The new management of recordkeeping

Published date01 April 2020
AuthorReina G. Wiatt
Date01 April 2020
The new management of recordkeeping
Reina G. Wiatt
Southern Careers Institute College,
Austin, Texas
Reina G. Wiatt, Southern Careers Institute
College, 2127 Melridge Place, Austin, TX
This article focuses on the emerging applications of blockchain technology for
recordkeeping and data management requirements. Blockchainthe technol-
ogy supporting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrenciesis a shared ledger that
maintains transactions and documents in digital form. In a time when busi-
nesses face challenges in managing data security, there is a compelling case for
developing a digital-based recordkeeping system to address social problems on a
global scale. Improving food supply chain safety, reducing the conflict diamond
trade, and assisting refugees in preserving identity and academic credential
records are just a few of the solutions offered by blockchains. Our global econ-
omy depends on the ability to create, store, and share accurate records. While
implementation challenges remain, blockchain technology's ability to store and
distribute immutable documents has the potential to improve data management
security for industries worldwide.
blockchain technology, data security, digital-based recordkeeping, food supply chain safety
The rise of globalization coupled with automation is rapidly
changing recordkeeping requirements. With the world cre-
ating gigabytes of data per day, and as companies continue
to increase the number of documents they accumulate and
retain, the siloed approach to data storage using either
paper-based records or mainframes is fraught with multiple
failure points. Lost documents, errors and omissions,
destruction from natural causes, and high retention costs
hamper efforts for businesses to efficiently maintain proper
document controls. For example, Record Nations, a docu-
ment management firm, estimates the annual paper-based
document storage and disposal costs for an average-sized
business can exceed $600,000 per year (McHugh, 2019).
BlockchainThe technology created to support Bitcoin
and other cryptocurrenciesis a decentralized, shared
ledger capable of creating and storing anything of value,
from land deeds to academic records. This architecture
enables multiple participants to share information using
a public (permissionless), or private (permissioned) com-
puter network. Each entry is assigned a unique digital finger-
print (hash) created from complex algorithms, and every new
transaction requires consensus approval from all members.
Once approved, transactions are accumulated into blocks
and replicated to each computer node in the chain. Each
block has a unique, alphanumeric header that contains
several pieces of information. Part of the header includes the
hash of the previous block's header information, thereby
linking the blocks together in an unbroken chain.
The linking process makes records more resistant to
tampering because data alterations require breaking the
cryptography securing the record and changing the cur-
rent block and all other blocks linked to the record. In
permissioned chains, only members can access transac-
tions through the use of private keys, which also act as a
unique digital signature for each member. If a member
attempts to alter a record, the member's signature is
Received: 24 October 2019 Accepted: 29 October 2019
DOI: 10.1002/jcaf.22426
J Corp Acct Fin. 2020;31:1320. © 2020 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 13

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