Internet giant Google is planning to secure audit information using the promising blockchain technology. On September 2017, they had filed a patent for the proposed technology solution, and it has been recently released by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Audit information, critically important for any business in today’s environment of high scrutiny on corporate governance, can only be useful if the degree of confidence on the information is high. This requires a tamper-proof solution to keep audit records secure.
Google‘s inclination of using blockchain for this purpose is driven by the technology’s promise of immutable records. Blockchain is a decentralized system, where computers on network, called ‘nodes’, maintain a shared information, and there is no central server. Block records, also called ‘blocks’, linked via a predetermined protocol, may include multiple transactions. No existing block can be deleted or modified. Blockchain has consensus mechanism, which ensures adding new block is possible only after providing evidence of significant number-crunching work. To add a new block, a complex cryptographic puzzle must be solved, and majority of the participating nodes must agree that the block is valid. Such rigor in the consensus mechanism of blockchain makes hacking it economically non-viable, and ensures immutable records.
The solution, as proposed in the patent application, is following:
- There will be two blockchains, one of which is called the “target blockchain”.
- The target blockchain contains the “first signatures”.
- The second blockchain contains the data verified by the signature.
- When a new block is added to the target blockchain, it will be linked to both an existing block in the target blockchain, as well as a block in the second blockchain.
- The given block in the second blockchain is identified by generating a signature for the new block.
- The new block itself is based on the first signature, as well as the second signature.
A block lattice will house the target blockchain and second blockchain.
Google, headquartered in Mountain View, California, USA, is awaiting the grant of the patent, however, they also have plans to use blockchain in their cloud business. Google‘s entry into the blockchain space conforms with the growing trend of tech giants exploring this promising technology, for e.g.:
- IBM is planning their entry into the cryptocurrency space.
- Microsoft is planning to fund blockchain start-ups using the venture capital (VC) arm.
- Intel has filed a patent to use blockchain for genetic sequencing.