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Magic Message Bus: Blockchain as a common integration hub

Summary: Provide is packaging several of our tools to form our new message bus service. The Provide message bus is a low-code distributed systems architecture for publishing arbitrary data messages to a distributed filesystem and seamlessly anchoring the proof-of-existence for each message on a configured public or permissioned blockchain. Provide’s message bus service will be available soon. If you’re interested in checking out the beta service, please contact us.

public blockchain message bus

The biggest enterprise use case for blockchain is how it will become a public integration fabric. Peer-to-peer networks comprised of distributed filesystems and public blockchain work together to create a communication layer that is far more secure, stable and self-sovereign than anything middleware has achieved to date.

As discussed in more detail in the Secure Communications Using Blockchain whitepaper, public, high-volume blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum offer a tremendous opportunity to modernize our approach to security through obscurity.

decentralized communications using blockchain

It works by modernizing to a decentralized network layer, where we are able to abstract away the underlying geographically-traceable internet transport layer. This allows a sender to deposit machine-readable data to the network based on a protocol. The network then distributes the data across all nodes in the network. Finally, a receiver will read the data from another node.

When combined with encryption, and a busy network, this model makes it nearly impossible for bad actors to sniff out communications between two parties.

Bigger benefits: App integration & enterprise collaboration

Designed as a vehicle to safely share private data on public infrastructure, blockchain technology provides a modern substrate for application communications too.

In fact, it is possible to use the Ethereum mainnet today as a common integration hub, or as John Wolpert has called it, a magic message bus. As Wolpert describes:

“For me, it’s fair to say that one way to look at all this is as an evolution of the Internet from a stateless passer-of-packets between routers (DNS and such notwithstanding) to an always-on, globally maintained system that manages state (memory and the logic — which is also stored in memory — that changes the state of memory locations) in at least as decentralized a way as we pass packets.”

—John Wolpert
Web3Studio, a unit of ConsenSys

Provide’s new blockchain message bus service

Provide supports all kinds of services that help application developers build, integrate and scale their applications using blockchain. We are in the process of packaging several of our tools to form our new message bus service designed to easily publish anchors and files onto a blockchain network like Bitcoin or Ethereum. These anchors and files will be stateful integration points between applications.

blockchain message bus components

The Provide message bus application is a low-code distributed systems architecture, orchestrated by Provide on customer-owned infrastructure. It is designed for publishing arbitrary data messages to a distributed filesystem and seamlessly anchoring the proof-of-existence for each message on a configured public or permissioned blockchain. Interested network participants can subscribe to message subjects and receive real-time notifications when new messages are available.

Each message bus can be thought of as a logical application consisting of a configured blockchain, distributed filesystem, on-chain registry smart contract and permissioned organizations. The on-chain registry contains, at a minimum, a record of all messages indexed by sender and the hash of the data payload. This registry contract is responsible for dispatching pubsub-like events upon ingestion. Interested parties can subscribe to these events and read the data—based on a protocol for more sophisticated use-cases—to programmatically affect the execution of business logic.

Use case: Oracle service

The Provide message bus is a perfect tool for Internet of Things (IoT) applications and oracles.

This weekend, Carmony will be showcasing the new Provide message bus in the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Talking Traffic Lights Tech Challenge. During the challenge, Carmony will create a new application that tracks license plate traffic through intersections, and makes that data queryable. The ambitious project will focus on integrating a license plate recognition oracle, with much of the application foundation built on the Provide platform and the new Provide message bus service that is currently in beta.

For more information on that project see the blog post Talking Traffic Lights Tech Challenge: License Plate Recognition Oracle or check out this project on Github.

Use case: Provide KYC service

In the spirit of dogfooding, one Provide service that could benefit using the message bus is our KYC service. The Provide KYC service is an API gateway for applications to programmatically submit documents for KYC checks. On the other side of the gateway, the service integrates with a number of third-party KYC vendors and public data sources.

Submitting a KYC application requires a front-end software application to collect sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (PII), including photos of government-issued IDs, selfies and in some cases live video featuring the KYC subject. In a future iteration of our KYC product, the application submission process could leverage the message bus to publish the results of the check. This opens up new opportunities to tokenize the results using— as an example— the ERC-721 Non-Fungible Token standard, which could further enhance the offering with an expiration on each KYC check.

kyc and aml on blockchain

An on-chain KYC registry, if done properly, could afford users the ability to reuse KYC validations and refresh them on a regular recurring interval. It also allows for the verification to become a living, evolving status.

Say for instance, a wallet provider validated a user and published their status. That status begins aging immediately. It is up to the wallet provider to continue to monitor the account for suspicious activity and hacking. Bad actors weren’t born criminals, they become them. So, a year down the line, if a user becomes fraudulent, requiring a recurring KYC check on regular intervals not only reduces costs, it reduces risk and fraud throughout the ecosystem. In this model, the cost of each KYC check is shared among many vendors and provides a self-sovereign experience for users.

If that validation was permissioned, any other vendor sharing the record would be updated simultaneously.

Provide is also dogfooding the message bus in our KYC service to automate the accounting of the checks themselves for easy reconciliation between our third-party providers and customers. This will be a great use-case for Provide Payments.

Stay tuned

We see applications for our blockchain message bus across a variety of industries and use cases, including:

  • Supply chain movement statuses
  • Financial ledgers
  • Medical records
  • Asset ownership
  • Shopping carts
  • Certifications
  • Internet of things
  • Identity management
  • Insurance claims

Provide’s message bus service will be available soon. If you’re interested in checking out the beta service, please contact us.

About Stacey Schneider

Stacey is a technologist known for bringing early stage technology businesses to market, including ecommerce, open source, cloud computing, and most recently decentralized applications using blockchain technology.

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