The active implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT) in everyday life faces a number of problems, the success of which will determine the mass and availability of this promising concept. First of all, it is the provision of global and secure scaling of the IoT system and the speed of interaction of its constituent devices. Not less breakthrough technology - Blockchain can solve them.
Decentralization + blockchain = trust
Implementing the broad capabilities of the Internet of Things through centralized networks has shown the complexity and poor scalability of this process. At the same time, security issues in individual systems become more important than the speed and response of a “smart” device. With the advent of blockchain technology, it became possible to solve a number of “narrow” spots that impede the implementation of IoT.
Without going into technical details, we recall that blockchain technology is a DLT technology, through which users can create, write and read any type of information without the risk of removing it and editing it by third parties. A blockchain (“block chain”) is a journal with facts that replicates to several devices combined into a peer-to-peer network (P2P), and any types of data can be facts. Such data stored on the blockchain is verified by special miner programs.
Today, the digital world is beginning to gradually move away from the model of interaction with the center in the cloud to a decentralized one, where everyone is users, smart devices, robots, business, the state, etc. will be connected between themselves.
And the main thing for them will be the question of trust that the blockchain can provide. In the blockchain there is no centralized control or any other way of interfering with its work. Unlike a typical database hosted on a centralized server that is owned by a person (a company or a particular person), the blockchain is distributed among a large number of network users. And the main thing here is that none of them individually can control it.
Although there is nothing new in the decentralization of the network with peer devices, the blockchain is interesting in that it is able to solve the problems of coordination using the proof-of-work algorithm using blocks. In technical terms, the blockchain relies on “three whales”: distribution P2P networks, asymmetric cryptography and distributed consensus.
The use of blockchain technology makes it possible to quickly and securely save exchange protocols and the results of the joint operation of various devices in a decentralized system. The distributed architecture of the blockchain guarantees high security. If a part of the network devices is subject to hacking, it will not affect the operation of the entire system.
Some experts believe that the use of blockchain technology will create a revolution in IT, similar to the invention of the Internet, and together with IoT they will become the main drivers of development of most sectors of the global economy. Today, serious money is invested in development based on the blockchain, since there is an economic incentive - the blockchain gives you the opportunity to abandon centralized intermediaries who provide trust between the participants of the system, and this is a very significant savings. The trust in the blockchain is based on the fact that it fixes the sequence of operations in time and protects them from manipulation.
To make the concept of IoT a mass one, it needs secure P2P networks that can reliably transfer information between all devices and participants. And the more they will be, the more significant will be the recorded result of their interaction, for example, accurate identification of ecosystem objects, tracking their stories on the network, etc. That is, any data on the communication of each device with other objects will be recorded in its individual blockchain
As the number of network devices grows, the servers through which they exchange data become the “weak link” both in terms of productivity and reliability. Today, only blockchain technology can guarantee the stable performance of the entire constantly scalable IoT system, while ensuring the security and authenticity of the information. Therefore, it is not surprising that the first application of the blockchain on the Internet of Things was data security.
The hacking of databases and DNS attacks that have become frequent all over the world, leading to a temporary absence of the Internet, the use of smart devices as bots in DDoS attacks prompted a rethinking of the safe operation of IoT systems and the blockchain played an important role here.
Thanks to the distributed registry technology, it became possible to create the highest level of security on the network today, and to do away with the existing restrictions associated with centralization, and in fact with the risks that it carries for IoT.
The use of “smart” devices that work in IoT systems by botnets has become possible due to their poor security. The distributed type of trust relationship allows you to get rid of the "broken" device without affecting the whole model of interaction between "healthy" objects.
Also, if the IoT network is quite extensive and scattered, there are often interruptions in communication with the main server. Network decentralization and blockchain make it possible to establish feedback with it through another device. Thus, the decentralized architecture will help to level critical situations, while simultaneously providing standard device protocols for recognition and communication between them.
And this is only the beginning ...
If we talk about the practical implementation of a bunch of blockchain technology and IoT, then in the last two or three years there has been a steady interest in solutions using the distribution register. The leader here is the banking and financial sector, which is starting to invest in P2PE to protect the integrity of payments and bank card data. Several of the world's leading banks even created a consortium of “R3” to develop solutions for the banking sector based on blockchain technology, and last year they were presented with a project for financial services Corda.
In addition to financial, there are still quite a few areas where the use of blockchain technology will facilitate the active introduction of the Internet of things. This, in particular, the fight against cyber fraud, authentication management, verification of the performance of various services, logistics, data security and more. Today, many companies have already presented several solutions to improve IoT-systems using the blockchain. For example, Alibaba’s “monster” of Internet commerce, in collaboration with several companies, is developing solutions to counter counterfeit products. Bosch to prevent fraud in auto insurance has implemented a solution that verifies the mileage of the car's speedometer. And IBM together with the largest sea carrier Maersk launched a pilot project on the use of blockchain technology in the cross-border chain of global sea supplies.
At the same time, IoT itself contributes to the implementation of the blockchain, for example, in the area of registration of property rights or contracting. It should be noted that individual countries are ready to work on the introduction of a new blockchain-based election system as an experiment. It is believed that this will increase their transparency and make any manipulations impossible.
Many more examples can be cited, but in reality the possibilities of using distributed registry technology on the Internet of Things are very extensive and new solutions are emerging every day and will appear in the most unexpected areas. And, of course, the blockchain technology is still far from its peak of development, and in the field of IoT it is completely at the initial stage. However, the combination of these technologies, as they are implemented, will soon radically change the architecture of most of the existing IT ecosystems. Everything goes to the fact that their development will increasingly connect various spheres of human activity with “smart” devices. Therefore, it is very important that this connection is reliable, safe and really useful for users.