Application of Blockchain in IoT Sector

Autonomous Decentralized Peer-to-Peer Telemetry

In 2015, the International Business Machines Corporation released the Proof of Concept (PoC) for a Decentralized Peer-to-Peer Telemetry System (DePT) that is autonomous in its functionality in order to utilize blockchain’s ability to perform smart contracts on the verification of transactions [23].

The objective of DePT is to execute and administer a localized, distributed, safe, independent, expandable and powerful architecture for IoT that does not contain singular vulnerable failure functions. The suggested architecture makes use of the TeleHash protocol for peer-to-peer data transfer and BitTorrent as the mechanism for distributed sharing. This suggested system endeavors to solve several issues pertaining to the traditional IoT systems concerning privacy, failure points, safety regarding centralized entity and problems introduced due to human interference. An autonomous decentralized telemetry system also aims to proffer user and data protection, identification management and the peer-controlled access to data.

A major void that exists with regards to its implementation is that this system is a Proof of Concept (PoC) and hence it needs testing and development to determine its dependability pertaining to safety and functioning efficacy.

Blockchain-Enabled Security for Smart Cities

A multitude of challenges regarding the problems faced during data sharing from heterogeneous applications occurs due to the non-existence of a universal protocol for smart devices in a traditional environment. This further hampers their integration and the provision for cross-functionality characteristics. Examining the synopsis of a security system based on blockchain for reliable transmission among smart city units presented in Muthukkumarasamy and Biswas [24] states that smart cities aiming to provide a shared environment for secure transmission require integration of its devices with blockchain. Furthermore, an incorruptible log of transfers will be available for auditing purposes due to the use of blockchain in such a system.

At present, there does not seem to be a computational inclusive quantitative and qualitative analysis of blockchain-enabled smart city entities; however, it is quite ambiguous which platform, transaction technique or consensus protocol will be the most suitable for efficient implementation.

Blockchain-Enabled Smart Home Architecture

A safe, personal and lightweight framework for Smart Home Applications based on blockchain has been advocated by A. Dorri, S. Kanhere and R. Jurdak in [25] and [26]. What we need to understand here is that a Smart Home blockchain differs from a traditional Bitcoin blockchain in a multitude of ways. The owner operates the smart home blockchain alone as opposed to in bitcoin and hence, the owner has complete control over the transactions inside his Smart Home. Furthermore, it also proffers limited access to IoT data that guarantees information integrity, availability and confidentiality and also safeguards against DDoS threats. A blockchain-enabled Smart Home architecture intends to solve other challenges like the strenuous computations, latent transaction verification and power consumption through imitating Proof Of Work (PoW) in the process of block mining. The suggested framework makes use of cloud storage space to reduce the strain of memory necessities on smart home appliances.

There are a number of problems when it comes to the implementation of a Blockchain-enabled Smart Home. The distinguishing feature of blockchain is its distributed network but in a smart home environment, the Home-Miner or the owner solely has control over the entire network. This introduces a single juncture failure at both the Home-Miner level and the cloud storage space level. Secondly, the absence of a verification mechanism on a consensus basis as the home-miner has complete control. Furthermore, if the home-miner itself is malicious or corrupted, then the integrity of the transactions cannot be determined. Also, in this case, the home-miner determines if a new block will be added whereas, in the conventional blockchain, it is a consensus decision.

Blockchain-Based Self-Managed VaNeTs

In order to address the challenges posed by a centralized traditional Vehicle Ad-Hoc Network (VaNeT), such as the single juncture failure and vulnerability toward attackers and reduced user privacy, Leiding [ 18] has advocated for a distributed Self- Managing VaNeT based on Ethereum Blockchain that has a challenge-response verification mechanism. The entire framework is run by appliances based on Ethereum that administer the regulations for proffering a multitude of sendees. The identification mechanism for every node is its Ethereum address. Each node makes a payment in ethers if it intends to use any Ethereum-based service which in turn becomes a funding mechanism for the network platform. This funding provides the necessary incentive for various merchants to continue manufacturing such applications and services based on Ethereum. Such an Ethereum account has the potential to make self- operating transactions; for insurance, registration and fines in case of violation of traffic rules.

A number of dilemmas are still unanswered pertaining to this suggested framework such as—What kind of data will be visible on the blockchain, Who will be mining the said block, What shall be the mechanism for V2V transmission and the inherent latency in it. An important point to be noted is that latency is an intrinsic characteristic of the blockchain technology but in traffic and road situations, realtime information is of paramount significance for nodes connected to a VaNeT.

Security and Privacy of Data

Nathan and Zyskind [27] propose a data management prototype for a distributed network that provides protection and safeguard measures on problems related to data proprietorship, transparency and auditability. Ethos is a bitcoin-based system for transmission of personal information manufactured by Viral Communications, MIT Media Lab [28]. Ethos’s compatibility for its use in IoT systems is something that presently still needs evaluation. A distributed computational protocol named Enigma has also been developed with the purpose of preserving privacy [29]. Enigma further allows very limited access to the entire data by its nodes through the deployment of a multi-entity computation that has a secret-sharing validation protocol. This type of system has the added advantage of decentralized storage and reduced memory necessity for embedded devices.

For its efficacious execution in IoT systems, Enigma still necessitates analyses for the overhead transmission and computation. It is important that any solution for decentralized computation and safe data transmission are in accordance with the respective country’s law for wireless communication since most of the IoT devices transmit through wireless media only. Even though such decentralized computational schemes seem quite efficacious, their productivity with respect to bandwidth efficiency still requires evaluation. In conclusion, any future data transmission and sharing systems based on blockchain should keep in mind these shortcomings.

Conclusion and Future Scope of Work

Technologies such as blockchain have disrupted the entire fintech market and even though it has created a lot of controversies, the technology is going to get more and more integrated into our lives. The advantages of integrating blockchain with IoT should hence be assessed very carefully and with the utmost caution, because without determining its risks and applying it in situations where the costs do not overpower the improvements is an easy trap to fall into. This chapter summarizes the challenges that come with blockchain and IoT and hence collective work must be done in order to address these problems. We have also been able to identify where this technology has the potential to enhance IoT applications.

Furthermore, we have provided a feasibility check on using the blockchain technology with IoT appliances where existing frameworks have been analyzed, conditions for future solutions identified and the current scenario of the blockchain- IoT paradigm exhaustively addressed. Moreover, special caution has been put on the need for future solutions to be contingent with the respective country’s laws. This integration of technologies should hence become part of the government’s framework which would subsequently speed up interactions with citizens as well.

The dual aspect of data integrity and framework supervision is of utmost importance. The privacy of users and security concerns affect how the citizens will perceive this integration. The challenges of storage space, scalability and consensus protocols will play an integral role in how this process moves forward. This integration of IoT devices with blockchain technology is bound to exponentially increase the applications and use of blockchain and establish its prominence at a similar level as in the current fiduciary money market.

References

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