The internet of things or IoT connects billions of devices through the internet to automate networks. Works great but with roughly around 15 billion IoT devices and with that number rising higher every day the current security of blockchains isn’t enough. Here is where the integration of blockchains can turn out to be extremely beneficial.
If you aren’t too sure of what blockchains are and want to know more about them take a look at it here: https://www.robocraze.com/index.php/blog/what-is-blockchain.html.
Security for IoT devices is extremely important as now almost every device is connected to the internet and an attack such a DoS (Denial of Service) would prove fatal. If you don’t think that is a problem, just imagine all the cardiac sensors in a hospital going off, self-driving cars losing signal on a busy highway or Amazon Alexa unable to tell you the weather today.
Blockchains would have data stored in cryptographically hashed secured immutable blocks which is extremely difficult for an attacker to tamper with. In addition to this, blockchains create a network where non-trusting members can interact with each other without a trusted intermediary which accomplishes two things, first, without an intermediary there would be significant cost reductions and more importantly the lack of a central authority would prevent distributed DoS attacks as well as making it difficult for any one person to take down the entire network or corrupt it.
Another addition to this integration between blockchains and IoT is smart contracts. What are smart contracts? To put it in simple terms, within the blockchain context smart contracts are scripts stored on the blockchain. The contract allows us to express business logic in code. Smart contracts automate the IoT transactional work and thus allow for IoT to do the right amount of work required at the right time.
Though I may have made blockchains sound like the solution to all your problems, they aren’t without their issues. The main issue when deploying IoT with blockchain is speed. Compared to a properly configured centralized database, a blockchain solution will generally underperform and result in lower transaction processing throughput with higher latencies. This problem is even more pronounced when in public networks where proof-of-work mechanisms are deployed.
Companies are gradually beginning to roll out IoT and blockchain integrations, for example, slock.it is a system that works on electronic locks. These locks can only be unlocked by certain devices that carry the needed token which can be bought from its public blockchain network. Now the owner can rent out his/her property and interested parties can pay the requested amount in form of the tokens (Ethers) and then communicate with the lock via signed messages. This also makes billing simpler as all the locks (Slocks) are on the same blockchain.
The combination of blockchains and IoT can prove to be extremely powerful. Though they come with the issue of slower transactional power, one would argue that this performance hit could be seen as a tradeoff for trustless decentralization and resiliency. When we bring the IoT ecosystem and blockchains together, we can bring about transformations across several industries. Blockchains for IoT builds trust, reduces costs and even accelerates transactions.