ChainZy plc is a technology company delivering secure data and transaction handling capabilities to clients using Smart Ledgers. The company is registered in Gibraltar and has plans for funding and significant roll-out in late 2018.
ChainZy is an ‘internet of record’ platform for the storage of transactions on a fast, reliable, scalable, secure and immutable Smart Ledger. Transactions are strongly encrypted and accessible by private key. ChainZy is designed to be used by applications that require a secure, authoritative history of transactions: financial services, utilities, public sector, ‘internet of things’ and many other areas of business and government activity can benefit from ChainZy.
Here is one of our ‘core’ chain systems live in action - https://www.metrognomo.com/stats/ - for the States of Alderney.
We work with private and public-sector clients to build and support applications on the ChainZy platform. Our technology solution is compatible with existing client systems and processes and is built with both scalability and longevity in mind. ChainZy also supports closely related applications, such as time stamping of transactions (TimeChainZ) and managing digital identity (IDChainZ). These related applications can be integrated into the ChainZy customer offering as required.
ChainZy has been spun out of the leading commercial think-tank in the City of London, Z/Yen Group. ChainZy continues to benefit from the expertise and sector knowledge of Z/Yen, as well as cutting edge research on Smart Ledger technology and applications from the Distributed Futures and Eternal Coin research programmes Z/Yen manages.
Smart Ledgers Explained
A traditional ledger is a paper or computer-based record used to document a series of financial transactions by the date of transcription; the concept has its origins at least six thousand years ago in Sumerian cuneiform tablets.
Smart Ledgers are based on a combination of mutual distributed ledgers (aka blockchain: multi-organisational databases with a super audit trail) with embedded programming and sensing, thus permitting semi-intelligent, autonomous transactions. In a Smart Ledger, each digital entry is linked, secured and verified using cryptographic algorithms. Entries contain data, a timestamp, and a cryptographic hash link to the previous entry.
The key benefit of a Smart Ledger is that it does not require a central third party to oversee and validate it. An immutable and correct copy of the master ledger is held by every user, each adhering to a protocol for transaction writing and verification. Bitcoin’s blockchain protocol has successfully demonstrated that Smart Ledgers can operate in harsh environments; its focus on transfer of value and solving the ‘double spending problem’ shrouds the robustness of a basic ‘internet of record’ technology and to a considerable degree impedes the viability of Smart Ledgers in non-currency applications.
Smart ledgers build on the blockchain mutual distributed ledger concept by adding embedded programming and sensing, thus permitting semi-intelligent, autonomous transactions. Smart ledgers are touted as a technology for fair play in a globalised world.
Some implementations can work at speeds up to 1 trillion database transactions a day, at a cost of millicents per transaction, with complex instructions embedded in the database itself. ChainZy was tested in 2017 for high-frequency trading by the National Physical Laboratory and achieved 25 billion transactions per day throughput. This compares with the few transactions per second and enormous energy cost of ‘public’ blockchains such as Bitcoin or Ethereum (Bitcoin approaches the energy consumption of the Netherlands or Switzerland at the moment). In fairness, the public blockchains have plans to improve, but private ledgers are well ahead.
Smart Ledgers allow for not just recording transactions, but also the storage and future execution of computer programmes, so called smart contracts. Smart Ledgers have the potential to transform the ways in which we store and process identities, transactions, debts and contracts. In a Smart Ledger system, details of posted smart contracts are publicly viewable on the audit trail. The logic of the code that constitutes the contract could be inspected before the contract is bought or sold or otherwise agreed upon. If the contract detects that some condition has been met and causes a transaction to be executed, this may post another transaction on the ledger – say, the transfer of funds or property. Using ChainZy technology, the action taken need not be limited to the ledger on which the smart contract sits. If the ChainZy ledger has access to outside code, then the smart contract can fire any type of transaction. This might include sending a BACS payment in cash, executing a transaction on some other Smart Ledger or buying an asset on a central exchange.
In its broadest sense, any application that requires multiple users to share time-sensitive, trustworthy data in environments in which intermediaries add complexity or transactions interact with each other, may have a valid Smart Ledger use case.
