How Blockchain Technology Reduce Cost And Risk Pertaining to PCI Compliance?

Published on : 06 Oct 2020

blockchain and pci dss

As cybersecurity continues to be a growing concern for most businesses online, it calls for an efficient, and risk-free means of payment transactions across platforms. While Regulatory Bodies are doing their bit by establishing frameworks for secure online transactions, adopting effective technologies to tackle the issues of cybersecurity is equally essential. Having said that, today’s industry has witnessed a great development in technology for addressing the risk of online payment transactions. There is a significant development in PCI compliance with businesses now moving towards using the latest Blockchain Technology.

Blockchain Technology is currently the best solution for helping your business achieve PCI compliance and securing online payment transactions. Today, leveraging the distributed ledger architecture is not just a mere concept, but a practice used by businesses to secure online payment transactions. In today’s article, we have discussed how adopting Blockchain Technology can reduce cybersecurity risk and help your company achieve PCI Compliance. But, before we head on to understanding the benefits of adopting the technology, let us first learn about what is blockchain technology?

What is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain Technology is currently the most secure and trending data protection technology used in the industry.  Although the mechanics of blockchain is extremely complex, yet the basic process of it typically involves using decentralization and cryptographic hashing for storage of data in a way that it cannot be tampered, or manipulated by an unauthorized person.

So, Blockchain Technology which is also referred to as a digital ledger is basically a structure that stores sensitive or transactional data (known as the block) in several databases, (known as the chain) in a network connected through nodes. Every data or transaction in the digital ledger is authorized by the digital signature of the owner who authenticates the transaction and protects it from manipulation. This ensures the sensitive data or the transactional data in the digital ledger is highly secure.

A simple analog for an easy understanding of Blockchain Technology would be a Google spreadsheet or Google doc shared among people. So, when we create a document and share the same with a group of people the document gets distributed without being copied or transferred. It creates a decentralized distribution chain that gives everyone access to the document at the same time. Here any modifications to the document are visible to all and recorded in real-time, ensuring complete transparency.  

The additional and most fascinating part of this technology is that the transaction records are visible to all, but cannot be accessed or tampered by anyone other than the authorized person. It is indeed a revolutionary technology that addresses four critical aspects of data security namely-

  • Provides real-time access (visual access) to the data. 
  • Helps reduce the risk of manipulation.
  • Prevents incidents of fraud/data breach/data theft.
  • Promotes transparency and preserves the integrity of the data. 

Blockchain is a technology that simply goes against conventional cybersecurity thinking, and ensures high-level security which is exactly what is needed to protect cardholder data.

How does the Blockchain Technology work?

Blockchain Technology which is also known as a digital ledger is a structure that stores transactional data (known as the block) in several databases, (known as the chain) in a network connected through nodes (nodes mean participant). Blockchain transactions occur within a peer-to-peer global network. This mechanism involves the process of encrypting (known as ‘hashing’) blockchain which is carried out by a myriad computers functioning as a decentralized database.

Every block in the digital ledger is authorized by the digital signature of the owner who authenticates the blocks and protects it from manipulation. So, in this process, every participant (node) maintains a copy of the blockchain data with digital signature authenticating and ensure that they are all on the same page and have the same data. 

Once the digital ledger is updated with the data block, it cannot be altered. This makes it extremely difficult for hackers to attack, as they would require access to every copy of the blockchain that exists in order, to be successful. If in case the blockchain (transaction data) which is already stored in the digital ledger is tampered, a different digital signature will be produced which would, in turn, alert the network about the mismatch.

This prevents the incident of a data breach, while also making it easier to detect one if an attempt is made. This way the Blockchain Technology transforms business processes by improving efficiencies, business operations, and creating a secure trail of transactions. It thus provides an opportunity for businesses to secure sensitive data, lower operational costs, reduce settlement times, and improve transparency. It is a revolutionary technology that can help transform the way financial institutions conduct business and also achieve PCI Compliance by securing data.

