Myths about blockchain for VAT: energy consumption

Photo by Rodolfo Clix from Pexels. In our previous blogpost we discussed that the scalability issues sometimes attributed to blockchain do not necessarily apply to our invoice reporting system, TX++. That same blogpost brought us to the idea of busting some other myths that are too often brought up when talking about blockchain and VAT. In this first episode of Myths about blockchain for VAT we will show that a blockchain for VAT does not have to require enormous amounts of energy unlike many other blockchain-based systems.

The EU invoice volume and the scalability of our blockchain-based invoice reporting system

Many have emphasised the potential of blockchain technology in the field of taxation and VAT.[1] However, applying blockchain to taxation is often seen as something that is only possible in the long run, mainly because of scalability issues attributed to blockchain technology. In this blogpost, we clarify that the latter statement is not correct given the specific requirements in the field of taxation. We will first analyse the number of invoices sent within the European Union (EU), in order to estimate how many invoices per second an invoice reporting system should be able to process (this was not as easy as it sounds!

An open source software 101 for public officials

@Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash An open source software 101 for public officials In April 2020 the Dutch government announced its support to open source software. State secretary for the Interior Raymond Knops wrote in a letter to the Parliament: “My appeal to public services is to release the source code, unless they have good reasons not to”.[1] The usage of open source software has been increasing within governments all over the world.

Securing Alertmanager’s cluster traffic

@Photo by Pixabay Problem At summitto we use Prometheus for monitoring our infrastructure and Alertmanager for sending alerts. For reliability we wanted to make our monitoring system highly-available, with two Prometheis and Alertmanagers on different machines, which meant that the Alertmanagers needed to be in cluster mode to talk to each other and de-duplicate alerts. This cluster traffic needs to be secured, and since we don’t use any kind of service mesh like Consul or Istio, our initial thought was to use mutual TLS between the Alertmanagers, which we can do fairly easily with our reverse proxy[1], Haproxy.

The cost of cyber attacks

@Photo by Pixabay “Cyber attacks are one of the top 10 global risks of highest concern in the next decade, with an estimated price tag of 90 trillion dollar if cybersecurity efforts do not keep pace with technological change” - World Economic Forum.[1] Over the last couple of years the number of successful cyber attacks has surged. To illustrate this: every 39 seconds a cyber attack occurs in the US.

Git submodules, subtree, and subtrac.

At summitto we get to enjoy dependency management in C++ and more often than not, vendoring things using git submodules is the easiest solution to do this. However, submodules are not without their problems and nicer tools exist. In this blog post we’re going to look at two tools that are supposed to make our lives easier when working with git submodules. The shortcomings Before we start looking at the potential solution, let’s first quickly examine the problem.