Intel Looks at Hardware Security for Blockchain

Executive Brief

Privacy and security, we all desire them and are always looking for ways to increase both. Digital currencies have long been associated with higher levels of security and privacy, but there is always room for improvement. Intel’s distributed ledger technology group have recently revealed they are looking at ways to incorporate hardware solutions to do just that. With added security and the endpoint and potentially increasing the number of processing nodes to millions, is this the long term future of blockchain?

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Security and privacy are an increasing concern right across the globe as governments and criminal organizations seek to use technology to record almost every facet of our lives. Indeed, one of the driving forces for adoption of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain itself is its privacy and security safeguards. That advantage could be taking a huge step forward in the future with the recent speech given by the director of the distributed ledger technology group at Intel, Kelly Olsen. As the world’s biggest chip maker, what Intel does always results in significant impact on the wider tech industry, and the speech by Olson noted that they are looking into a hardware solution for blockchain, incorporating a trusted execution environment directly within their processors.

This trusted execution environment, Olsen suggested, would act like a “secure enclave” for the processing of blockchain transactions that increases security significantly. It was noted that blockchain itself is very secure as it currently exists, but within digital currency environments, such as Bitcoin, there are still potential issues, where private keys are lost or stolen. This is of course not an issue with the blockchain technology itself, but an inherent weakness in the endpoint of blockchain, that is us as users. In short, we are not as secure as the digital workflow, but a secured hardware computing environment built into the processors that drive the computers and other devices we use could combat this and help users retain high levels of security. Rather than single nodes, or hundreds of nodes, this environment could potentially be millions of nodes, increasing both privacy and security for all.

While this all remains theoretical research right now, the interest shown by Intel is good for the industry, not just from a possible way to increase both security and privacy for blockchain transactions, but also from the aspect that the biggest chip maker in the world is spending money to research the possibilities of blockchain. In itself that is a clear signal that blockchain technology is seen as an important technology not just now, but in the future.

The views expressed by the authors on this site do not necessarily represent the views of DCEBrief or the management team.

Author: Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore is a writer and researcher with a love for the eclectic, family and the world we inhabit. He spends his spare time photographing the varied wildlife that surrounds us daily and contemplating why Firefly never made it past season one.

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