20 words for understanding digital trust

confiance numérique, digital trust

The issue of digital trust has never been more relevant. The 15th IMT Personal Data Values and Policies Chair Meeting, held on 8 March a few weeks before the European general data protection regulation (GDPR) enters into force, was devoted to presenting its book “Signes de confiance : l’impact des labels sur la gestion des données personnelles” (Signs of Trust: The impact of labels on personal data management). Here is a closer look at some key terms surrounding digital trust.


API  Application Programming Interface, an interface that enables the user to connect to an application in order to access the data it produces.

Auditability – The availability of proof that information has been supplied in an authenticated and non-repudiated manner.

Audit trail  The complete history of a transaction

Blockchain  Technology that stores and transfers intangible assets without an intermediary in a transparent, secure, reliable and inalterable manner.

Read more on our blog: What is a blockchain?

Confidence  Trust related to a social context and established institutions.

Consortium  Refers to a hybrid blockchain that is not public, involving participants with different rights.

Crypto-currency – Electronic currency used in a peer-to-peer or decentralized computer network that relies on the principles of cryptography to validate transactions and issue currency.

Decentralized autonomous organization –A program that maintains an organization’s governance by embedding it into a blockchain. It involves several smart contracts (see definition below) that interact together.

Decentralized consensus – Mechanisms used to ensure that all the nodes within a network have the same information available and the same overall internal status.

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) – Refers to private blockchains and consortia.

Immutability  The property of being inalterable once created.

Ledger  Book of accounts, a register. A blockchain is a decentralized ledger or register.

Oracle  A service that gathers data from one or more services (private or public databases, social networks…) which it submits to be used by smart contracts (see definition below).

Pseudonymity  An individual’s ability to prove a coherent identity without providing a real name.

Side chain  A secondary blockchain attached to the primary one that can be used to increase the (otherwise limited) volume of information the blockchain can process.

Smart contracts  Autonomous programs that automatically apply the terms of a contract without requiring any human intervention once initiated.

Token – Generic name for a transactional information unit within a blockchain, which does not necessarily refer to the idea of currency.

Transaction  Refers to an operation involving the transfer of assets or information between two participants.

Trust  An individual accepting something as true based on a personal frame of reference.

Trusted Third Party  an entity authorized to perform transactions that must remain confidential and secure on behalf of a third party.

To find out more about this topic, check out our series on trust in the digital age.




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