I am not a blockchain geek, but I can see some great opportunities and possibilities with this technology. In short blockchain is a technology that validates that data is absolutely correct and not tempered with. The data is sealed with a hash and is distributed to a large number of validators, making it extremely hard to change without getting noticed. And yes, when something is not right it will get noticed. This is a really important aspect in modern banking, like for the digital currency Bitcoin that uses this technology.
So, can we use blockchain technology in the DAM community?
Adding metadata to digital asset like a photo is essential when working with DAM. The metadata will help other users when searching and finding out information about the asset. It can of course be of different importance, but regardless of that it can be important to know when the metadata is updated or changed, and who did it. This is basic tracking features that can help you improve your work process and level of security.
But what happens if the photo is police evidence in a crime investigation, or of a user for identification and authorization of access, like in the new iPhone X? In such cases it becomes critical that the data isn’t modified without alarm clocks ringing, and taken care of as soon as possible. Blockchain technology can help us eliminate or reduce the risks of such events occurring. Which is good, but it can also add the integrity aspect to the challenge. Can you really share a photo with sensitive content, with a validation network just to make sure it’s not tempered with? What about the privacy and personal integrity?
Metadata comes into the picture
Here is where metadata metaphorically comes into the picture. You actually don’t need to send the photo stream or data into the validation networks, you just need to send a hash of the data and its relevant metadata. If something is changed in the photo, as small as a pixel, or a character in the metadata, it will generate a different hash and as a consequence trigger an alarm, it has been altered. Now this can be very helpful when securing and validating that data is correct, while keeping the file itself private.
Do we need blockchains?
It’s fair to ask what happens if you don’t validate your data with blockchain technology? The short answer would be that you should have a business case for your DAM-solution, with risk assessment as an important part. It might be a greater risk that your staff are storing data on flash-drives (that can get lost outside the office) or use some cloud services for transferring data. But for high security data and for larger corporations with their own validation networks, blockchain seems like a fantastic technology with lots of possibilities.