New use cases are created or existing ones are changed through distributed ledger (DL) and its characteristics of transparency, permanence, decentralization and anonymity. The blockchain as a distributed ledger concept makes the execution of value oriented transactions in a continuous updating and over the distributed network duplicated digital ledger possible. A protocol, like for example Bitcoin, which is built on top of a blockchain determines how the participants in the network can reach a consensus about the true state of a transaction. The execution of the transaction is done by collecting additional transactions of the network into a block until a defined block size set by the protocol is reached. The final block will then be attached to the so called blockchain by using latest encryption measures.
One application field of distributed ledger concepts is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The IIoT makes new approaches possible by the fusion of information technology (IT) with operation technology architecture (OT) which describes the layers from sensors to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. For example, sensor data which is collected on a production level can be analyzed in a cloud. Based on this, decisions can be made and actions for the optimization of the product process can be taken. In connection with blockchain it becomes possible that for example autonomous things like sensors or actors use services that are provided along the value chain and immediately pay them after service usage without the detour over a central unit.
DL cannot be seen like a technology of the 4th industrial revolution like additive manufacturing or artificial intelligence. The approach has the potential as a virtual intermediary to enable all these technological developments to perform value orientated transactions and thus generate new connections. Through this condition, DL not only leads to a technological revolution but also causes changes in social, law, organizational, governmental and individual structures. Therefore, it is essential to examine DL from different dimensions to generate an added value of the integration in various use cases and consequently to realize or upgrade business models and ecosystems.
The FSTI recognized the challenge and took it as an essential task. In its opinion the generalization through models or frameworks is important for a wide use of DL. The current use case to use case development is used to gain findings for such a generalization. Furthermore, DL is seen as a domain independent approach. Therefore, the FSTI is willing to build partnerships and it is looking for diverse exchange about the subject DL, Blockchain and IIoT. DL as a principle for concepts like blockchain causes the creation of non-trusting ecosystems across companies and can remove the silos which has been built in the past.