Blockchain technology has emerged as a popular tool for storing information in digital format. Despite its initial use as crypto, over time, blockchain has expanded greatly in its applications. As it is closely linked with online business functioning, there have been concerns about whether the industries adhere to the GDPR guidelines.
In general, there are certain areas where blockchain technologies do not go hand in hand with the GDPR. This is mainly because GDPR is rooted in the fundamental premise of at least one legal person while blockchain is a decentralized system. But before we go into detail about its regulations, let us have a quick look at what GDPR and Blockchain mean.
What is GDPR?
The blockchain database is a technology that saves and distributes data to many computers. It makes every entry or transaction available to all users and is used in a wide range of operational activities.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides a legislative structure setting forth standards on personal information collection and processing from people living inside the European Union (EU). It allows the users to grant permission to the second party for processing their data. For example, here are a few places where you might have come across GDPR:
- Cookies: Whenever we visit a new website, it always asks whether we want to accept or decline cookies. This is a common form of implied consent under GDPR. After the implementation of this regulation, requesting acceptance has become especially important.
- Terms & Conditions: Generally, these are provided on the bottom or end of a form, where the user must tick a box. This signifies that you are showing your approval and accepting the policies of the platform. This falls under express consent under GDPR.
GDPR Requirements with Blockchain Technology are:
- Data Transparency and Traceability: All the data is entirely traceable, and you may view your personal information at any time. Every Blockchain technology must comply with this requirement. This means that all participants should be able to view all collected data. Being a decentralized ledger, blockchain technology satisfied this requirement.
- Data Rectification: GDPR Guidelines indicate that personal information can be modified. This refers to individual rights to rectify inaccurate or incomplete personal data. This can be a challenge to the blockchain-recorded data as this information is not bound to change in the blockchain system. Rather, blockchain-based data is immutable. For this reason, many companies have implemented blockchain technology to ensure information such as certificates, signatures, personal identifications, etc; are tamper-proof.
- Data Security and Erasure: It helps to record data transactions in a secure system and software. But the most significant disadvantage is that you cannot erase your personal and confidential information from any software. Similar to Data Rectification, this requirement is hard to meet with a blockchain decentralized system.
- Confidentiality of data: According to the GDPR, personal data is regarded as any information about the identifiable person, particularly by reference to an identifier, that may be recognized directly or indirectly. Hence, such information must fulfill previous requirements. In this case, the address of a wallet is an indirect identifier, which in turn, concerns the confidentiality of users. However, in the blockchain system, such data is traceable in its entirety and therefore, does not provide privacy.
Is Blockchain compliant with GDPR?
The short answer is no. According to the EU’s Blockchain Observatory and Forum report in 2018, GDPR does not concern technology. Up until today, GDPR-compliant blockchain technology does not exist.
However, GDPR-compliant use models and software are available, such as BLOOCK.
BLOOCK and GDPR?
Generally, blockchain technology satisfies the first requirement of GDPR: Data Transparency and Traceability. Nevertheless, BLOOCK is fully GDPR compliant:
- Data Transparency and Traceability: At BLOOCK, we help our customers integrate with blockchain technology by uploading hashes (#) to Ethereum Mainnet. By doing so, all the hashes (of original information) are entirely transparent and traceable on the chain.
- Data Rectification & Data Security and Erasure: These two can be seen as the most challenging requirements for blockchain to be compliant with GDPR. However, BLOOCK does not send any sensible data from you as we do not store them on our servers. In other words, your information is kept 100% local. What BLOOCK works with is the indecipherable one-way encryption called hashes. On the other hand, we do not store data such as your account names and business information in the blockchain. Therefore, you can modify or erase them as you want to.
- Confidentiality of data: As mentioned above, we only work with the hashes created from your data. As hashes are encrypted one-way and are impossible to hack, you will have the optimal security for your information.
At BLOOCK, we provide you full privacy and control over your data. You can leave all your privacy concerns behind and enjoy a safe blockchain service.