Month: October 2017

Week 12 – Areas of Possible Research Interest

Broad Research/Project Interest Area

Short description of the area of IT that interests you (explain it to me!)

Following prior research that I have conducted for other papers on the Blockchain design of Distributed Ledger Technology, I have become particularly interested in the possible applications of this technology in the future. A very different approach compared to my previous progress.

Why is it interesting to you

Distributed Ledger Technologies have great potential to hugely impact many aspects of our lives, from the way we do banking and business through to the way IoT devices interact with one another around us and even how Artificial Intelligence may learn.

Three things you know about it

1) Bitcoin and Blockchain brought DLT into the limelight in 2008/2009.

2) Banks and other Financial institutions are putting millions and millions of dollars into researching DLT (In particular the Blockchain design).

3) A basic understanding of how Blockchains provide decentralised consensus. 

Three things you believe about it

1) The Blockchain design of DLT potentially has some scalability limitations in global/enterprise applications.

2) DLT will radically transform many industries in the future.

3) We will all regularly use some form of DLT in the future.

Three things you don’t know about it

1) What is required to set up or start a Distributed Ledger system.

2) What code sits behind various DLTs and how to write it.

3) How to retrieve/analyse data from a Distributed Ledger system.

Would you rather: Do something, Research it or Do both?

I would prefer to do both, I believe that for me doing is the best form of learning, however, for my project ideas in order to do I am required to first research.

Go and see if you can find an online resource about it – (post URL) forum? facebook group? LinkedIn group? or a good blog?

1) https://satoshiwatch.com/coins/iota/in-depth/iota-dag-tangle/

2) https://iota.org/IOTA_Whitepaper.pdf

3) https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonbloomberg/2017/05/31/eight-reasons-to-be-skeptical-about-blockchain/#2471610f5eb1

 

Identifying a possible project

Come up with 10 Questions About your Topic

  1. What security risks does DLT have?
  2. What are the limitations of the Blockchain design of DLT?
  3. What implications could there be for the Financial Industries if DLT is coupled with Artificial Intelligence?
  4. What are the potential use cases for this technology?
  5. How can Banks utilise this technology for International Payment systems?
  6. How likely are Banks to adopt this technology?
  7. Could this technology be used as a platform that enables automated accounting?
  8. Could Hashgraph or Tangle be superior to Blockchain?
  9. When is this technology likely to be widespread?
  10. How can this technology be used in education?

Identify three good questions/ideas that arise from your interest area

  1. Could this technology be used as a platform that enables automated accounting?
  2. What are the limitations of the Blockchain design of DLT?
  3. What security risks does DLT have?

For each question/idea suggest what you could do to answer/explore it.

Could this technology be used as a platform that enables automated accounting?

For this question, I would need to develop a “lab” environment with 2 or more fictional businesses and create test data of transactions between each business, for there I would need to investigate ways that this data could be automatically collated and analysed per business to provide a General Ledger.

What are the limitations of the Blockchain design of DLT?

This would likely result in a research report that consists of secondary research only. I would look further into the limitations compared to what I have in previous papers and provide more solid conclusions.

What security risks does DLT have?

This would likely result in a research report that consists of secondary research only. I would investigate what security flaws exist in Blockchain DLT, and potentially how I would exploit them.

What is the fundamental goal underlying your questions?

The main goals of these questions are to learn more about DLT and the potential applications of this technology.

 

Making a choice

Choose one of the questions and make a more detailed description of what you would do to answer/explore the question i.e. the first draft of your list of activities

Could this technology be used as a platform that enables automated accounting?

I decided on this question because I feel it would be the most challenging and provides a much more interesting project that will result in an artefact rather than just secondary research. I would need to do the following to answer/explore this project:

1. Preliminary research

This would involve researching how to construct the test platform and the resources that would be required for the platform to run on, along with the data that would be required by the “autonomous accountant”.

2. Build the “Lab”/test platform

This would involve setting up the framework of the test platform and prepare it for the required test data.

3. Insert the required data

This would involve creating realistic transactional data that would be expected from a typical business and adding this to the distributed ledger.

4. Build the proof-of-concept “autonomous accountant” solution

This would involve writing the necessary code to collate and analyse the distributed ledger to produce the desired outputs for the 2 (or more) fictitious businesses. This would not be a full-on autonomous solution but simply a proof-of-concept system that could be built upon or re-written in the future (post PRJ701) to be a truly automated system.

5. Finalise the artefact/Gather further primary data

This is where I would finalise my work in gathering primary data for my research, this may even include surveys for the general public to provide feedback on how they would feel about such a solution to accounting for their businesses.

6. Analyse/Summarise the results

This is where I would construct the bulk of my final report, providing the results, I would also draw my findings and conclusions.

Write a title for this possible project.

Distributed Ledger Technology: a framework for autonomous accounting.

 

Ethical Issues

What ethical issues might there be in my proposal?

This project looks at a way to make an age-old profession autonomous, this “proof-of-concept” project is relatively small as it will not provide a fully functional artefact and it will only look at one aspect of accounting so I believe it would have little to no implications.

However, thinking on a larger scale, if this project provides solid proof of the concept and if it could be further developed to truly automate the different roles of accountants (advice/analysis, auditing, tax returns etc.), this has potential to have significant repercussions on the accounting industry including potential redundancy of some or even all human accounting roles.

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Week 11 – Research Approaches and Methods

For this weeks entry, I have been asked to assess the article I reviewed for Assignment 2 of the Research Methods (RES701) course. For this assignment, I reviewed the following article (As referenced in APA style):

Eyal, I., & Sirer, E. G. (2014, March). Majority is not enough: Bitcoin mining is vulnerable. In International conference on financial cryptography and data security, (pp. 436-454). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. Retrieved from https://arxiv.org/pdf/1311.0243

And this is what I have been asked to do this week.

Which research method was used in the paper you have reviewed for Assignment 2?

I was given the following Research Methods to consider:

  • Action research
  • Experimental method
  • Case study
  • Laboratory experiment
  • Cross-sectional research
  • Form survey
  • Self-reporting
  • Observation
  • Implementation research
  • Structured interview
  • Longitudinal study

Out of these methods, I believe the paper I reviewed used a form of Experimental research, this is because, for the paper, the researchers had a theory, which they tested in a proof of concept environment (a series of simulations) where they had control over the variables that affected the results of each test.

Look up more details about it.

By one definition, “the experimental method is a systematic and scientific approach to research in which the researcher manipulates one or more variables, and controls and measures any change in other variables.” (https://explorable.com/experimental-research, 2017)

Was it a good choice?

For the research being conducted, the experimental method was definitely a good choice, if not the only choice.

Why do you think so?

The researchers had a theory which involved different variables, that theory needed to be tested and to do that a series of experiments needed to be conducted. In my opinion, there would have been no other way to complete this research.

Write a brief description of ONE research method you think might be useful to you.

I could not pick from these methods, however, the idea of Design Science Research is very appealing to me. This applies primarily to Information Technology/Systems and it is the process of creating “something” (a digital artefact) and analysing the performance of its use. It is likely that this will be the research method I use for my PRJ701 project.