How can Blockchain Technology help improve payment card security?

Blockchain Technology offers innumerable benefits that go way beyond just securing data. While most hacks are not just pertaining to the theft of data, but also includes manipulation of data. Moreover, securing data means not just preventing unauthorized access, but also preventing insider threats which are often a greater concern.  Be it a deliberate manipulation or accidental alteration, with Blockchain Technology where the data is scattered, attempts to breach is useless. Moreover, as highlighted earlier with Blockchain Technology, the documenting evidence of all activity is unalterable. Considering that most of the issues related to the security of data are not just theft, but also maintaining the integrity of the data. Blockchain Technology offers high-level security of data with evidenced tracks of all audit records of data accessed.  It, therefore, proves to be the best solution against cybersecurity threats in the current cybersecurity landscape.

Given below are the reasons why Blockchain Technology is considered the best technology for payment card security.

Highly Secure against Vulnerabilities:

Blockchain Technology uses a digital signature to ensure secure transactions online. The digital signature prevents hacking and data theft as a mismatch of signature alerts the entire network. This can further be traced or tracked along the course.  It is therefore considered a disruptive technology, emerged to be an almost full proof technology for countering cybersecurity threats.  

Prevents Cyberattack:

Blockchain Technology makes it impossible or rather extremely hard for systems to be hacked or attacked. Since the Blockchain is decentralized, encrypted, and features digital signature authentication, it ensures the data is well protected and stored. Moreover, blockchain consists of several nodes that make it impossible for the attacker to hack most of the nodes.

Prevents Data Manipulation:

Blockchain is well encrypted and secured thus preventing any unauthorized alteration of data. Encryption of data requires proper validation in the form of a digital signature before allowing a hacker to alter data. So, if in case, someone tries to change the data, all the ledgers on all the nodes in the network need to validate the change.

Provides Secure Data Storage:

Blockchain is the best way to secure the data in a shared community platform. Adopting this technology will prevent attackers from unauthorized accessing and altering sensitive stored data. It secures the data distributed across a network of people. Moreover, the technology helps in keeping sensitive data decentralized and safe. Besides encryption and validation with digital signature ensures the data stored and distributed across the network is safe and unalterable. 

Decentralized System:

Blockchain Technology improves the efficiency of business operations and process. While conventionally you need the approval of regulatory authorities like a government or bank for transactions; with Blockchain, transactions can be done based on the mutual consensus of users. This brings in better efficiency in operation, lower operational costs, reduce settlement times, improve transparency, safer and faster transactions.

Automation of Process:

Blockchain technology facilitates the automation of system processes and operations. It can be programmed in a way to generate systematic actions, events, and payments automatically when the criteria and the trigger match.


Blockchain Technology is a boon to the financial industry. It can be programmed in a specific way, using different mechanisms to secure transactions, protect the data integrity, achieve transparency, and make it accessible to all. With security being paramount today, Blockchain is an advanced technology, poised to secure sensitive data and set a proactive stance against cyber threats. It is indeed a technology suitable for securing sensitive data and achieving compliance for standards such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOC1, and SOC2.

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Narendra Sahoo
Narendra Sahoo

Narendra Sahoo (PCI QPA, PCI QSA, PCI SSF ASSESSOR, CISSP, CISA, CRISC, 27001 LA) is the Founder and Director of VISTA InfoSec, a global Information Security Consulting firm, based in the US, Singapore & India. Mr. Sahoo holds more than 25 years of experience in the IT Industry, with expertise in Information Risk Consulting, Assessment, & Compliance services. VISTA InfoSec specializes in Information Security audit, consulting and certification services which include GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, NESA, MAS-TRM, PCI DSS Compliance & Audit, PCI PIN, SOC2 Compliance & Audit, PDPA, PDPB to name a few. The company has for years (since 2004) worked with organizations across the globe to address the Regulatory and Information Security challenges in their industry. VISTA InfoSec has been instrumental in helping top multinational companies achieve compliance and secure their IT infrastructure.