The evolution of electronics and wireless communication technologies has contributed to the advent of unprecedented developments in our society. The internet of things (IoT) is a relatively new development that is aimed at connecting objects in an environment to a single network. Objects such as vehicles, appliances, and electronic devices can all be connected to a network operated by a user.
The IoT is experiencing rapid development and gathering a lot of attention in specific areas of the industry. Specific aspects of the industry such as smart cities, health monitoring, asset tracking, and environmental monitoring are possible with IoT. However, while it provides a wide range of services, it also poses a challenge of data security and personal privacy vulnerabilities. In most cases, data collected by IoT devices are security conscious and privacy pivotal which can be exposed to cyberattacks and hacking. The current approach employed in IoT technology is centralized which reduces scalability and imposes dependency and trust in centralized organizations.
To ensure security from these vulnerabilities, the blockchain is considered owning to its decentralized and distributed identity. The blockchain approach guarantees integrity that the data remains immutable and secure. Moreover, having a system that guarantees data reliability would allow governments to share and securely transfer information with citizens.
Benefits of blockchain utilization in IoT
There has been a surging interest in aspects of blockchain technologies used for IoT because of the following reasons:
1.Transparency: Participants on the network can easily verify that pre-recorded transactions on the blockchain to ensure that data remains intact. Data stored on the blockchain are time-stamped and immutable which guarantees traceability and transparency.
2. Distributed identity: The distributed attribute of the blockchain ensures that there is no margin for error or a single point of failure. It ensures that data is protected from attacks and IoT device failures.
3. Privacy: Blockchain ensures individual privacy by keeping IoT transactions anonymous. Each transaction performed by an individual is linked to a different public key which makes it impossible to discover the identity of an individual by glancing at the transaction records. Encryption methods, access control, and delayed transactions are other techniques employed to ensure privacy.
4. Reliable record keeping: Records and transactions stored on the blockchain network are reliable. This ensures a permanent transaction history that can be assessed at any point in time. They are also tamper-proof due to the hash linking of the blocks and the distributed consensus mechanism.
5. Smart contracts: A smart contract is a set of computer protocols and algorithms that control the verification and execution of a contract. In IoT, smart contracts prove to be useful in setting negotiation protocols, automate processes and enable communication and transactions among IoT devices.
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Despite the benefits of blockchain application in IoT, its implementation requires a specific design of blockchain that is best suited to IoT technologies. Also, problems such as scalability, high resource consumption, and slow transaction processing cannot be avoided when integrating blockchain with IoT applications.