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2018年值得关注的3大颠覆性fintech技术

区块链国际资讯

2018年值得关注的3大颠覆性fintech技术

公众对于欧盟《通用数据保护条例》(后文简称GDPR)的期待是限制数据公司进行数据挖掘可用的数据量,但新研究发现这一条例实际将是fintech行业的利好。

Juniper Research报告显示,GDPR带来的一个影响就是公司可以诚实地以透明的选择同意模式从客户那获得数据,这些大量数据让公司得以更好地发掘用户模式。

这份报告重点分析了今年和未来五年内将颠覆fintech行业的3项技术,它们分别是数据挖掘、去中心化应用(Dapps)和量子计算。

GDPR时代的数据挖掘

欧盟GDPR旨在保护公民个人可识别信息(PII),为此类信息的使用提供透明度,并且给予人们权利限制其使用,或是要求此类信息被删除或"遗忘"。

而区块链这种新型技术则可以帮助各机构遵守GDPR的严厉规定。如今,区块链技术已经风靡企业界。它的正式名字为数字分布式账本技术,它能够创造不可改变的交易历史记录。因为这些数据是永恒的,使用区块链作为涉及PII的交易的一种数据库可能违反GDPR。但PII数据如果和区块链网络分开储存,这一技术就可以帮助GDPR合规。

如今,GDPR已经生效,fintech企业意识到数据泄露将带来前所未有的后果,也意识到他们需要保证客户一直同意他们的营销活动和策略。数据泄露不仅会被大肆报道,这本身将导致客户流失;同时按GDPR公司也将遭遇大额罚单,最高达总收益的4%或2350万美元(两者取其高)。

GDPR不仅关注大规模泄露事件。只要有人行使自己的"被遗忘权",数据库记录就必须被删除。如果区块链是该系统的一部分,那公司区块链管理官必须确保那些"链上"记录不再有意义。好消息是,有个简单的办法就可以做到。

删除信息所绑定的哈希密钥就是加密式数据删除。虽然数据还存在,但它分散在各个线下数据库间,没有正确的哈希密钥就不能重组。这样,这个数据散乱毫无意义--简单有效永远删除数据的方式。

对于GDPR,大多数人关注的是其繁冗的合规规定。但Juniper认为合规除了能帮助公司避免罚款外还有另一好处。那就是GDPR可以带来大量诚实获得的数据,用户在透明的模式中选择分享这些数据。

Juniper高级分析师Lauren Foye说:"数据收集者有机会构建一个更积极开放的获取消费者数据的方式,同时又谨防背叛消费者的信任。这种透明诚实的做法将广受欢迎,因此企业首要任务就是这么做;那些不这么做的企业将面临大量质疑和可能的用户抵制。"

这不仅仅是理论层面。数据挖掘行为在过去一年收到愈加严格的监管。比如,脸书/剑桥分析的丑闻就导致大量消费者严重不满,甚至极大地冲击了脸书的股价。Foye说:"我们研究中讨论的公司本身不一定是fitech企业;它们是和金融界有合作的公司或是会对fintech行业带来涟漪影响的破坏性力量。"

此外,像基于SaaS的社交媒体营销平台ShareRoot和计划在所有运营活动中都落实GDPR的微软可以售卖用于数据挖掘或GDPR合规的技术从而获益,Juniper的报告中指出。

去中心化应用爆炸式增长

未来一年第二大颠覆因素就是去中心化应用(Dapps)的爆炸式增长。

相关阅读:《一文读懂DAPP

(Dapps)以区块链为基础创建了一个安全简便的创新型开源软件生态系统,此系统中用户可以开发新的在线工具。

Foye说:"Dapps可以集中全球无数机器的资源,使用几千台闲置电脑的计算力。成果应用不会属于任何一个实体,而是社区驱动的。"

