On July 29th, Modex Co-founder Alin Iftemi was a guest speaker at a new edition of ProductTank Bucharest, entitled Products on Blockchain – the how and the why, where he talked about his experience working in the field of blockchain, sharing with the audience the areas where this technology is going to have the biggest impact.
Alin shared the spotlight with Sebastian Cochinescu, Founder & CEO at TailPath.com. Together with their host and moderator, Andrei Taranu, who is also the product manager and founder of a few blockchain-based products, including deathtisreal.com, Alin and Sebastian, shared some of their views and experiences working in this newly emerging tech field.
The seasoned blockchain veterans talked about when and why you should use blockchain as the technological backbone of your product, highlighting some of the challenges and particularities of this technology as well as when it’s better to avoid this technology altogether.
Blockchain beyond the hype
The event delved beyond the hype surrounding blockchain, choosing to focus on real-life applications that manage to bring the advantages and benefits of this technology not only to the business and enterprise sphere but also to people. “In 2021, people should care about what is going on with their private data, with the information they submit to a system (…) it’s important that we understand what is good for us, we understand what privacy means for us. We should learn a bit about the benefits of a particular technology and at the end of the day, you will see that if we look into software products that care about our privacy, we will have some advantages”, stated Alin Iftemi.
When asked by the moderator if it’s possible to make changes and adjustments to blockchain, a technology known for its resistance to modification, the Modex Co-founder stressed the fact that there is a major difference between public and private blockchains, in terms of business application and functionality. “What I would recommend especially in the public network because in the private network it’s much more easier to mitigate this risk, but in a public network, I recommend that these jobs should be done by professionals and the code should be inspected by proper security teams and in that case, you will not have this kind of problems. (…) There are solutions, but there are no easy solutions in public networks to mitigate this kind of problem. In private networks this isn’t actually a problem because the information is controlled, the access to the network is controlled.”
Further continuing on the subject, Alin referred to the Blockchain Database solution developed at Modex showcasing how it adapted blockchain technology to fit into a business context “from our point of view, we have created a mechanism to already mitigate that on the fly, because in business, data modification is possible, it does happen, so businesses work with different rules than public blockchain networks. So if these kinds of problems happen, it’s normal to have mechanisms to overrun these kinds of problems without stopping the infrastructure. Data modification might be possible in private or enterprise blockchain infrastructure, even so, those modifications will be properly audited.”
Picking up on Alin’s answer the moderator asked if the technology developed by Modex sacrificed a little bit of decentralization to get more control, to which Alin responded “I wouldn’t say. Sacrificing means that we gave up on some benefits in order to obtain something. We didn’t actually sacrifice, we actually tried to adapt the blockchain benefits in a way that enterprises can use it.”
“In our product, Modex BCDB we offer the blockchain infrastructure to enterprises, but in a mix of what is blockchain and what is a traditional database. So basically we allow enterprises to use databases in the same way: modify data, adjust data, insert data and delete data. But we use blockchain technology to ensure that all these operations are auditable so anyone can see if something was deleted and why it was deleted. And the same things happen with errors as well”, added the Modex Co-founder.
The last question of the panel came from a member of the audience who asked if the speakers think if end-users beyond the geeks care if a product uses blockchain as the backend and if they feel it gives more trust, or if the general public doesn’t understand or care about it.
Alin responded to this question by recalling one of Modex’s first clients who wanted a blockchain-based healthcare application, stressing the fact that for end-users it’s more important to access the benefits of technology, but a bit of knowledge and understanding doesn’t hurt. “One of the first customers we had wanted to build an application based on blockchain technology in the healthcare industry. (…) they had only one thing in mind – protecting the citizen’s historical records. So normally, if I’m going to a private clinic today, even if I’m having a mobile application, I don’t care if behind the doors there is a particular database technology, for example like Oracle or SQL Server. For me, it’s important what I see. But everybody knows that what I see, or the information I put in the system can be seen by somebody else. For example the beneficiary of the application, the hospital, the private clinic and so on. (…) The fact that the information in that application is encrypted in some manner and together with other security benefits, the information is protected properly and no one else can make use of that information unless the user wants so. Suddenly, even if there is no change in the frontend of the application, only something in the back, nothing changed for the user, but the benefit will be that what belongs to him won’t belong to others anymore.”
Alin Iftemi experienced over 20 years of working in IT and has always been passionate about new technologies and how they can help us change the world for the better.