Bank Hapoalim, the country’s largest bank, announced on Wednesday that it will be partnering with the Israel Aerospace Industries cyber entity to conduct blockchain research and development.Both Hapoalim and IAI – which is owned by the state – plan to leverage blockchain in developing further cybersecurity tools. The two companies will examine how blockchain can be used for securely transmitting data between services and supply chain, along with beefing up authentication for users and on critical devices.“IAI has defined cyber as a strategic growth engine with massive investment in cyber R&D,” said IAI CEO Joseph Weiss. “The collaboration with Hapoalim is part of IAI strategy to tighten its grip as a leading cyber player in Israel and globally. The new collaboration will help us develop into high-potential areas such as blockchain technology.”The emerging blockchain technology offers total transparency and a fixed audit trail of every transaction conducted across thousands of computers in a network. It acts as a distributed ledger, offering a way to authenticate, modify and instantaneously transfer information, while being virtually impossible to hack.
Blockchain holds the potential to transform a number of industries, such as getting rid of cumbersome paper-signing when buying a house. The technology can function as a “smart contract,” changing how businesses interact and conduct deals.IAI and Hapoalim will determine how blockchain can assist with automated programs that function without human participation.Both the bank and the state-owned defense firm will bring together their cybersecurity teams to see if blockchain can improve their privacy and delivery of information to customers, suppliers and for critical military systems.“We welcome the new collaboration with IAI in cyber and information security for our customers and business partners,” Bank Hapoalim CEO Arik Pinto said in a statement.“Hapoalim invests heavily in cybersecurity as part of its strategy to provide the most efficient and innovative services with strong focus on information security.”The most famous application of blockchain technology so far has been bitcoin, along with other cryptocurrencies such as ethereum and litecoin. Not backed by any sovereign entity, bitcoin’s value has swung dramatically, raising fears of excessive volatility.Israel Securities Authority regulators have sought to ban bitcoin-related companies from trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Yet while cryptocurrencies may raise concerns, most experts are on the same page when it comes to blockchain’s potential to transform how companies do business.By 2025, some 10% of worldwide GDP could be built off blockchain- related technology, according to a study by consulting firm Deloitte conducted in May 2017.Many companies are looking at how to integrate and deploy blockchain into their systems within the next year and a half.IAI is Israel’s main aerospace and aviation manufacturers, employing 16,000 workers as of 2013. It produces drones and aircraft for both military and civilian uses.
WHAT IS THE BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY BEHIND CRYPTOCURRENCIES LIKE BITCOIN AND ETHEREUM? (REUTERS)