Thanks to the blockchain, we can begin to verify that our personal data won’t be forged or hacked.
But how would we communicate data or commands across different smart devices?
Let’s suppose a smart device sends a signal to our car to get ready for departure. The smart device would create a transaction to the blockchain of the main manager control (the information blockchain). The main manager first needs to corroborate that the device triggering the message is actually part of our smart home, and quarantines the message as pending. It then starts the consensus mechanism -- let’s call it ‘Proof of Trust’ -- which verifies the transaction and confirms the smart device identity.
Once the consensus has been achieved, the block that contains the transaction is added to the main manager blockchain, and the data is released from quarantine. The message is then relayed to the car to prepare for departure.
Now that the transaction validates and confirms the identity of the smart device, a trustworthiness reward is issued on trust currency. With time, the smart device becomes a trusted member of the system. Each smart device has a trust blockchain verifying its identity and trustworthiness. These blockchains are used in the main manager Information blockchain to provide a way to confirm and validate the transactions triggered by the smart device.
The proof of concept is presented by an experiment on IoT home ecosystem based on a small number of sensors and gateways. Our experiment showed the trustworthiness increase of the devices by way of frequent data transactions and command executions of the smart home daily processes.
The experiment also suggested the main conflict in the IoT/blockchain space: that even though the technology is promising, we still need to reduce the computational resources and time on calculating the proof of trust. Perhaps it’s helpful to imagine each smart device as actual humans to illustrate the concept of individual identity management and privacy. People gain trust in one another over time and direct interaction, based on building a rapport and cooperating towards common goals – or simply by spending time together. But save all the complicating factors that accompany human relationships, we hope that society’s trust in their devices won’t be so meandering.
Our research was presented at SPIE 2018 conference by Dr. Irak Mayer with a grant from ICF. A more in-depth explanation of the system can be found at “Blockchain of trust on a M2AP IoT architecture” presented at the SPIE 2018 conference.