ITU thinks Blockchain and pals need interoperability

Calls for standards-setting conference to consider security, privacy, whatever other regs distributed ledger types want

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has decided the time is ripe to start talking about what standards might be developed for distributed ledgers, aka Blockchain and fellow-travellers.

The august body will therefore convene the The ITU-T Focus Group on Application of Distributed Ledger Technology (FG DLT) for the first time in October, for a three-day gabfest with the aim of “identifying the standardized frameworks needed to support the scaling up of applications and services based on DLT globally.”

Among the “specific tasks and deliverables” for the meeting is to “study and analyse the implications of mandating interoperability and interconnection of services based on DLT. This will include the development of a standardization roadmap for interoperable services based on DLT taking into consideration the interoperability challenges and best practices.

Also on the agenda is an effort to “Collect and document information on current initiatives and activities from the stakeholders involved in applications and services based on DLT.” Another agenda item is to “Develop a report on the definitions of terminologies and taxonomy for applications and services based on DLT and its ecosystem” and to “Draft technical reports describing and addressing the standardization gaps and identifying future standardization work for ITU-T study groups in the area of services based on DLT.”

Those and the other deliverables are largely foundational: the rationale and scope for the meeting explains that the ITU thinks standards are a good idea, but it doesn't quite know where to start a future to-do list. But it figures if it can get everyone talking, that's an important start.

Whether stakeholders will agree with the agenda will be interesting, as distributed ledgers are evolving fast and have already coalesced into different groups like the Hyperledger and the W3C's Blockchain Community Group which is already working on standard messaging formats and the Blockchain Alliance which aims at keeping criminals' dirty paws off the Blockchain, to mention just three groups pondering such matters.

The Register imagines the ITU event's success will be measured, in part, by the number of folks that show up and show enthusiasm to grapple with the standards process. ®

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