Blockchain & IoT: Leveraging Emerging Tech Principles
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


Imagine a world where your fridge can order milk when you're running low, or your car can pay for fuel without you even getting out your wallet. Sounds intriguing, right? Well, this is no longer just science fiction, it’s the real potential at the intersection of blockchain and IoT. Let's dive into this fascinating world together.

What is blockchain?

So, what is blockchain? In simple terms, blockchain is a digital ledger. Imagine a giant spreadsheet that's updated in real time and is available for anyone to see. But instead of being stored in one place, it's spread across thousands of computers around the world. Here's where it gets interesting: once information goes into the blockchain, it's nearly impossible to change or remove. This makes the blockchain incredibly secure and trustworthy. It's like a digital vault that holds valuable information — such as who owns a specific piece of land, or the details of a financial transaction.

Now, let's dive into the specifics:

  • Decentralization: The blockchain isn't controlled by a single entity, such as a bank or government. It's run by a network of computers, also known as nodes. This means no one person or organization has absolute control. It's a team effort.
  • Transparency: Every transaction that happens on the blockchain is visible to everyone on the network. This transparency helps to keep everyone honest. Imagine your friends being able to see every time you borrowed money — you'd probably be more likely to pay it back!
  • Security: Because of its unique structure, it's extremely difficult for hackers to mess with the blockchain. It's like trying to rob a bank that has a guard at every door, window, and even the air vents.

So that's blockchain in a nutshell. Now, let's see how it crosses paths with another cutting-edge technology: the Internet of Things (IoT).

What is IoT?

Now, let's turn our attention to IoT, short for the Internet of Things. You might be wondering, "What on earth is that?" Well, in simple terms, the Internet of Things is all about connecting everyday objects to the internet. It's like giving your toaster or washing machine a mini-brain that can communicate with you and other devices around it.

Think of it like this:

  • Smart Homes: Imagine your alarm clock waking up you up and then automatically telling your coffee maker to start brewing a pot. Or your fridge notifying you when you're running low on eggs. That's IoT at work.
  • Wearable Tech: Devices like fitness trackers and smartwatches that monitor your heart rate or count your steps are part of the IoT. They're everyday objects that can connect to the internet and share information.
  • Connected Cars: More and more vehicles are coming equipped with internet connectivity. This allows them to do everything from providing real-time traffic updates to scheduling their own maintenance.

So, IoT is all about making our lives easier and more efficient. But what happens when it teams up with blockchain? That's where the real magic happens at the intersection of blockchain and IoT.

How blockchain and IoT work together

Here's the exciting part: how blockchain and IoT come together. You might be thinking, "How do these two technologies even relate?" The answer lies in the intersection of blockchain and IoT, where they combine their strengths to create a more secure and efficient world.

Blockchain, with its decentralized nature, offers a secure way to record transactions. This means that every time an IoT device makes a decision or performs an action, it can be recorded on a blockchain. No one can change or delete these records, making everything transparent and easy to trace.

For instance, let's say you have a smart thermostat in your home that's part of the IoT. It adjusts the temperature based on your preferences and the current weather. Each time it makes an adjustment, that information could be stored on a blockchain. If anyone ever questioned why the temperature was set at a certain level, you could point to the immutable record on the blockchain.

So, by combining blockchain and IoT, we can have a system where our devices not only communicate with us and each other but also keep trustworthy records of all their actions. The intersection of blockchain and IoT can, therefore, enhance both security and transparency.

Benefits of integrating blockchain and IoT

Alright, let's dive into the benefits that come from the intersection of blockchain and IoT. This combination isn't just about making cool tech—it has practical benefits that can make life easier and safer.

First off, improved security. Remember how we said blockchain keeps a record of transactions that can't be changed? This makes it really tough for anyone to mess with an IoT device. If someone tried to hack into your smart thermostat, the blockchain would show exactly what they tried to do. As a result, it's easier to prevent and respond to security threats.

Second, there's the benefit of greater transparency. Because everything's recorded on the blockchain, it's easier to understand what's happening with your IoT devices. You can see when they're active, what they're doing, and why they're doing it. This isn't just useful for answering questions about your thermostat—it can also help businesses track how their IoT devices are used.

