Professional services provider Accenture has secured a patent related to its work on ‘editable Blockchain’ technology as of late September 2017. The permissioned Blockchain would enable parties to edit data in cases of errors or fraud.
According to Accenture’s Blockchain practice managing director David Treat, the editable Blockchain concept was intended to resolve the issue of how to ‘fix things when they go wrong,’ and as a way to help move the technology toward ‘maturity.’
"This invention adds to that set of options, particularly for on-chain data structures, and we're excited about the patent approval. Our overall goal is to leverage DLT innovations to make the technology viable for enterprise IT use."
Allowing parties to modify certain transactions
Part of their value proposition explains:
"Accenture has created a prototype of a new capability that enables Blockchain technology to be edited under extraordinary circumstances. The capability allows enterprises to resolve human errors, accommodate legal and regulatory requirements, and address mischief and other issues, while preserving key cryptographic features."
Accenture filed its patent application for the permissioned Blockchain technology in 2016. Under the proposed system, a secret which controls the key may be assigned to one or many parties. In other cases, multiple individuals may be assigned parts of a secret so that all of them should sanction or approve any access or changes made to the system’s ledger.
Solution to irregularities that may arise from transactions
However, several individual observers have criticized the move. In his 2016 opinion piece, BKCM LLC founder and CEO Brian Kelly explained the reasons why an editable Blockchain is inadvisable, including the opening up of the financial systems to possible fraudulent activities. He argued that allowing the amendment or deletion of information or data from the ledger threatens the industry’s ability to fight irregularities with the game-changing Blockchain technology.
According to Treat, Accenture is still in the development stage with respect to its Blockchain project. He claimed that experts are continuing to improve the prototype system, hinting that the technology will be open-sourced.
"We have had strong industry interest and have had several requests to open-source the capability which we're considering.”
Accenture isn’t the only company seeking patent protection for their Blockchain work. Corporate behemoths such as Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and many others have recently been on the race to secure patents - making patent applications to USPTO double in the first quarter of 2017 - for their various ideas on how their organization could be at the forefront of innovation.