A blockchain is a growing list of records, called blocks, linked together with cryptography. By design, the data from a blockchain cannot be modified. It is an open distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties in an efficient and secure manner.
Mostly known for cryptocurrencies, blockchains can be used for digital identity attributes, object tracking, or the verification of service level agreements.
Distributed ledgers like blockchain can be either permissionless (public) or permissioned (private).
Permissioned distributed ledgers are better qualified to address the more business-oriented use cases that are of interest to industry and governmental institutions (as opposed to permissionless ledgers like Bitcoin).
The creation of a new ETSI Industry Specification Group on blockchain: Permissioned Distributed Ledgers in December 2018 marks an important step towards standards setting. The ISG PDL group will analyse and provide the foundations to operate permissioned distributed ledgers to be deployed across industry and governmental institutions.
While leading EU industry is making an important contribution, it is also important to note that standards are most valuable when they are globally applicable. Hence, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Telefonica, Vodafone and others will be working together on the challenges related to the operation of permissioned distributed ledgers, business use cases, functional architecture and solutions for operating the ledgers, including interfaces/APIs/protocols and information/data models.