When it’s hard to describe a concept, many of us have the same reflex: to look for an example. Defining blockchain is not that easy, so let’s try to find a project that uses blockchain at its core… Did you find one? If so, I bet that you are thinking about Bitcoin. This is not a coincidence: the world’s most famous crypto currency, which is frequently in the news, is often presented as the first project ever to be based on a blockchain.

The volatility of the Bitcoin price, as well as its heavy environmental impact due to the amount of energy needed for computing, often overshadow the potential of the new technology from which it is derived. However, the potential is there, in many different and varied fields. Today, a blockchain could be used in any area requiring security and trust, from healthcare to art and real estate. It could also be highly relevant for digital industrial transactions.

What exactly is a blockchain?

A blockchain is basically an online record of transactions, deemed inviolable. Each new record stored in a blockchain is linked to the previous one. That means that if you want to alter one record, you’ll also have to modify all the subsequent ones. While this is technically possible, it requires a lot of computation. A blockchain is therefore a kind of database with data that is almost impossible to alter.

What are the advantages of a distributed system?

Having a blockchain stored on one of your own servers, with data that you (or a hacker!) could alter… that would not make much sense. However, the power of a blockchain is that it is a distributed system where several players share the storage of the data and the administration (data quality, access control, etc.). This is what we call a distributed ledger.

The power of a distributed ledger is that as several players are involved, it firstly becomes much harder to alter data. Secondly, if one of the players involved suffers a failure (e.g. bankruptcy, power outage or hacking), the others could continue to operate without any impact. Blockchain is one of the so-called distributed ledge technologies (DLT) that makes this possible.

When is blockchain the best option?

We have just gone through a period of hype, during which it was said that almost all digital projects must use a blockchain at some point. Fortunately, this period is now behind us. However, the hype stimulated people to think about the real usefulness of the blockchain. One example is the article “When do you need blockchain? Decision models”, which provides some practical tools that can guide decision makers in evaluating whether or not blockchain use would be helpful for their digital projects. Another example is the model below – published by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) – which provides helpful insights into whether a project would need a distributed ledger, and, if so, whether or not a blockchain would be the best alternative.

The blockchain decision tree by CompTIA

Source: CompTIA

Read more

Digitalisation: A global approach


Technical insulation and engineered foam manufacturer Armacell has over 3,000 employees and manufacturing sites across the world. The company uses its Luxembourg HQ as the base for a digitalisation project, the outcomes of which will be implemented globally.
Read more

A global approach for boosting operational efficiency


The strong infrastructure, skills and research partners makes Luxembourg an interesting location for industrial digital transformation projects. Cebi drives its global industry 4.0 processes from its headquarters located here.
Read more

On the road to smart manufacturing


Several large industrial groups have chosen their Luxembourg sites to pilot the digital transformation of their production. The country is mobilising resources in order to generalise their success.
Read more

First DIH ON TOUR a success


Between 25 October and 16 November 2021, the Luxembourg Digital Innovation Hub (L-DIH) team toured the country with its yellow bus to meet manufacturing companies and discuss their digital transformation and implementation of an industry 4.0 approach. The exercise was deemed a success, and the team intends to repeat it in 2022.
Read more

National GAIA-X hubs: the voice of local data ecosystems


Luxinnovation CEO Sasha Baillie was one of the speakers at the 2021 GAIA-X Summit, the annual event of this European initiative aimed at building a federated, secure European data infrastructure. Luxinnovation hosts Luxembourg’s national GAIA-X hub, and Ms Baillie shared her views on how the national hubs can connect local needs across Europe.
Read more

All news