the VCRs in the world, but the Catenae team are more than happy that Sequestrum is a good start.





Tony Sanders CEO at Catenae Innovation Plc

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