Immutable Nodes: Why Blockchain Still Doesn’t Have The Answer To Complete Privacy

With several parallel shifts in global politics, technology and industry: From Wikileaks to data breaches to renewed attention towards digital civil rights, the issue of privacy has regained interest within technology leaders. For a long time, blockchain, or rather the node-based distributed ledger it follows, were both seen as the answer to this problem.

The fact that each node (i.e. each computer) is embedded into a decentralized system was thought to bring transparency and security to all stakeholders connected through these nodes.

 A node is prepared by mutability and, no node can ever be truly immutable until it has been integrated into an expanded, securer, and decentralized system. Similarly, in both public and private blockchain, the originally mutated input data cannot be further restructured, modified, or deleted allowing it to transition into an immutable node.

Developing Security and Privacy Consensus

Immutable nodes work by carrying forward the unchangeable sets of data or information without the need for an intermediary. These nodes are a part of an extensive network of nodes operating independently and ungoverned by a single central authority. All of this lays a perfect foundation for the formulation of a secure decentralized network for information interchange. However the variables such as the privacy of data and user consensus are left untouched and achieving privacy and security in tandem has always been a serious concern with the conventional information systems.

Blockchain advocates to resolve the security concerns with the concept of public key infrastructure protecting user’s data against malicious alternation attempts. The system’s security measure is largely dependent on the size and stature of the overall network. Larger the network securer is the information. Yet, this mandatory security expansion leaves loopholes in the overall privacy structure of the information system.

Privacy and Scalability Trilemma

Even with the use of modernistic privacy-enhancing technologies, there is no way to hide blockchain transactions from an extensively vast decentralized network. All nodes in the system can access the information through backtracking from metadata with the aid of statistical analysis. Hence, despite offering unparalleled security, blockchain fails to provide complete privacy to the users.

Interestingly, all these privacy concerns find themselves deeply integrated into the scalability trilemma which makes it challenging to achieve decentralization, scalability, and security simultaneously. As the blockchain network continues to expand scalability will only become more and more difficult. This pursuit of achieving scalability will ultimately take decentralization out of the equation leaving the control to only a few large companies capable of processing the large chunks of data.

Not to be forgotten, new regulations such as “Right to be Forgotten” also conflicts with the immutability of information and distorts the main concept of information systems such as blockchain. Hence, it is important to remember that there is no perfect immutability or complete privacy in the world of decentralized networks.