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Blockchain set to take flight in defence sector

Blockchain set to take flight

Blockchains are distributed digital ledgers that have the potential to record any type of transaction or information of value.

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Grant J. McDonald

Office Managing Partner - Ottawa, Global Lead Partner, Government of Canada & Aerospace and Defence Industry, Sector Leader

KPMG in Canada

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​"Blockchain" is among today's most pervasive tech buzzwords but, with promises of greater transparency, accountability, and security, blockchain technology is poised to reshape how industries conduct their business – and its applications in the defence and aerospace sector are equally promising. Blockchains are distributed digital ledgers that have the potential to record any type of transaction or information of value.

They can be thought of as a succession of virtual blocks, each containing distinct pieces of information concerning a given record or series of transactions, and which can be made public, private or permissioned. Blockchains can be populated with data from any approved parties (e.g., buyers and sellers, supply chain partners, financial institutions, etc.) and, once that data is broadcast to the network, it is verified by participants or "nodes", protected using cryptography, and added to the "chain".

Importantly, blockchains can be programmed (through code and also self-executing protocol embedded within "smart contracts") with rules determining who can add to the chain, what information is added, and the parties who can view the data. The result is a succession of blocks that – all combined – paint an authentic and up to-the-moment view of the record for which the blockchain has been created. What's more, the distributed nature of this digital ledger enables all participants to track the record and their contributions potentially in real time. This could eliminate the role of traditional intermediaries and centrally managed ledgers, potentially improving transparency and efficiency.

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