Blockchain in telecom: Paving the way for secure, trustworthy data

Blockchain in telecom: Paving the way for secure, trustworthy data

The adoption of blockchain in the telecommunication sector heralds a new era of possibilities.

Amar Tumballi

Mumbai: Blockchain technology, renowned for its secure and decentralized nature, is making significant inroads into various industries, including telecommunications. The telecom industry, which constantly handles vast amounts of sensitive data, is poised for a transformation with the advent of Dhiway's CORD blockchain. This cutting-edge solution from the Bangalore-based company promises to enhance trust and security in digital ecosystems, revolutionizing how telecom operators manage and exchange data within their networks.

Delving deeper, caught up with Dhiway co-founder & vice-president engineering Amar Tumballi.

Edited Excerpts:

On the business challenges that are being addressed by adopting blockchain/DLT in the telecom sector

The telecommunication sector, a complex ecosystem of stakeholders, participants, service providers, and consumers, is at a crucial juncture. Designing applications and services around trustworthy data is a critical challenge. These data streams must be harmonised and have semantic interoperability and continuous assurance, making the adoption of blockchain a significant step forward.

The adoption of blockchain in the telecommunication sector heralds a new era of possibilities. It paves the way for innovative businesses, such as caller identification services, leveraging reusable digital identifiers for IoT applications and services. The availability of secure, trustworthy data mitigates cybersecurity risks from data breaches and empowers a paradigm shift in application and service designs, including AI models and algorithms.

Some immediate successes have been managing unsolicited commercial messages (or SPAM), infrastructure, and roaming profiles.

On the ways in which CIOs and CSOs plan for the adoption of blockchain technology

C-suite leaders lead initiatives that balance risk and rewards while devising an innovation-focused IT strategy. To effectively adopt blockchain technology, the technology stack must support strong collaboration and interoperability between services and functions. It is also important to adopt industry-leading best practices in infrastructure security and data governance to mitigate the risks associated with cybersecurity incidents. Lastly, shifting investments to a “blockchain-complete” solutions array would help build the momentum and technical capability within the businesses to benefit from the value of decentralised processes and infrastructure.

On the necessary features and capabilities to evaluate in a blockchain implementation decision-making strategy

A key driver in evaluating blockchain implementation is a fine-grained understanding of the use case and the business objectives that must be met. An agreement among the project stakeholders and sponsors on this topic can help drive the success of the pilot and production deployments.

Blockchains enable a foundational digital infrastructure for the business - where the features of immutability and transparency provide the necessary attributes for provenance and authenticity. Organisations looking at digital transformation strategies and adopting blockchain technology must evaluate whether the codebase is available under a suitable open-source license and whether the project on which the enterprise product is based shows a vibrant community of participants. It is also important to ascertain whether some lighthouse deployments can support the choice of such blockchain frameworks. Token-less blockchain frameworks such as CORD allow enterprises to avoid the drama associated with tokens and crypto regulations while putting together a resilient infrastructure that is decentralized, secure, and extensible for many present and emerging use cases.

On the role that large public cloud vendors play in shaping the adoption of blockchain technology in telcos

Highly scalable, resilient, and large public clouds have enabled enterprises with the necessary tooling and infrastructure to quickly deploy, manage, and administer nodes that comprise the blockchain ecosystem. Elasticity, security, and high availability, including, in some cases, across cloud vendors, have enabled massively scaled blockchain deployments to service many use cases. In many cases, the availability of securely configured cloud infrastructure for federal/government usage has helped acquire necessary certifications, making these blockchain deployments suitable for government usage. Public cloud infrastructure brings developer-friendly standards-based tools, storage and computing resources, and redundancy, which makes it an attractive option for blockchains like CORD.

On the regulatory issues that can be addressed through blockchain adoption

Today's dynamic digital economy is built around data - production, exchange, processing, and transformation of data drives applications and businesses. Quite naturally, the regulatory approach towards data governance is focused on data rights, consent-based exchange of data, anonymized and aggregation of data, and audit-readiness. Blockchain implementation can address multiple issues around data governance, including the very important one of enabling the logging of consent-based data exchange and abstracting the actual data through reusable digital identifiers.

While blockchain-based systems enable friction-free transactions across trust boundaries, they also allow a more transparent application of governance mechanisms relevant to the jurisdictional boundaries where the services are available. So, regulatory and governance issues around data privacy, data security, and data access are also addressed in a scalable manner in blockchain infrastructure.