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Can XRPL source be used for other things? (library/patient records etc)

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HI everyone, on the advice off@Pablo, I  have decided to open this Topic on this section of the Forum.

I am not interested in Ripple for its economical aspect but rather I am looking to investigate its potentialities in the creation of a tampered-proof archive to store sensitive data. 

 Indeed, as a master student in the Heritage field, I have focused my attention on the role which technologies as Ripple protocol and IPFS  could have in the establishment of digital libraries.

My research is based on the work of specialist and academic which have shown the opportunities created by the establishment of a system based on blockchain and IPFS. In this sense, these are some of the work taken into consideration in my research.

- A Blockchain and IPFS based framework for secure Research record keeping by Rajalakshmi et al. (2018)

- An improved P2P File System Scheme based on IPFS and Blockchain by Chen et al (2017)

- ETDB-Caltech: a blockchain-based distributed public database for electron tomography by Ortega et al (2018)

These articles offer interesting frameworks to establish a data system based which use blockchain ledger to manage ecosystem operation and store sensitive data while IPFS is the layer in which are stored the resources. Even if my framework is largely inspired by the proposals of these articles, nevertheless in my framework  Ripple is used as a ledger for the management of the system.

Before proceeding, I would like to know if this topic is related to this section and moreover if anyone is interested to establish a constructive discussion and help me. :)







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Thank you for this contribution and exciting development in the field. 

Could you explain for me please how you propose to use the Ripple software suite to build a repository of sensitive information? Are you doing that on the back of a smart contract configuration? I wasn’t aware that that the ILP, xRapid or xCurrent would facilitate this so it would certainly be novel!

Do you have a PoC yet or are you still in the theoretical phase of development?

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So, my work is and will be maintained theoretical as long as it will be limited to be used for my academic purpose. It could be possible to develop in the future a proof of concept but still,  in the actual phase, it seems to me to soon to even think to do it.

To answer your question about how  Ripple ledger  ( a private autonomous one ) will be established as a repository for sensitive information it could help offer an idea of the architecture which I propose to use in my framework.  The architecture is largely based on that offer by Chen et al (2017) and as that is developed in the fourth layer. The first layer in Chen et al (2017) consists in the Bitcoin blockchain ledger while in my framework this is replaced by Ripple ledger. On top of that in the second Layer, a Virtual chain will be used to manage system core operation. The third layer is the routing and it is actually part of the virtual chain even if defined as an autonomous layer. The last layer is the storage layer and is developed over the IPFS.

 In my framework, smart contracts have not been used, not because I am not aware of their potentiality but considering that in my theoretical approaches it could result to be difficult to describe smart contract application and also that  I took  as a framework model one in which   Smart contract are not taken into account I have decided to avoid to discuss about application of  smart contract in this phase of my research.

About the storage of sensible data directly on the ledger, it is possible to use the message memo connected to each transaction. Indeed as I was able to understand, each transaction in Ripple posses a comment/ memo section which could contain up to 1kb (1024 characters). Taking into account that in Ortega et al (2018) it is shown how Caltech-ETDB using FLO blockchain  (Alexandria.io), was able to structure a  valuable metadata scheme for the resource stored in the system  with a limit 528 characters, I think that  Ripple protocols could offer  an improved solution  to make the same operation

Edited by Fahrern
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  • Pablo changed the title to Can XRPL source be used for other things? (library/patient records etc)

This is a really fascinating area of research so I'll be interested to hear from some of the technical gurus as to whether this is possible. If @JoelKatz is around, he might be able to provide some guidance on this one.

It opens up a whole range of possibilities for archivists and librarians to help generate revenue for the vast repositories of information they hold and also to opens up access to data in a manner that can be controlled, monitored and audited.

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Possible maybe, but it is also possible to use bank notes for all kinds of stuff if you just use their property as a relatively hard to forge piece of paper.

XRPL is built as a decentralized exchange and payment settlement blockchain. Adding some random data in memos is not really helping there and spam imho. Just because it could doesn't mean it should.

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Thanks @Sukrim for chiming in here.

@Fahrern - I've gone to take a look at your source research, particularly the work by Rajalakshmi et al. (2018) and Zhang.

To pick up on @Sukrim's point - the XRPL has been designed to facilitate the transfer of value between parties, rather than data storage. That said, the research has been looking at ways for the blockchain layer of their architecture to provide an audit/transaction trail of changes to the source file over time. The transactions are not ones of value but of states and you are recording the history of the state changes on the blockchain (which isn't far off the traditional use of the blockchain to record the state/value in a wallet at any point in time).

As I understand your architecture, you want to substitute the blockchain layer that the researchers have currently proposed being filled by the EVM with the XRPL, correct? The advantages I think you're looking for is that the consensus model employed by the XRPL will allow you to confirm "transactions" far more rapidly than the EVM and one can dispense with mining. To which I say: Bravo! :) 

If I go back to the model being proposed by Rajalakshmi et al, and as far as I can tell, all data records and files are moved off-chain into IPFS and the blockchain is limited to "transacting" the hash of the data record/file. If you want to engage with data stored on IPFS, you need interfaces to pull up that data from the client-side, correct? That's where the smart contracts come in. With respect to the XRPL, Codius could perform that role so there are tools to do those tasks.

But you are dispensing with that. So the question I have for you is: have you got some magic sauce to communicate between the XRPL and the IPFS? If you can't discuss it here, that's fine.

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