Utilizing blockchains in the Internet of Things

- May 31, 2019-


Introducing blockchains in the Internet of Things will bring advantages to the IoT infrastructure in the following ways:


1. Reduce costs

A blockchain-based network will create decentralized point-to-point connections between IoT devices. The blockchain in the IoT will help handle more data requests using various endpoints than a centralized system. In this way, data storage and computational tasks will be distributed across the blockchain-based network. As a result, organizations can reduce the storage and computational costs that typically occur when running a centralized system.



2. Strengthen data exchange

In general, IoT devices continue to trade data with other devices and systems, and data transactions between different devices and systems can be complex due to security issues and high network latency. However, using the blockchain technology in the Internet of Things, the collected data can be shared using a secure blockchain wallet. By utilizing wallets based on blockchain technology, various IoT sensors and wearable devices can share critical data in encrypted form, while data stored in blockchain wallets can only be accessed by authorized devices and systems, resulting in higher To the extent that the security of the data transaction process is improved.



3, empower smart contract

Blockchain-driven smart contracts have had several application applications in supply chain management, enabling transaction automation to be achieved after meeting predetermined terms. Similarly, blockchain technology in the Internet of Things will leverage the device-to-device interaction capabilities of the Internet of Things to introduce autonomous payment mechanisms. For example, a special device that interacts with an IoT device in a fuel pump in a car can automatically purchase fuel. Upon receipt of the request to purchase fuel, the IoT device at the gas station will verify the vehicle and driver information stored in the vehicle IoT sensor and accurately deduct the corresponding fee automatically.


At the same time, intelligent contracts based on blockchain can also benefit autonomous vehicles. 


Autonomous vehicles can exchange critical information such as traffic information, accident reports, and distances from other cars. In this way, automakers can get more data and improve their road response options. Along with these optimizations and improvements, blockchain technology in the Internet of Things will enhance the security protocols of the Internet of Things ecosystem. The blockchain will provide public and private decentralized networks for secure data storage and data exchange.



4. Use blockchain in the Internet of Things to improve security and privacy

With the increasing popularity of IoT devices, large-scale intelligent device maintenance work will be a very important issue. The application of blockchain technology in the Internet of Things allows distributed networks to encrypt data across the network. This means that if a cybercriminal acquires or changes the contents of a file, the digital signature of the file will be encrypted. The generated original signatures do not match, so that the authenticity and tampering behavior can be recognized. The blockchain network can include a consensus model for detecting malicious activity in the network and mitigating any identified threats. In addition, since data storage and computational tasks will be distributed across multiple nodes on the blockchain, the network will continue to operate effectively even if any node fails.


The blockchain technology empowers the IoT as well: each IoT device can register a unique ID based on the blockchain to help identify each device with accuracy. In order to establish interconnections between devices, the local blockchain wallet can send a digital signature request to the target device. The target device will then verify the signature using the sender's public key. As a result, the authentication required between device interactions can be done without any centralized authorization mechanism.


For maintenance purposes, developers can push encrypted hash-protected software updates as URLs on the blockchain network. To verify the software update, the IoT device can verify the encrypted hash of the update file. In addition, the blockchain in the Internet of Things will enable the system to record metadata to generate an immutable history of IoT processing tasks, maintenance operations, and software updates to ensure regulatory compliance. These records can be shared with key players in the organization as evidence of compliance with all laws and regulations. The blockchain network can be either public or private. Organizations can create a private blockchain network that can only be used by leadership and employees. Such a blockchain network can be combined with an authentication mechanism to control data access. To this end, organizations can deploy blockchain-based smart contracts. Business executives can define terminology for verifying employee details in smart contracts to automate the authentication process.


While blockchain technology in the Internet of Things will make the IoT ecosystem more secure, blockchain technology is not the only cure for the Internet of Things. The introduction of blockchain technology will bring a variety of limitations, such as scalability issues, high processing power and time requirements of encryption algorithms, increased storage necessity and latency issues. With the continuous development of the Internet of Things network, these shortcomings may become more serious. Therefore, developers need to address these limitations before the IoT mainstream uses blockchains. Alternatively, organizations can deploy edge computing solutions to completely avoid problems associated with blockchains. Through edge calculations, all IoT data is stored on the nodes to reduce latency and protect the data of the device itself. In this way, cloud and device interactions will only be used in the necessary scenarios and increase the overall speed of IoT data processing.