According to a recent press release, The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) has launched a blockchain explorer built on the Ethereum network. The public organization has named the new blockchain explorer application, Catena.

The new blockchain-based application was developed by Bitaccess, a software services provider that powers Fintech businesses in over 15 countries, and will be hosted by its Industrial Research Assistance Program on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). This explorer makes the hosted data always accessible and immutable, as it is organized in decentralized locations, which might subject it to site failure or access issues in its initial phases. According to Bitaccess, the explorer application is similar to a search engine that allows users to instantly “search the Ethereum blockchain” for “published grants and contribution data” stored on the network through Catena.

According to Moe Adham, co-founder of Bitaccess, in a statement,

“We built the Catena Blockchain Suite as a simple, low risk, application for institutions to get introduced to blockchain technology. So far the reception has been terrific”.

Using the IPFS function, users will be afforded a “peer-to-peer method of storing and sharing data” in a distributed method that makes them “unalterable” and preserved “far into the future” long after the original web host has gone offline.

According to the NRC official statement,

“These are early days, but NRC IRAP’s experiments with blockchain are expected to provide constructive insight into the potential for this technology and how it may be used for more open and transparent operations for public programs.”

Earlier this year, the NRC launched the Canadian government’s first live trial of public blockchain technology with the goal of building a transparent administration of government grants and contributions.

According to a Catena official statement,

“Given the nature of public blockchain technology, data can never be removed or edited. For this reason, it is prudent to only publish plain-text data which is completely public, and of the public interest. This is very low risk for public institutions, which have to adhere to strict privacy, and right-to-be forgotten restrictions. While public disclosure data is already available through other means, this data is now embedded in a blockchain and signed using secure cryptography ensuring its authenticity. Not only that, it cannot be changed in the future and serves as an excellent record-keeping utility.” Since the launch, NRC IRAP has been exploring ways to expand its blockchain experiment and reliably public shared data. At the time of the launch, the government was able to use the blockchain to publish information on “new and amended Contribution Agreements with firms in real time.”

Adham says his company’s goal is to help institutions,

“become fully transparent”

and help constituents participate in the

“verification and validation of public information.”


by Samuel Larreal


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