Car titles on blockchain? Bernie Moreno’s Ownum launches product that claims to make it happen

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Cleveland company will sell a system to put car titles on blockchain, helmed by car dealership owner and Cleveland “Blockland” leader Bernie Moreno.

Moreno is the chair of Ownum, a blockchain technology company that announced its first product, CHAMPtitles, on Friday. The system will allow the current car titling process to move online, ending with digital titles you can display on your smart phone.

Blockchain is an hyperledger system which allows users to store data online in a series of entries. When you put car titling on the blockchain, it makes information immediately available to people who need access, like car dealerships, state government, insurers and auto-manufacturers.

For example, when you buy a car, you could make a payment to a bank or dealership and have the resulting documents available to you almost immediately. Those transactions would be recorded on the blockchain and remain un-editable, so that other entities can see proof of payment. The information is, theoretically, more reliable.

The product’s current target is state government. A team of 15 employees already reached out to every state to gauge interest. Interest varies — Oklahoma is the top of the list, but Ohio is just behind, Moreno said. The change wouldn’t be immediate. The CHAMPtitles system integrates with existing government paper systems and would phase them out over a number of years.

When Moreno launched Blockland, an effort to make Cleveland a blockchain hub, he consistently used car titles as an example of the technology’s applications.

“First of all, it’s what I know. That makes it easier,” Moreno said. “Car titles are near and dear to my heart. I’m intimately aware of the friction that’s involved with having this crazy piece of paper. If you ask people in the car business, auction business, insurance business who handle these titles, or bankers, they’ll tell you this piece of paper causes major administrative issues for everybody involved.”

Back when Blockland began last May, Moreno’s company didn’t have the technology to put titles on blockchain. Now that it’s developed, Moreno wants to be active in a handful of states in the next three to six months and then in all 50 states in the next two years.

Ownum is housed at a former Nissan dealership on Brook Park Road, and about half of its employees are from the Northeast Ohio area. Ownum’s CEO is Shane McRann Bigelow, formerly the director of a private wealth practice. The business’s “solutions manager” is Randy Cole, former executive director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission.

“We’re really excited about building a tech company in Cleveland, even though everybody told me a year ago we could never pull it off, meaning that we’d never find the talent, resources and atmosphere,” Moreno said.

To see how the technology works, read more on the CHAMPtitles website.


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IBM private blockchain patent seeks to protect enterprise blockchains from “Replay attacks”

IBM, the American multinational technology giant seeks to protect enterprise blockchain networks from “Replay attacks”. A new IBM private blockchain patent application proposes a solution to prevent these attacks.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently published the patent application. The move from IBM assumes importance in view of the growing focus on enterprise blockchain networks.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, and similar cryptocurrency networks have made the blockchain technology famous. However, the wider adoption of blockchain is possible only when big businesses use it.

Enterprises can’t use public blockchain networks for conducting their business. Public blockchains allow anyone to join the network, however, enterprises can only allow trusted parties on their network. Enterprises need to guard their sensitive information, which isn’t possible with public blockchains.

Enterprises need blockchain networks with high transaction throughput and scalability. Bitcoin and Ethereum wouldn’t quite fit their requirements. These reasons drive enterprises to use private blockchains. These are also known as “Permissioned blockchains” and “Enterprise blockchains”.

Private blockchains are relatively new. Hyperledger Fabric and R3 Corda are a few examples of enterprise blockchain networks. Research and development of private blockchain are still evolving.

Let’s talk about “Replay attacks” now. These are instances when a malicious actor copies a valid transaction from one blockchain network and executes that in another blockchain network. This particularly impacts blockchain networks after hard forks.

Public blockchain networks are already subject to these attacks. Blockchain-crypto communities are devising techniques to thwart and prevent such attacks. A few examples of such techniques are as follows:

  • Choosing a secure wallet;
  • Mixing the transaction with a Coinbase transaction since Coinbase transactions can’t be replayed;
  • Causing a “Double spend” by design.

Enterprise blockchains need protection from replay attacks too. This is where the new IBM private blockchain patent assumes importance.

Securing enterprise blockchains against replay attacks

IBM intends to guard enterprise blockchains against replay attacks without compromising their private and permissioned characteristics. The IBM private blockchain patent application proposes to introduce a unique security value for this purpose.

In this proposed scheme, the transaction originator will sign the transaction with a security certificate. Moreover, he/she will use a unique security value to execute the transaction. This value can be used only once, therefore, any future attempt to replay that transaction will fail.

This IBM private blockchain patent assumes importance in the context of their concerted effort to innovate around enterprise blockchains. IBM champions enterprise blockchains aggressively.

The company is a prominent member of the Hyperledger Consortium. This industry group researches and develops open-source blockchain frameworks and tools. IBM is a key contributor to Hyperledger Fabric, one of the more matured enterprise blockchain frameworks.

IBM also offers “IBM Blockchain Platform“. Businesses can use this platform to implement their own enterprise blockchain networks. The platform uses Hyperledger Fabric and the impressive cloud computing capabilities of IBM.

IBM is aggressively patenting their blockchain innovations, for e.g.:

IBM pushes for blockchain adoption

IBM is betting big on blockchain! The technology giant has worked on improving the “Bill of Lading” (BoL) process in the shipping industry. They have partnered with Maersk to cut down shipping time. IBM is also assuring jewellery-buyers about the origin of their precious gems. The new IBM private blockchain patent to secure enterprise blockchains further reinforces their commitment to the blockchain technology. That’s good news!

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