And let's not forget about the potential for reduced costs. By streamlining the communication between IoT devices and reducing the need for middlemen, the marriage of blockchain and IoT can help companies save money. For example, a business might use an IoT device to track shipments. By storing this information on a blockchain, they could automatically confirm when a shipment arrives and pay the supplier, reducing the need for manual verification and payment processes.

In conclusion, the intersection of blockchain and IoT can lead to enhanced security, greater transparency, and cost savings. Not bad, right?

Real-world examples of blockchain and IoT

Now that we've talked about the benefits, let's look at how this partnership between blockchain and IoT is playing out in the real world. There are some neat examples that show exactly how the intersection of blockchain and IoT can be applied.

First, let's take a look at the food industry. A company named FarmShare uses IoT devices to track food from farm to fork. These devices record everything from the temperature of the food during transport to the time it takes to reach the store. They store all this information on a blockchain. That way, if there's ever a food safety issue, they can track it back to the exact point in the supply chain where things went wrong. Pretty cool, right?

Another example is in the world of energy. Power Ledger, an energy trading platform, uses blockchain and IoT to let people who generate their own power—like with solar panels—sell their excess energy directly to their neighbors. IoT devices track how much energy is being produced and consumed, and the blockchain handles the transactions. This decentralizes power distribution and makes the whole system more efficient.

Last but not least, there's healthcare. For instance, the pharma company MediLedger uses blockchain and IoT to fight counterfeit drugs. IoT devices are used to track drugs from the manufacturer to the pharmacy, and the blockchain ensures that all transactions are secure and transparent. This not only ensures the authenticity of drugs but also helps to prevent theft and misuse.

These real-world examples show the impact of the intersection of blockchain and IoT across various industries. It's exciting to think about what other applications we might see in the future!

Potential challenges and solutions

As we dive deeper into the intersection of blockchain and IoT, it's important to acknowledge that there are some roadblocks. But don't worry—every challenge comes with an opportunity for a solution.

One of the main challenges is scalability. As more devices join the IoT network, the amount of data that needs to be processed and stored on the blockchain increases exponentially. This can slow down the system and make it less efficient. However, developers are actively working on solutions. One approach is called sharding, where the blockchain is divided into smaller pieces, each capable of processing transactions independently. This could massively increase the speed and efficiency of the system.

Another challenge is security. While blockchain is inherently secure due to its decentralized nature, IoT devices can be vulnerable to attacks. One solution is to use advanced encryption techniques and robust security protocols for IoT devices. This could significantly reduce the risk of data breaches and other security issues.

Lastly, there's the issue of interoperability. With so many different IoT devices and blockchain platforms out there, making sure they can all work together seamlessly is a big task. One promising solution is the development of standard protocols and frameworks that ensure compatibility across different platforms and devices.

So yes, there are challenges at the intersection of blockchain and IoT. But remember, great things never came from comfort zones. With continuous innovation and collaboration, we can overcome these obstacles and unlock the full potential of these technologies.

Future of blockchain and IoT

As we peer into the future of the intersection of blockchain and IoT, one thing is clear: this dynamic duo is poised to revolutionize numerous industries in ways we can't even imagine yet.

One area that's set to benefit immensely is supply chain management. Imagine being able to track every product from its origin to your doorstep. Not only the journey but also the conditions it was kept in—temperature, humidity, everything. With blockchain and IoT, this isn't just a dream anymore. It's a reality within our grasp.

Healthcare is another sector that can be transformed. Picture wearable IoT devices that continuously monitor your health stats—heartbeat, blood pressure, sugar levels—and securely store this data on a blockchain. Your doctor can then access this information in real-time, enabling them to make informed decisions about your health.

We're also likely to see a rise in 'smart cities.' These are urban areas where everything—traffic management, waste disposal, water supply—is connected and automated through IoT devices. Blockchain can ensure that the data these devices generate is secure, transparent, and reliable.

As we stand at the cusp of this technological revolution, it’s exciting to imagine the possibilities. But it's not just about the tech—it's about how it can improve our lives. After all, technology is at its best when it serves us, not the other way around.

So, are you ready to be part of this exciting future at the intersection of blockchain and IoT? Stay tuned, because this is just the beginning.

If you're interested in exploring the principles of emerging technology further, consider joining Sara's workshop, 'Unboxing Blockchain.' This workshop will provide you with a deeper understanding of blockchain technology and how it can be leveraged in conjunction with IoT to revolutionize various industries.