Designing the Architecture of a Blockchain Platform: The Case of Alastria, a National Public Permissioned Blockchain

Designing the Architecture of a Blockchain Platform: The Case of Alastria, a National Public Permissioned Blockchain

Javier W. Ibáñez (Comillas Pontifical University, Spain) and Salvatore Moccia (UNIR - Universidad Internacional de la Rioja, Spain)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJEIS.2020070103
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Abstract

The financial services industry is experiencing—or better said, is suffering—an enormous paradigm shift. New technologies, combined with new consumers, are redefining the way financial institutions design products and deliver services. Furthermore, Mastercard has filed four blockchain patents to improve settlement systems. The Alastria case, explored in this paper, is a still rare phenomenon of national blockchain as a country territorial and jurisdictional case of public permissioned blockchain oriented to combine the satisfaction of public and private interests with full legal compliance.
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Introduction

Technologies have changed the way we live, particularly in our data-driven society. “This is partly due to advances in semiconductor and communication technologies, which allow a multitude of devices to be connected over a network, providing us with ways to connect and communicate between machines and people” (Banerjee, et al. 2018). “Many global corporations have encountered various changes, such as the progress of new technologies, globalization, shifts in customer needs, and new business models” (Masuda et al. 2018). Especially in today’s environment, “meeting user needs is a business imperative” (Tacer, Ruzzier, & Nagy, 2018).

According to Parnell (2014), “the Internet has changed how strategic managers evaluate a given situation and use this assessment to inform strategic decisions”. In particular, the author highlights the following key interrelated strategic factors: (1) trend toward information symmetry, that occurs when all parties share the same information concerning that transaction; (2) the use of the Internet as a distribution channel for nontangible goods and services; (3) the increase of the speed of transactions and processes; (4) the interactivity between customers and firms, that increases the exchange of information, rumors, and bad news; (5) potential for cost reductions and cost shifting, thereby enhancing flexibility.

Conklin (2011) notes that “information technologies have enabled the collection, analysis and distribution of a numerous kinds of information”. “The past few years have seen an explosion in the use of smart work place technologies” (Attaran, Attaran, and Kirkland, 2019). Given this new advantage, management can make more well-informed decisions. In terms of strategy, “technologies are becoming more influential on a company's strategic decisions” (Moccia, Rodriguez, Tomic, 2019) and must be carefully taken into attention by senior managers. As Porter (2001) noticed earlier, “Internet changes everything, rendering all the old rules about companies and competition obsolete”.

For example, Pham et al. (2013), note that “banking can be considered an intensive information activity based on communication and information technologies (…) in order to be successful in a highly competitive banking market, it is required that banks innovate and update their products/services offered in an attempt to retain their demanding and discerning customers”. In fact, as Damian & Manea (2019) highlight, “Financial technologies (Fintechs) enhance competition in financial markets, as they provide innovative value propositions that traditional financial institutions do less efficiently”.

In recent years, blockchain technology has become a significant concept in the field of cryptocurrencies. “The blockchain is a computer protocol enabling distributed ledgers and promising almost instantaneous and near free-value transactions” (Pejic, 2019). Money and assets can be moved without a central authority; validation is performed via a peer-to-peer network without the need for powerful intermediates to authenticate or settle transactions. Huclke et al. (2016) note that “blockchain technology first came to prominence in early 2009, through the cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC). Since then BTC has flourished (…) however, blockchain technology that underpins BTC could (…) have far ranging consequences for all aspects of modern society”.

In fact, the transformation power of blockchain technology is by no means limited to the finance sector. It reaches several sectors including, among others:

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