Blockchain Challenges

Session Description: Working closely with the UK Ministry of Defense, BAE Systems, ATOS and The Metropolitan Police, Ralphs’ company, ByzGen, designs and builds bespoke prototypes, proofs of concept and pilots. He shares his real-world challenges, both technical and organizational, as well as tips for others starting to use distributed ledger technology. Speakers: Marcus Ralphs, CEO, ByzGen Ltd.


[These are my notes from the new Blockchain in Government conference, which is part of the KMWorld 2018 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]


  • Realities.
    • Commercial challenges:
      • Institutions (especially government) prefer low-risk, small-scale change. They have a hard time
      • Getting government to provide budget for an initial project.
      • Limited (non-existent) standards
      • Accreditation — how can we trust?
        • How can you trust a vendor to ensure that their code and coders are doing what the vendor claims?
        • Do you have enough security to encourage trust? Private permissioned blockchains are more likely to engender trust than public chains.
      • Let’s wait and see — what are others doing? Is there any evidence of success elsewhere?
      • De-risking through muscle memory
        • he partners with established players because this spurs a higher level of trust on the part of the government. Government is likely to trust a small startup.
      • Benefits aren’t clear or measurable –at this point, there is so little, easily available evidence of commercial success.
  • How to Address the Realities? Think in terms of capability and benefit.
    • Reduce risk
      • data breach
      • IP leakage
    • Improve data assurance
      • that the version available is the latest version and is the same throughout the network
      • behavioral change making every action with the core data tracked and attributable
    • Increase efficiency
      • reducing back-office overhead
      • reducing human touchpoints — these touchpoints add error and inefficiency
      • reducing cycle time significantly
    • Enable “trust” in disparate networks — accept that some of these networks will be divergent and some may even be in conflict. So you have to find ways to drive trust across these networks nonetheless.
  • Taking the First Steps.
    • Identify the real world challenges — what’s not working across your system?
    • Quantify the challenge (risk, efficiency, opportunity cost)
    • Define what “success” looks like
      • what does good look like for you
    • Select a solution provider
      • what part of your requirements are mandatory — speed, security, scalability?
      • the right solution provider will help the client analyze effectively their challenges and definition of success.
    • Ensure / enable stakeholder engagement — this may mean asking the client to put money on the table even for a proof of concept so that you can gain access to the stakeholder
    • Think big, start small, and scale quickly
      • paying for a proof of concept is small money, scaling is big money
      • when thinking about scalabiity and ROI, make one spend and then get multiple uses out of it
    • Resource properly
  • Examples:
      • They are helping a financial services consulting firm significantly expedite its process for completing security checks on potential consultants.
      • Ministry of Defence and the Cabinet Office need to expedite and ensure their personnel vetting process.
      • They want to use blockchain to manage design IP for highly secure, collaborative projects.

Editor’s Note – This posting republished with the author’s permission – with first publication on her blog – Above and Beyond KM.

Posted in: Blockchain, Cybersecurity, KM, Technology Trends