Recent Lecture

Dr. C. Mohan

Dr. C. Mohan

IBM Fellow
IBM Almaden Research Center
Silicon Valley, USA

Poster Slides Photo

Blockchains Untangled:
Public, Private, Smart Contracts, Applications, Issues

12 April 2019 (Friday) 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.

LT3 (SCT503), Cha Chi Ming Science Tower, Ho Sin Hang Campus, HKBU


The concept of a distributed ledger was invented as the underlying technology of the public or permissionless Bitcoin cryptocurrency network. But the adoption and further adaptation of it for use in the private or permissioned environments is what I consider to be of practical consequence and hence only such private blockchain systems will be the major focus of this talk.

Computer companies like IBM, Intel, Oracle, Baidu and Microsoft, and many key players in different vertical industry segments have recognized the applicability of blockchains in environments other than cryptocurrencies. IBM did some pioneering work by architecting and implementing Fabric, and then open sourcing it. Now Fabric is being enhanced via the Hyperledger Consortium as part of The Linux Foundation. There is a great deal of momentum behind Hyperledger Fabric throughout the world. Other private blockchain efforts include Enterprise Ethereum, Hyperledger Sawtooth and R3 Corda.

While currently there is no standard in the private blockchain space, all the ongoing efforts involve some combination of persistence, transaction, encryption, virtualization, consensus and other distributed systems technologies. Some of the application areas in which blockchain systems have been leveraged are: global trade digitization, derivatives processing, e-governance, Know Your Customer (KYC), healthcare, food safety, supply chain management and provenance management.

In this talk, I will describe some use-case scenarios, especially those in production deployment. I will also survey the landscape of private blockchain systems with respect to their architectures in general and their approaches to some specific technical areas. I will also discuss some of the opportunities that exist and the challenges that need to be addressed. Since most of the blockchain efforts are still in a nascent state, the time is right for mainstream database and distributed systems researchers and practitioners to get more deeply involved to focus on the numerous open problems. Extensive blockchain related collateral can be found at

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