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Advisory Note
The core features of blockchains - decentralization and algorithmic consensus – can enable the creation of Life Management Platforms (LMPs) with better security and availability, as well as promote wider public adoption by providing independently-verifiable proof of personal data integrity. Even though there remain some requirements of LMPs that are not solvable with blockchains, overall the benefits that blockchain technologies can provide to LMPs are far from negligible.

1 Management Summary

Can blockchains enable Life Management Platforms and encourage widespread user adoption? This paper examines some of the core challenges of LMPs - which are not only technical in nature but as they relate to gaining sufficient trust to allow for mainstream user adoption – and how blockchain technologies can respond to these challenges. The key challenges of LMPs today are:

  • Gaining sufficient user trust of LMP solutions given the highly sensitive nature of personal data that these solutions would be storing, processing and sharing with third parties
  • The protection against the abuse of privileged access to an LMP personal data store, while still providing good levels of supportability to manage lost user credentials or critical life events
  • The on-going protection of personal data even after it is shared with a third party

Blockchains can most certainly assist in the first point by providing demonstrable proof of data integrity and confidentiality to end users: mathematical proof over mere trust. Related blockchain technologies such as multi-party public key cryptography can also mitigate against the risks of privileged access abuse by providing novel approaches to key management. Yet the final point remains a challenge for which blockchain technologies have no immediate answers.

The recommendations of this paper are to focus on the core requirements of LMPs, rather than focusing on the low-level technical implementation details such as which blockchain technology to use. This is especially important given the maturity levels of many proposed and existing blockchain solutions.

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