Lockheed Martin, US defense contractor, set to incorporate blockchain technology into its development processes. The multibillion-dollar conglomerate is going all-in on blockchain tech, leveraging the innovation’s benefits across diverse facets of its business. It’s doing this by integrating Guardtime Federal’s proprietary blockchain technology into its systems engineering processes, supply chain risk management, and software development.
Guardtime is a natural choice for Lockheed, seeing as how they have been working together on a project to secure data integrity since 2015. According to an October 2015 press release:
“The two companies [were] evaluating solutions that fundamentally address data manipulation and data integrity challenges that arise in military, aerospace and industrial systems increasingly dependent on complex processes, software supply chains, interconnectivity and storage platforms. The demonstration, conducted at Lockheed Martin's Center for Innovation, represented the first known test specifically designed to address the threat of data manipulation in a networked mission centric environment.”
Guardtime’s business is to produce data integrity products for the US national security market. It uses a proprietary blockchain, called KSI, a permissioned blockchain that provides an immutable record of the existence, ownership, and validity of data. The company’s website describes how its blockchain tech secures data integrity, writing, “A user interacts with the KSI® system by submitting a hash-value of the data to be signed into the KSI infrastructure and is then returned a signature which provides cryptographic proof of the time of signature, integrity of the signed data, as well as attribution of origin i.e. which entity generated the signature.”
Why would Guardtime use its own blockchain instead of a public blockchain like Ethereum? The main issue, other than anonymity on a public ledger, is settlement time. Guardtime states: “In contrast to the widely distributed crypto-currency approach, the number of participants in KSI blockchain distributed consensus protocol is limited. By limiting the number of participants it becomes possible to achieve consensus synchronously, eliminating the need for Proof of Work and ensuring settlement can occur within one second.”
When providing mission critical security services to the US government, the quality of a product is of utmost importance. This is likely why Guardtime created a consortium of advanced cyber-centric businesses (Galois, ForAllSecure, and Trail of Bits) to explore relevant fields, such as vulnerability analysis, formal methods, and automated vulnerability discovery and patching. These businesses have all previously worked on advanced DARPA cyber projects.
Lockheed is currently working toward using blockchain tech to secure its developmental processes. That means increasing efficiency for back office procedures, but more importantly, it assures the veracity of delivered data. By partnering with small businesses (as is their tradition; see the Skunk Works model), Lockheed Martin expects to see improved performance in modernizing existing systems to leverage blockchain technology’s benefits.