ISO Attempts to Standardize Blockchain Software

by Tim Sloane 0

 While most blockchain implementations today are executed in a single cloud implementation, such as IBM’s or Microsoft’s and are not operated independently, ISO is still interested in starting the standardization process:

“Blockchain technology holds immense promise to revolutionize financial transactions – and with it, improve a whole host of things from financial inclusion to efficiencies in government, health and all areas of business.A new ISO technical committee promises to take it to the next level, having now defined areas for future standardization work.

The inaugural meeting of ISO TC 307 Blockchain and electronic distributed ledger technologies recently held in Sydney, Australia, brought together international experts from over 30 countries to set the future course of standardization in this area, forming five key study groups for standard development: reference architecture, taxonomy and ontology, use cases, security and privacy, identity and smart contracts”


An operational blockchain is an application; one that is deployed across multiple hardware and operating system environments. To Mercator’s knowledge the International Standards Organization has never before attempted to standardize an entire application; interfaces to the applications perhaps, but never the application itself. Deciding to make blockchain the first application to standardize is so bold as to be considered slightly crazy. The design of a blockchain must fit a very specific use case. While ISO TC 307 states that it will define use cases, this is again unusual for ISO. While ISO has identified generic use cases these have typically been at the architectural level which is insufficient as a template that will be used to design a blockchain. It will be interesting to see how this develops, but even if it succeeds it will take many years before an operating version of the standard exists.

Overview by Tim Sloane, VP, Payments Innovation Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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