For any observant follower of today’s technology trends, it is obvious that two concepts are very prevalent and common place in most discussion forums, these are Internet of Things and Blockchain Technology. The implication of this is that the future of technology revolves heavily around these two concepts if current technological interest is anything to go by.

Let's just have a quick look on IoT, before going forward with the blockchain part...

The Internet of Things (IoT)

What is referred to as the Internet of Things? The underlying principle of this idea revolves around connectivity, connecting the various components of modern technology which are referred to as ‘things’ i.e. sensors and transmitters, gyroscopes, wearable devices, GPS and location trackers and so on. The scope of Internet of things exceeds just the connection of communication devices and extends into data sharing between even people and machines and vice versa. With the advent of sovereign or independent data sharing, many procedures will experience a rapid rise in productivity and effectiveness. Factories like manufacturing plants and assembly lines that require high mechanical efficiency will benefit tremendously from the internet of things.

Despite all the potential benefits existing with the utilization of the Internet of Things, there are also possible disadvantages in the area of security. Any connected systems in any form such as cloud-based technology and the internet are vulnerable to attacks by hackers and malware, this poses a risk to any device connected to the Internet of Things as any data stored or transferred can easily be compromised by malicious users.

Can Blockchain ‘block’ IoT attackers?

Blockchain is basically a database of transactions that is used by all the nodes participating in a system with a history of every transaction ever carried out at any point. Each block has a hash (a type of digital signature) of the former block, a chain of blocks are therefore created from the first block (genesis block) to the present block. Each block will definitely come after the previous one in a chronological order, and the former block’s hash will be unknown, this makes it almost impossible to alter the data contents once it is in the chain because every block after it would have been changed, Blockchain technology has been successfully applied in the bitcoin system to prevent double spending.

It stands to reason that the security of Blockchain technology should be integrated with the internet of things to provide security for data stored and shared, however, there is a challenge in that Blockchain technology requires a lot of data storage, complete transaction histories have to be stored which some small devices on the Internet of Things may not have the capacity to hold.

Tweaking Blockchain technology to be adaptable for the Internet of Things

To find a way around the challenges of having to incorporate Blockchain technology into IoT, a new system of data security has recently been created which is known as holochain, holochain technology is quite similar to blockchain, it is a system in which every node has a resilient sample of with Independent Hash chains which provide uncompromisable data integrity and particular time sequences, it also uses Distributed Hashtable where cryptographic hashes are utilized for content addressable storage, and interactions are randomized. The data storage space requirements for holochain are less because it is not necessary to store the whole data on each node. A separate data storage for Blockchain is also under design in which data blocks are being created more frequently than the current ten-minute interval being used by Blockchain, this is necessary for IoT due to the large volume of transactions happening every second.

Originally published at on July 8, 2017.

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