Some Case Studies
Youthinmind is a “psychology technology” business providing diagnostic services for mental health conditions in children, adolescents and young adults. The company’s key products utilise online forms filled in by patients, their family members and teachers. Youthinmind’s initial use for ChainZy was to provide client governments with an immutable record that patient survey interactions had happened at a given time and had not been altered subsequently. As a second stage use case, survey responses written to ChainZy were cross referenced with respondents’ physical location to create a dynamic daily global heat map of the results.
ChainZy processes 100,000’s of survey responses and Youthinmind interactions every day across 60 countries. In 2016, ChainZy processed 8.2 million transactions, increasing to 15 million in 2017. The ChainZy product suite was written into the Youthinmind software with minimal disruption and at near-zero throughput cost. As well as providing data security and validation for respondents, the use of ChainZy has helped Youthinmind visualise and track user interactions, enhancing their sales strategy and performance management.
FastTrackTrade is a Singaporean based digital platform aiming to accelerate and standardise cross border trade between SMEs in the Asean region. The company uses smart contracts supported by ChainZy technology with specific variables that can be modified by counterparties with the objective of creating a fully decentralised platform which does not require the intervention of a central third party. FastTrackTrade builds trust in its service by sharing a common audit trail between market participants. Each stage in a transaction process: purchase order sign-off, payment, delivery etc. are logged into the ChainZy mutual distributed ledger. At any point of time, the proof of existence of any of these events can be verified by either participant or any other permissioned third party. The use of a ChainZy mutual distributed ledger also ensures that customer personal and transaction information is secured and encrypted and therefore only accessible to authorised parties.
TimeChainZ (formerly MetroGnomo)
TimeChainZ is a timestamping application that utilises ChainZy mutual distributed ledger architecture. TimeChainZ provides proof that a given piece of information existed, or event happened, at a given point in time. Each timestamp is recorded as an entry on ChainZy’s transparent, authoritative and immutable ledger. A ledger entry can be easily located using the timestamp’s unique officially recorded time or its unique universal identifier.
Uses for TimeChainZ include dating financial contracts, proving authorship of data and intellectual property, aggregating disparate sources of information and facilitating information exchange between organisations. TimeChainZ also provides a valuable mechanism to coordinate and audit other Smart Ledgers and blockchains, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum or Ripple. TimeChainZ is designed to operate as the most stripped-down mutual distributed ledger possible and has been scaled and customised for a variety of customer use cases.
GeoChainZ (formerly GeoGnomo)
GeoChainZ is an open source application exploring various uses for geocoding in mutual distributed ledgers. GeoChainZ utilises three systems for geostamping: Quaternary Triangular System, a Quaternary Rectangular System, and a Variable Rectangular System. Each can be used to record geographic areas into a blockchain and can be easily translated from latitude and longitude areas to geocodes and back.
The geocoding systems used by GeoChainZ have various benefits over traditional latitude and longitude. Each system of reference is compact and memorable, enhancing ease of use and decreasing input error. Importantly, the coding systems provide aggregation flexibility and customisable levels of precision. This allows users to describe comparably a variety of area sizes and structures, both natural and human, such as forests, beaches, buildings. GeoChainZ provides blockchain applications with an instant and scalable ‘global post code’ system. Using the system users can share information easily: ‘tell the drone to come to my back garden’, down to a resolution of 7.6 metres or 0.35 mm, etc. Geocoding has a broad array of potential applications including delivery and logistics, asset management, trade and navigation. GeoChainZ provides a base programme on top of which specific geocoding products can be built to customer requirements.
IDChainZ is a digital identity documentation handling application for individuals and companies. The programme enables users to hold a ‘key ring’ of certified identity documents (passports, utility bills etc) and allows multiple external parties to add, certify and exchange know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) documentation.
IDChainZ uses an innovative ring structure to store documents and set permissions for specific companies/inquisitors to access specific levels of an individual’s documentation. Using sprites, pieces of self-executable code, users may also set time and use restrictions on inquisitors for access to their documents. The ring structure has inherent flexibility. Rings have a hierarchy where master rings are aware of all their sub-rings, but the sub-rings know nothing about their parent – or even if they have one. Each document ring is a self-executable program held on ChainZy’s mutual distributed ledger. Parent rings can set access conditions for sub-rings. Sub-rings can be programmed to have use limits and/or a self-destruction date.
