One of the Forrester research predictions for IoT in 2017 is the marriage of IoT with Blockchain which could resolve all the potential security threats & vulnerabilities of IoT. Blockchain was originally designed for financial applications like virtual currency (Bitcoins). However, experts predict that its application in another area like IoT can offer an immense secure advantage.
Blockchain technology – that highly disruptive online general ledger or database – is poised to recast the Internet of Things, opening it up to networks and partnerships to accelerate its value. Blockchain “may have the most impactful potential of the entire portfolio of disruptive technologies that are now emerging.” That’s because blockchain is likely to impact many aspects of business operations and strategies – such as business models, processes, supply chains and customer relationships. The Internet of Things, in particular, is an initiative will see a re-arrangement due to the blockchain.
The definition of blockchain is in its ability to digitally deliver “peer-to-peer value exchange.” Security and verifiability are inherently protected through its “globally distributed computations and heavy duty encryption — that ensure the integrity of the data traded among billions of devices without going through a trusted third party. Trust is hard-coded into the Blockchain platform and the platform acts as a ledger of accounts, a database, a notary, a sentry and clearing house, all by consensus.
Here is the picture of a typical Blockchain transaction
How can Blockchain be used in IoT?
In an IoT network, the blockchain can keep an immutable record of the history of smart devices. This feature enables the autonomous functioning of smart devices without the need for centralized authority. Thus, the blockchain opens the door to a series of IoT scenarios that were remarkably difficult, or even impossible to implement without it.
By leveraging the blockchain, IoT solutions can enable secure, trustless messaging between devices in an IoT network. In this model, the blockchain will treat message exchanges between devices like financial transactions in a bitcoin network. To enable message exchanges, devices will leverage smart contracts which then model the agreement between the two parties.
In this scenario, we can sensor from afar, communicating directly with the irrigation system to control the flow of water based on conditions detected on the crops. Similarly, smart devices in an oil platform can exchange data to adjust functioning based on weather conditions.
Using the blockchain will enable true autonomous smart devices that can exchange data, or even execute financial transactions, without the need of a centralized broker. This type of autonomy is possible because the nodes in the blockchain network will verify the validity of the transaction without relying on a centralized authority.
PAASMER is one of the few platforms that already has a working prototype implementation of Blockchain for IoT. Production & commercial usage of this implementation is slated for general availability in PAASMER within the next couple of years.