bloxberg: New blockchain research project for scientists

Under the leadership of the Max Planck Digital Library, major research institutions are working on a blockchain for the scientific community.

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bloxberg: New blockchain research project for scientists

In February 2019, eleven research institutions from ten different countries joined the bloxberg consortium and started work on a blockchain project for scientists. Now the institutions involved, including Carnegie Mellon, ETH Zurich, the University of Kassel and the Max Planck Society, seem to believe that developments have progressed so far to show initial results.

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bloxberg aims to change the way scientific data and results are managed and communicated. Instead of a classic client-server architecture, the makers rely on decentralized accounting based on blockchain techniques.

Examples of possible scenarios include evidence of data authenticity, secure intellectual property rights protection, exchange of valuable research, peer reviewing and publication of publications. Tasks that have been increasingly used in science recently blockchain techniques.

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In the bloxberg database, each new block entry is provided with a key string and irrevocably linked and stored with the preceding entries via a check key. The protection against manipulation is guaranteed via validation nodes. Such nodes are currently only allowed to operate scientific facilities.

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Each consortium member maintains such a node and approves new entries (“Transactions”) according to a defined and publicly available consensus procedure. For example, entries for research claims do not have to be restricted to individual institutions as before, instead, so-called smart contracts can be confirmed and secured by the entire bloxberg network.

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To interact in bloxberg with blockchain applications or to implement smart contracts, so-called Bergs are used. However, these currency units are not traded but are distributed free of charge; All transactions in the bloxberg network are free. The network also offers an application to distribute Bergs to companies that want to build on the network or use the features of the apps.

An important part of the project is also seen as transparent access and related documentation of the interface to Blockchain, which is ultimately an implementation of the Ethereum platform – but with a proof of authority as a consensus mechanism.

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Independent apps can be built using an open programming interface. Thus, services and applications can be built and offered on the blockchain. The Max Planck Digital Library, which may be the initiator of the initiative, has, for example, developed an application for researchers of the company with which they can timestamp their data via the blockchain and can prove scientific standards.

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