UK National Archives Explore Blockchain to Ensure Authenticity of Digital Records

The ARCHANGEL project is thinking about utilizing blockchain tech to make unchanging entries for computerized records in the National Archives of the UK, as indicated by a blog post from the National Archives published June 6.

The project – made up of the National Archives, the University of Surrey, and the UK Open Data Institute and funded by The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) – is making a blockchain model that will demonstrate the review trail of how a report has been edited.

Their objective, as indicated by National Archives Digital Preservation Services Manager Alex Green, is that the blockchain record would be utilized as a part of files both in the UK and around the world “as a promise that no individual institution could attempt to rewrite history”:

“ARCHANGEL is exploring how we can know that a digital record has been modified and whether the change was legitimate so that ultimately it can still be trusted as the authentic record.”

ARCHANGEL’s host site portrays the project as an 18-month study into “co-creating and assessing a novel model DLT [distributed ledger technology] benefit with end-clients to decide how archival practices, reasonable models, and public attitudes could develop within the sight of a trust in decentralized technology to demonstrate content integrity and guarantee open access to digital public archives.”

In mid-April, a member from the UK Parliament gave a speech in which he praised blockchain, saying the innovation will have “monumental impact.” In February, the Treasury Committee of the UK declared they were launching an investigation into cryptocurrencies, however, noted that they would not like to hinder development in blockchain tech.


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