Identity based applications are one of the most commonly cited use cases for blockchain technology. IDChainZ is a flexible and highly scalable application in the area using ChainZy technology. The programme is available either through web browser or a mobile app on the Android platform and can be scaled and customised according to customer requirements.
The basic architecture of a ChainZy Smart Ledger consists of three components:
- Transmitters that accept application data from permitted users and compute and transmit the chain.
- Receivers that accept transmitted chains, validate the received chain and store them.
- Filters that consume stored receiver chains to produce output meeting certain conditions (e.g., messages only from a particular user).
Users are granted ID’s which can be anonymous or identifiable, depending on customer requirements. Transmitters accept application data from permitted users, combine it with a timestamp and apply one-way encryption to the resulting data-stream using a cryptographic hash. By being a function of both the datum and the timestamp, every hashed record is unique. Each hashed record is then hashed for a second time with the record immediately preceding it, creating the chain. The transmitter then agnostically broadcasts the new ledger entry to the network of receivers.
A receiver accepts information from a specific transmitter and adds each new link to their own copy of the ledger (or chain). Receivers re-verify each record independently of the transmitter and then check that their verification agrees with that of the transmitter. If it does not agree, an error is flagged and the receiver attempts to re-synchronise with the transmitter. Similarly, if a receiver loses connection to its transmitter, it is able to identify the break in the chain and re-synchronises. Any gap in the record is left because this is the true record from the receiver’s perspective. Receivers holding an incomplete ledger can reconstitute the ledger by requesting missing entries (either from other receivers within the specific application or the central QueryChainZ service) and ‘stitching’ them back into their copy of the ledger. This mechanism is a feature of ChainZy’s ‘woven broadcasting’ method, which utilises multiple transmitters and receivers to maintain complete versions of the ledger in applications that require this.
The final stage in the process is the application of a filter. Filters accept information from the receivers and produce output based on defined criteria, such as information generated only by a particular user or particular information items. Filters are normally the starting point for “smart contracts” and ‘Smart Ledgers’ and can be implemented in almost any programming language. Filters can easily write their outputs back onto ChainZy to give indelible evidence of their operation.
ChainZy ledgers are designed to be highly flexible and customisable for almost all use cases. In addition to woven broadcasting, ChainZy smart filters support a variety of validation and consensus mechanisms including master nodes, master-supervisor nodes, free-for-all, unanimity, and weighted voting mechanisms. ChainZy can be accessed through any web browser, including mobile phones and will handle any file type from extant operating systems. The system employs widely-used, open source software, networking and commodity hardware and can be easily integrated with existing user software.
Customers of ChainZy can choose to join ChainZy MutualSL as their contracting entity. ChainZy MutualSL is a customer owned entity that contracts services and licences from ChainZy plc and is run for the benefit of ChainZy’s customer base.
The mutual structure provides significant governance advantages to clients by providing direct oversight on pricing and the terms of the ChainZy product. Its structure also provides opportunities for customers to cooperate on network reporting and statistics for verification.
Furthermore, a mutual creates the basis for transmitter/receiver pairings across organisations, with the objective of enhancing the resilience of the ChainZy network. ChainZy’s strength is approximately exponential with the number of links and correspondents in its network. Companies may choose to accept encrypted broadcasts from other company transmissions, and in turn encourage others to accept their transmissions. Participating entities would enhance the strength of the network and the resilience of their own data. This co-operation structure means ChainZy would be able to survive even determined malignant attacks, since suborning a significant percentage of correspondents will be an increasingly formidable task.
ChainZy is the culmination of over two decades of accumulated knowledge and work on mutual distributed ledgers by the world class commercial think-tank Z/Yen Group. Z/Yen started research on the applications of mutual distributed ledgers in 1995, long before the world knew what a ‘blockchain’ was. Since then, the consultancy has built around 200 ledgers for a wide array of clients, with over 50 major variants in architecture. In 2018, Z/Yen’s mutual distributed ledger product suite, ChainZy, was spun out into a stand-alone company.
"Ledgers are the infrastructure of finance. Mutual distributed ledgers are pervasive and permanent. They will transform all financial trust architectures - exchanges, insurers, banks, and information providers." Professor Michael Mainelli, Executive Chairman of Z/Yen (2015)
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