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Centralized Values for a Decentralized Future

A closer look at the WEF’s Presidio Principles with Karuschain


Karuschain discusses what the WEF’s Presidio Principles mean for organizations developing blockchain solutions.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has developed 16 blockchain principles, aligning private and public sectors in safeguarding the value of blockchain as the technology continues to evolve.

The “Presidio Principles: Foundational Values for a Decentralized Future” (“Principles”) is an initiative from the WEF’s Global Blockchain Council intended to lay out a foundational set of guidelines for those building a decentralized infrastructure using blockchain technology.

The WEF council states that this document is to be employed by technology creators, users, and policymakers alike as guidance on how to build a shared vision of balance, trust, and power among creators and users, within a decentralized framework.

Karuschain CEO Ryan Steil, and Head of Product Sean Henderson discuss the industry application for the 16 guidelines within the current stage of blockchain development:


When asked about what this means to blockchain solutions like Karuschain, CEO Ryan Steil replied, “Our development methodology is aligned to the Presidio Principles as we strive to ensure the availability, privacy, operability and accessibility. Further to this however, our organization recognizes that we must ensure the accessibility is supported through a straightforward consumption process.”


Notice how accessibility appears as a theme again when we discuss “Agency & Interoperability”, Head of Product Sean Henderson says; “Principles such as allowing participants to manage and own their cryptographic keys is an easy to understand technical requirement. However, this poses a challenge when we look at the functional design of the system that needs to support new and advanced users given varying levels of familiarity with keys, tokens, and wallets. We aim to create an experience that is inclusive and accessible to all, offering guidance and definition of the risks, as well as requirements for key management.”


Ryan notes that “…the study identifies that as blockchain technology creators, we must assess the risk to the data through a disclosure process which may include an examination of audit results, certification or source code, however, the audit process is left without definition. Recognizing these as guiding principles, we must now, as an industry, strive to further define the metrics for disclosure.” Ambiguity in the definition is likely to breed complacency.


Ryan further highlights that the metrics necessary to adhere to these guidelines are not currently defined, and therefore present challenges when it comes to standardizing an industry. Regulators must consider the immutability, and global decentralized nature of blockchain. Sean states that, “With the immutable record of blockchain, a significant challenge is the retroactive enforcement of information. Right now, current GDPR regulations are considered, however, should the definition of personal information within GDPR be adjusted retroactively, blockchain solutions that cannot amend history will face compliancy challenges. A further concern beyond GDPR is different frameworks; GDPR, CCPA, PIPEDA and how an immutable ledger creates challenges due to them not being yet tested and defined by the courts. Given such, we have to be conservative around what information we collect, and considerate of the momentum of information control and where it’s headed.”


As we delve further into emergent technologies and continue to build value on the blockchain, regulators and organizations alike must recognize the risks and difficulties of building international solutions. Guidelines such as these will require greater focus on instruction and measured action while ensuring they do not slow innovation.

At Karuschain, we are working to break down the barriers in mining, an industry that is traditionally very siloed. Sean states, “The principles around data management speak to what we believe is required for customers to adopt modern solutions. Users want to know where their data is, who is using it, how is it being consumed and to have the control to revoke consent at will. There are many examples of where the opaque model, common in Web 2.0, has led to significant mis-trust of platforms. However, the lack of viable alternative solutions has prevented mainstream users from moving to other platforms. I believe that blockchain solutions offer the best platform to address users concerns around privacy and data sovereignty.”


The WEF guidelines highlight the unique characteristics of blockchain, particularly that getting started is difficult. There are many factors and parties to consider. And whilst it is true that building an industry solution presents many challenges, it is also true that once you have a solution and it gets started there is a lot of emergent value there.

Ultimately these principles in the current format provide important philosophical style questions that loosely guide performance until operational networks on which to run them are developed. These principles set a solid foundation and serve as a base for growth and guidance in an industry that is continuing to develop and mature. At Karuschain we are excited to be leading the development and buildout of this technology in the mining industry. Ensuring that our customers are able to consume the value of the blockchain, we have partnered with Rhodium Digital to focus on the value of overall technology employed in mining and heavy industry.


Are you working on a blockchain project, or considering how blockchain could impact your organization in the future?


Contact us and let’s chat about how your organization is looking to apply blockchain technology, or connect with us to stay up to date with Karuschain’s progress and what’s coming next as the technology and industry develops.


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