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Accenture Announces New Hardware for Private Keys

Professional services firm Accenture has developed new hardware, capable of securely storing bitcoin private keys, in a move that spells yet another important development for blockchain technology.

In partnership with digital security company Thales, Accenture has unveiled the hardware that allows for enhanced security in enterprise blockchain technologies, allowing private keys to be stored in a more secure environment to strengthen confidence and improve impenetrability.

Private keys are strings of data essential for unlocking transactional data via the blockchain. They are used to protect the identities of individual parties to transactions recorded via the blockchain.

With Bitcoin, for example, private keys are required in order to receive or send funds on the blockchain, and their role in serving as the private identifier is expected to remain crucial to the development of blockchains for a number of other fields.

The Accenture hardware combines the latest hardware security modules, designed to allow banks and financial services companies in particular to experiment with blockchain technologies in a more secure environment.

Designed to protect against private key hacking and theft, the hardware aims to assuage remaining concerns about security that prevent many more conservative banks from fully embracing the potential of the blockchain.

Simon Whitehouse, who is responsible for Accenture’s blockchain investments, said the hardware represents the missing piece of the puzzle for banks and other security-conscious stakeholders to take the plunge with blockchain technologies.

"Our solution provides the physical security that banks have relied on for decades to keep money and transaction records safe from cyber thieves. It will clear a wider path not only for banks but for governments, insurers, health-care providers and others to do real-world deployments of blockchain technology."

The news has been read as a promising development for those exploring blockchain technologies, particularly in the financial sector where impenetrability from a security point of view is of paramount importance.

It is also expected that the hardware solution could help ease the concerns of regulators, and potentially pave the way for a more conducive regulatory environment in future, to support further blockchain development and implementation in the near future.