Dapps和区块链一样也是在许多节点(有时是几亿个)上分布,这让它们极其容错同时对用户保持透明。

Juniper指出Dapps会变得更安全因为去中心化减少侵入和欺诈发生概率,储存在区块链上的数据无法在事后被更改或转变。

Juniper报告说:"我们认为这些特质会鼓励许多金融参与方和第三方在安全性为重的行为中使用这一技术。"

Dapp创建者平台允许用户使用已有的智能合同建立以太坊Dapp,这意味着不需要编程而且应用会立即自动落实到一个区块链上。在这种平台上有成千个Dapp,虽然很多都是传统软件和应用的复制版本。

比如微博网站Peepth就是一个排版和功能与推特类似的Dapp。

Juniper报告称:"但是去中心化的本质和无主权意味着Dapp在法律上不会成为被告。用户必须支付一小笔以太加密货币才能使用这个应用,和其他Dapp一样。用户需要'支付费用'给矿工才能将交易记录在区块链上。"

Dapps也支持智能合同技术--公司自动化的自我执行代码。基于Dapp的供给链测试项目能够自动实时追踪货物状态或是完成房地产和其他金融交易。这些测试项目已在全行业铺开。

新的基于区块链的应用通常靠首次代币发行(ICO)来筹资,这是一种基于Dapp的众筹技术,使用加密代币来交换法币或是作为使用该应用的奖励。

Juniper报告提到,虽然要求使用加密代币来支付可能是一个障碍,但是用户对于基于区块链的安全有记录的交易的希望会让他们使用这一技术。他们愿意付出这种代价来获得好处和得到心安。

Juniper Research预测和咨询负责人Windsor Holden说:"许多公司包括IBM、微软和Oracle都在探索这些领域。"而对于这一问题,其中的一大挑战就是互操作性,虽然几个技术提供商现在提供跨区块链解决方案。"公开未被许可的链如比特币和以太坊上更大的问题是安全。如果参与者能够避免这些问题,比如选择私链,那他们就可以有更多控制。"

区块链有很多选择,但是他们主要可以分为两类:公共或私有(得到允许的)。公共区块链例如比特币能够让任何参与共识流程的人看到或发送交易。

私有区块链则只允许某一个或几个组织写入这个分布式账簿,例如某个公司中的一群员工或是有网络合作协议的一组银行。

还有一种是财团区块链,只有预先选择的一些字节能够有权使用该账簿。比如,一组银行和他们的清算所可能会使用区块链来清算交易,每一个字节都是认证过程的一步。

量子霸权

Juniper认为2018年将会迎来量子霸权。一台量子电脑可以做传统电脑无法完成或者只限理论上可完成的任务。

量子计算可以快速算出复杂算法,可能将重新定义fintech、物流和研发。

报告称"虽然主流应用最早要到2023年,但公司企业应该有所计划,避免落后。"

量子计算使用基本粒子如电子或光子(实际中铁离子也成功过),这些粒子的电极就代表0或1.每一个粒子称作量子节(qubit),这些节的行为就是量子计算的基础。

Juniper说:"因此量子计算有能力比现在二元电脑解决复杂得多的问题,qubit可以处于1、0或甚至是既1又0的状态,后者被称为叠加。这就意味着量子计算机比二元电脑强大几百万倍,有能力影响并颠覆所有行业的进程。"

行业专家之前预测有50个及以上qubit的量子计算器将是里程碑,好多年才能达到。但量子计算的发展超出了预期。

11月IBM成功测试了一台50qubit量子计算器,之后的3月谷歌揭幕了其72qubit的Bristlecone芯片设计。

一旦成功投营,Bristlecone芯片可以用来开发量子算法。

Juniper说:"这一切发展得比我们期待的都快。量子霸权即量子电脑可以解决传统电脑无法或仅是理论上可做的任务的实现需要一台100qubit设备。"

The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is widely expected to limit the amount of data companies can use for data mining, but new research suggests that it will actually be a boon for the FinTech industry.

One result of the GDPR is that businesses will have access to honestly sourced data from consumers using a transparent opt-in model, which will be a rich source of information for discovering user patterns in large datasets, according to the report from Juniper Research.

