July 25, 2018
Last week, Distributed 2018 a global conference, organized for the purpose of bringing Eastern and Western blockchain initiatives together, concluded on a more realistic note. Experts from Hyperledger, Oracle, IBM and World Economic Forum, made it clear that even though the technology has become a buzzword in the tech sphere, its real world applications would be more subtle yet more effective.
As Brian Behlendorf from Hyperledger says, “Blockchains are not a faster way to do anything.” He added, “They’re a technical solution to what is really a market structure problem.”
It was clear that most of the conference’s expert speakers were trying to manage the expectations of the cryptocurrency enthusiasts, closing in on to the real and more contemporary solutions that the technology can contribute to.
It was a positive experience for all the genuine tech-enthusiasts who explored more relevant areas of Blockchain applications that would have a more direct impact on their respective businesses.
In the same vein, Nelson Petracek, the Global Chief Technology Officer at a high-tech business solution provider wrote a descriptive report with Forbes on how Blockchain can help improve the persisting IoT conundrum.
We know now that IoT is not going anywhere for the foreseeable future. In fact, in the IoT Barometer survey conducted by Vodafone, showed that 74% of respondents from 1,278 enterprises and public sector executives who have adopted IoT technologies have stated that connected devices will be an inevitable part of the digital world’s future. Therefore, it is indeed important to take some security precautions before IoT reaches its potential. It is no wonder that money spent oncybersecurity IoT is predicted to reach $6 billion by the year 2023.
The mind-boggling amount doesn’t seem so ludicrous when we take into account that the security implementation of IoT has to be made on various different levels. Petracek categorizes these levels into four layers as device control, software control, network protection, and man-in-the-middle attack prevention.
He further adds that Blockchain can play a crucial role on improving security measures on all these levels. He explains that Blockchain is not the silver bullet to cure all the IoT-related security concerns, nevertheless, a blockchain model that is cryptographically secured, distributed, and immutable can clearly enhance the IoT’s security capabilities.
It is clear indeed that a distributed consensus-based hashed system of blockchain will eradicate most of the man-in-the-middle attacks and unauthorized access issues. Besides, blockchain will also pave the way for simplifying the automation of various IoT-enabled processes by employing cryptographically secured smart contracts. The other areas of IoT applications, where Blockchain can bring significant improvements, include analytical model training, secure software updates, and uninterrupted payments and micropayments.
Petracek concludes his report by shedding light again to the more realistic approach towards blockchain. He states, “In spite of all this potential, applying blockchain to IoT is not a cure-all. Current performance and scalability limitations are incompatible with many IoT functions. External data must be incorporated via trusted oracles”; oracles being the entities that bring data from the real world into blockchain. He concludes “Blockchain is not the answer to everything that ails IoT, but it can play a powerful role in solving some serious issues. It won’t save IoT, but it might just improve it.”
It is truly encouraging to see this divergence in the industry. Without it, the powerful technology might have died an immature death due to failed unrealistic expectations. Blockchain is a very promising technology, but to use it properly we have to maintain a steady focus on solving existing complex problems, instead of jumping to the conclusions whose only aim is the economic benefit. Explore more applications of Blockchain in security here to get more realistic with the possibilities in the ‘digital future’.