Blockchain: The Underlying Architecture of Secure IoT Solutions

Andrey Koptelov -
Illustration: © IoT For All

With an avalanche of data privacy scandals unfolding in the past few years, such as those involving Cambridge Analytica, Apple, and, most recently, Avast, the question of personal data management and security is up in the air. The proliferation of consumer IoT devices complicates things even further, with more and more unprotected data up for grabs. When it comes to all this data, blockchain developers are faced with two issues: data privacy and data transparency.

As for transparency, many consumers also wonder how credible labels and manufactures’ claims are in our profit-driven world. How can we be sure that we are not overpaying for insurance? How do we know that the engagement ring we have picked is manufactured ethically, or that piece of clothing we are wearing is not toxic to our body?

Blockchain services may be just the ingredient that the IoT infrastructure has been missing for so long, which could help consumers and regulators finally answer these pressing questions above.

Let’s look at blockchain-based IoT security use cases for consumers and regulators that may help overcome the current IoT issues while becoming the blueprint for safe mass adoption of IoT devices.

For Consumers

Right now, we as consumers can’t know for sure where data is stored, how it’s transferred, and who has access to it. But if we save the logs of all communications with our IoT devices on a blockchain, these logs will be easily auditable for suspicious activity.

Secure Payments with Wearables

According to market research and consulting firm Reports And Data, the global wearable payments device market is expected to grow from US$ 312.4 billion in 2018 to US$ 1,121.01 billion by 2026. No one will argue that paying with your favorite wearable is convenient, but how secure is it?

IoT devices, which are now quickly being transformed into commercial portals offering products and services for sale, still have to process and transfer sensitive financial information. Fintech software development experts are working on perfecting security protocols all the time, and blockchain adoption may finally resolve a lot of concerns for both manufacturers and consumers.

Transparent Food Supply Chain

The demand for transparency and traceability has been steadily growing across food markets around the globe. Currently, most transactions in food tracking systems are paper-based, which is inefficient and unreliable. However, the combination of blockchain and IoT sensors can enable the end user to track how the food was grown, and as the data is gathered on a public blockchain, users can also have full access to it.

For example, Carrefour was one of the first companies to leverage the powerful symbiosis of IoT and blockchain to track food sources. This sufficiently increases customer loyalty, improves quality standards and general food safety.

The Hyperledger Sawtooth blockchain platform has integrated IoT sensors to improve seafood supply chain traceability. By attaching IoT sensors to fish tanks, all telemetry parameters including location, temperature, and humidity are recorded on the blockchain. This way, the end consumer can fully access complete records, which are trustable and accurate by design.

Car Insurance Transparency

Most of us are probably overpaying for car insurance, since it’s based on average estimates. IoT helps calculate insurance premiums and make payments more transparent. How does it work? Wireless devices are plugged into the diagnostic port of a vehicle, which allows activating a “per-mile” usage-based insurance. Combining IoT tech with blockchain applications helps keep all that financial data secure, immutable, and auditable.

For Regulators

One crucial responsibility of regulating bodies is to maintain information about individuals, organizations, activities, and assets. In many countries, data obtained by regulators should also be made public. Unfortunately, in many cases data can be prone to security breaches, fraud, corruption, third-party involvement, etc. Because of the immutable and transparent nature of blockchain, it can change how IoT data is regulated on the governmental level.

Micro Car Insurance

Keeping track of driver records can be a challenging task for regulators. Applications for micro car insurance, such as for those drivers who use cars only 10 days a year, are not just a great way to apply the pay-as-you-go principle to car insurance, but also an asset in keeping track of the driver’s history for regulators.

Blockchain can automate vehicle history monitoring by using IoT sensors as well as improve security by storing acquired data centrally on a blockchain. The history of these insurance deals is saved to the blockchain locally and if you had an accident, there is no way of hiding it. Moreover, the actual mileage and full history of tech checks stored on the blockchain provides the guarantee of uncompromised data for regulators. This way, all types of fraud and corruption can be eliminated.

Data Interoperability

When data is gathered from an IoT device and collected into an old-school database, various agencies that will be making use of this data won’t be able to keep identification information in sync. For example, in the USA, such regulatory bodies as IRS, DHS, and DMV use different identification numbers for the same person on their records. Identity management with the help of a blockchain-based application can allow regulators to centralize this data, keep it in the same format across all organizations, and automate processes.

Author
Andrey Koptelov, Itransition

Contributors
IoT For All
IoT For All
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All. If you're interested in contributing to IoT For All, cli...
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All. If you're interested in contributing to IoT For All, cli...