Juniper's report zeroes in on three technologies that will be disruptive to the FinTech market this year and over the next five years: data mining, decentralized apps (also known as Dapps) and quantum computing.

Data mining in the GDPR era

The EU's GDPR aims to protect citizens' personally identifiable information (PII), providing transparency around its use and giving people the right to restrict its use or request that it be deleted or "forgotten" all together.

One technology that has emerged as having the potential to assist organizations in complying with GDPR's stricter rules is blockchain, which has taken the business world by storm. The electronic distributed ledger technology can create an immutable record for recording a history of transactions. Because that data is permanent, using blockchain as a type of database to transact with PII could run afoul of GDPR rules. But when PII data is stored separately from the blockchain network over which it is transacted, the technology becomes part of the solution for GDPR compliance.

With GDPR already in effect, FinTechs are well aware that data breaches will have greater consequences than ever, and they need to keep client consent at the forefront of their marketing campaigns and strategy. Data breaches won't just draw major media coverage that could cause customers to leave; under GDPR, sizable fines can be levied, as high as 4% of total revenue, or $23.5 million, whichever is larger.

But GDPR isn't just about major breaches. Anytime someone exercises his or her "right to be forgotten," database records will have to be deleted. And if blockchain is part of the system, a business blockchain administrator will need to ensure that any "on-chain" records become meaningless; fortunately, there's a simple method for doing that.

Deleting hash keys tied to information is known as cryptographic data deletion. While the data may still exist, spread across offline databases, it cannot be reassembled without the correct cryptographic keys. In a sense, it becomes gibberish — a simple and effective method of deleting data permanently.

Much of the attention given to GDPR has been on the onerous compliance requirements. But Juniper believes that compliance will have an upside beyond avoiding fines, because GDPR will result in a wealth of data that has been sourced honestly and in a transparent manner that users will have opted into.

"There is the opportunity for data collectors to build a more positive and open approach to consumer data, while being wary of betraying user trust," said Juniper senior analyst Lauren Foye. "Such an approach, combining transparency and honesty, will be well-received, so businesses should seek to prioritize this; those that do not will face considerable suspicion and, potentially, a customer backlash."

That's not merely theoretic. Data mining operations have come under increased scrutiny over the past year. For example, the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal caused a significant backlash by consumers and even severely depressed Facebook's share price.

"The companies we discuss in the research are not necessarily FinTechs themselves; rather these are businesses who may partner with those in finance, or those whose actions will have significant repercussions for FinTech players in the space, thus disruptive players impacting the market moving forward," Foye said.

In addition, businesses such as ShareRoot, which provides a SaaS-based social media marketing platform, and Microsoft, which plans to impose GDPR restrictions across all of its operations, would benefit by selling technology for data mining or GDPR compliance, Juniper said in its report.

Decentralized apps will explode

The second disruption in the coming year will be a significant expansion in the deployment of dentralized apps (Dapps), Juniper said.

Using blockchain as their foundation, Dapps create an innovative open-source software ecosystem, both secure and easy, in which to develop new online tools, according to Juniper.

"Dapps will pool resources across numerous machines globally, harnessing the power of thousands of idle computers," Foye said. "The results are applications which do not belong to a sole entity, [but] rather are community-driven."

Like the blockchain technology they run on, Dapps are distributed across many nodes (sometimes even thousands or millions), making them extremely fault-tolerant while also transparent to users.

Dapps will be more secure, Juniper explained, because decentralization will make hacking and fraud less prevalent because data stored on the blockchain cannot be altered and changed at a later date.

"We believe that these features will lead numerous financial players and third parties to seek to utilize the technology for practices where security is paramount," Juniper's report stated.

Developers have been quick to jump on board with Dapps. Providers such as dApp Builder are hoping to offer a platform that allow others to build and distribute Dapps.

