Blockchain and Smart Card Technology
Publication Date: March 2017
Implementations of blockchain-based applications are growing rapidly: over $1 billion has been invested in implementations since 2009, with 60 percent of that funding occurring since the beginning of 2015.
While blockchain can create a faster, secure platform for various types of transactions, all implementations share the critical security requirement of generating, storing and managing the user’s cryptographic keys. To provide guidance for organizations implementing blockchain applications, this white paper today provides a primer on blockchain technology, and highlights the need for hardware security technology such as smart cards and embedded secure elements to protect and provide convenient user access to cryptographic keys.
It’s anticipated that a diverse set of applications will be implemented using blockchain – everything from cryptocurrencies to funds transfers, asset registries and autonomous Internet of Things (IoT) device payment. With all of these implementations, proper management of cryptographic keys is critical; if those private keys are lost or stolen, any assets associated with the blockchain are lost forever. This resource highlights how the use of smart card and secure element technology to manage the cryptographic keys, used in conjunction with blockchain technology, can enable convenient and secure transactions.
The white paper provides a primer on blockchain technology, including the role of smart card and secure element technology in blockchain applications, and discusses:
- Use cases for several blockchain technology applications (cryptocurrencies, vaults, interbank funds transfer, asset registry, anticounterfeiting and IoT), including considerations, challenges and real-world pilots or commercial implementations
- Challenges that need to be addressed for blockchain implementations, including permissioned vs. permissionless blockchains, scalability, standards, reputation and consumer perception, security and legal and regulatory considerations
About the White Paper
The Secure Technology Alliance Payments Council developed this white paper to provide a primer on blockchain technology, discuss use cases that are currently commercially available or being piloted, and discuss the role secure element/smart card technology plays in the different use cases. Participants involved in the development of this white paper included: Capgemini; CH2M; Consult Hyperion; CPI Card Group; Discover Financial Services; First Data; FIS; Fiserv; Gemalto; Infineon Technologies; Ingenico Group; Kona I; Nextgen ID Inc; NXP Semiconductors; Oberthur Technologies; PayGility Advisors; Quadagno & Associates: Rambus; SHAZAM; Underwriters Laboratories (UL); Verifone; Visa Inc.
About the Smart Card Alliance Payments Council
The Secure Technology Alliance Payments Council focuses on securing payments and payment applications in the U.S. through industry dialogue, commentary on standards and specifications, technical guidance and educational programs, for consumers, merchants, issuers, acquirers, processors, payment networks, government regulators, mobile providers, industry suppliers and other industry stakeholders.
The Council’s primary goal is to inform and educate the market about the means of improving the security of the payments infrastructure and enhancing the payments experience. The group brings together payments industry stakeholders to work on projects related to implementing secured payments across all payment channels and payment technologies. The Payments Council’s projects include research projects, white papers, industry commentary, case studies, web seminars, workshops and other educational resources.