Securing IoT devices and ensuring privacy across the network are critical for wide-spread IoT adoption. Although multiple methods have been brought forth by industry experts to solve security and privacy challenges, none seem to offer as comprehensive of a solution as blockchain.
According to research from Gartner, there was a 31 percent growth rate of IoT connected devices between 2016 and 2017. Their calculations predict this growth rate continuing through 2020 reaching 20.4 billion connected devices. The security threat will grow exponentially as the number of connected devices come onboard between now and then. And with no security standards in place, a hodgepodge of mixed IoT devices within a network could put any any security solution at risk where a few bad devices could jeopardize the security of the whole network. After all, it only takes one point of entry to hack the network. This points to an overall issue with the current “centralized model” that supports the billions of smart devices connected to the Internet of Things.
However, blockchain, which is based on a decentralized and distributed model, appears as the most viable alternative available, because it fills in the critical gaps currently faced by the IoT. Here are some of the inherent benefits blockchain could provide that fills the gaps of the current centralized IoT model:
- Blockchain is powered by cryptographic processes
- Blockchain records are secure
- Data flowing from IoT sensors and embedded processors are synchronized
- While blockchain cannot prevent DDoS attacks, it can isolate a device from compromising other endpoints
- Blockchain operates on a peer-to-peer basis
- It has universal application across all industries (it doesn’t discriminate from one industry to the next)
- It produces a tamper-proof record of transactions across the chain of events
Many business leaders from large enterprises have already taken notice of blockchain’s benefits to the IoT. A December 2016 Deloitte Survey on blockchain adoption found that “21 percent of senior executives across a wide range of industries indicated that their firms have already brought blockchain into production, with 25 percent planning to do so within the next year.”
Although hurdles still remain with integrating blockchain into the IoT ecosystem including establishing consensus models and developing computational costs for verifying transactions, it does appear well-positioned to become the backbone that stands-up the Internet of Things for tremendous global growth.