The dApp Builder platform, Juniper explained, will allow users to create Ethereum Dapps from pre-built smart contracts, which means no coding will be required and apps will be instantly deployed to a blockchain. Juniper noted that there are numerous Dapps emerging on those platforms, running into the thousands, though many of these appear to be clones or copies of more traditional software and applications.

Microblogging site Peepeth, for example, is a Dapp that looks similar to Twitter in its layout and functions.

"Yet the decentralized nature and lack of ownership means the [Dapp] cannot be challenged legally. To use the app, users must pay a small amount of Ether cryptocurrency, as is the feature of many of these Dapps," Juniper's report said. "For transactions to be recorded on the blockchain, users are required to 'pay gas' as an incentive for miners to record transactions."

Dapps also power smart contract technology — self-executing code for business automation. Supply chain pilots based on Dapps that automatically track cargo in real time or complete real estate and other financial transactions, are already being rolled out across industries.

New blockchain-based applications often find their funding via initial coin offerings (ICOs), a crowdfunding technology based on Dapps that uses cryptographic tokens (crypto tokens) in exchange for traditional fiat money or as a reward for using the app.

While the requirement to use crypto-based tokens as payment could be seen as a barrier, the desire for a secure, recorded series of processes powered by blockchain will drive adoption, with users willing to spend for the benefit as well as for peace of mind, Juniper said in its report.

"There is significant potential. A large number of players, including IBM, Microsoft and Oracle, are exploring these areas," said Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at Juniper Research.

On the challenge side, interoperability is perceived to be a major issue, although a number of technology providers are now offering blockchain-agnostic solutions to address those problems, Holden said.

"Security is more of an issue on public, un-permissioned chains like bitcoin and Ethereum. If players avoid these — particularly if they opt for private [blockchains] — then they have far more control," Holden said.

There are a variety of blockchain permutations, and they fall mainly into one of two categories: public or permissioned (private). Public blockchains, such as bitcoin, allow anyone to see or send transactions as long as they're part of the consensus process.

Private blockchains, in contrast, restrict the ability to write to a distributed ledger to one organization, such as a group of employees within a corporation, or between a set number of organizations, such as a group of banks that agree to a network partnership.

There are also consortium blockchains, where only a pre-selected number of nodes are authorized to use the ledger. For example, a group of banks and their clearinghouse might use blockchain as part of trade-clearing, where each node is associated with a step in the verification process.

Quantum supremacy

Juniper believes 2018 will see quantum supremacy, a quantum computer that can carry out tasks that are not possible or practical with a traditional computer.

Quantum computing holds the promise of rapidly solving complex algorithms, redefining areas such as FinTech, logistics, and research and development.

"While mainstream use is unlikely until 2023 at the earliest, industry players should plan accordingly, to avoid falling behind rivals," the report advised.

Quantum computing works by using elemental particles such as electrons or photons (in practice, success has also been achieved with ions), with the idea that either their charge or polarization acts as a representation of 0 and/or 1. Each of these particles is known as a quantum bit, or qubit, and how these behave forms the basis of quantum computing.

"As a result, quantum computing has the ability to solve far more complex problems than current binary computers can handle, with qubits able to be in a state of 1, 0, or even both," Juniper explained in its report. "This is known as 'superposition' and means that quantum computers are millions of times more powerful than binary machines and have the potential to affect and disrupt processes across all industries."

Industry experts had previously predicted that processors of 50 qubits or more would prove a milestone in terms of computation ability, and even those were seen as several years away. Quantum computing development, however, has exceeded expecations.

In November, IBM successfully tested a 50-qubit quantum computer; that was followed by Google's March announcement of its Bristlecone chip design, capable of 72 qubits.

Once successfully operational, the Bristlecone chip will enable the development of quantum algorithms.

"This has happened quicker than was expected," Juniper said. "It is believed that quantum supremacy, 'the demonstration of a quantum computer that can carry out tasks that are not possible or practical with a traditional computer,' will be obtained with a 100-qubit device."


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