Blockchain Technology

As a technology, blockchain, or distributed ledgers, have been around for over a decade, but it is only recently that blockchain uses beyond cryptocurrencies have been contemplated.  Now, however, Ohio state and local governments are taking an interest in blockchain and how the technology might be leveraged within the public sector.  Legislators are proposing changes to the law to allow for the use of blockchain, and technology companies are rapidly getting into the game.  In this fast-paced move toward the adoption of blockchain technology, records managers and archivists cannot afford to not be a part of the crucial conversations because they don’t understand the technology.

The OhioERC Blockchain subcommittee is working toward a number of guidelines to demystify blockchain technology.  This first document, Blockchain Basics, is intended to be a high-level description of the most common blockchain concepts and terminology.  The guideline does not attempt to argue for or against the use of blockchain, as there are many variables that come into play. 

Subcommittee goals and outcomes:

  • Provide basic level of understanding of blockchain to records managers
  • Outline the advantages, disadvantages, and how those change with public versus private blockchains
  • Outline the role records managers and archivists should play in blockchain projects
  • Who should be at the table during blockchain projects and what should their role(s) entail
  • Use cases for types of records that could benefit from blockchain and types that might be better suited in a different format
  • Identify potential legal implications

We would like to give a special thanks to the sub-committee members, which includes both internal and external participants of the OhioERC, for their continued work on these guidelines, including:

  • Doug McCollough, Chief Information Officer, City of Dublin
  • Mark Conrad, Information Technology Director, Fairfield County
  • Adam Hansen, Imaging Lab Director & Records Manager, Lucas County Clerk of Courts
  • Dr. David Landsbergen, Associate Professor, John Glenn College of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University
  • Dan Noonan, Digital Preservation Librarian, The Ohio State University
  • Pari Swift, Records Manager, The Ohio State University
  • Eira Tansey, Digital Archivist/Records Manager, University of Cincinnati

Download⇒ Guideline #1: Blockchain Basics

Download⇒ Guideline #2: Blockchain Comparison Document

Download⇒ Guideline #3: Blockchain Project Conversation Starters