The Internet of Things (IoT) might sound like a vague, opaque term, but that’s exactly the point for this exploding industry. In its simplest form, the Internet of Things is a generalized term for technology that enables one smart device to communicate with another.
The IoT industry has developed to the point where it can elevate even mundane household items to another level — there are currently IoT-enabled fitness trackers for your dog’s collar, smart toasters that let you know when your food has been thoroughly toasted and even smart mirrors that display on-demand workouts and show fitness statistics. The only thing left to do is to combine IoT with another buzzy tech sector: Blockchain.
We’re in luck: Below are 10 examples of how Internet-of-Things companies are using blockchain to make the world a better-connected place.
IoT Blockchain Companies
- Xage Security
IoT Blockchain Examples
Location: San Francisco, California
How it uses Blockchain in IoT: Helium is a decentralized machine network. The company uses blockchain to connect low-power IoT machines (like routers and microchips) to the internet. Helium’s blockchain-based wireless internet infrastructure uses radio technology to strengthen internet connection and drastically reduce the power needed to run “smart” machines.
Location: Palo Alto, California
How it uses Blockchain in IoT: Xage is the first blockchain-protected security platform for IoT. Focusing on industrial applications for industries like agriculture, energy, transportation and utilities, Xage’s blockchain enables IoT devices to be tamper proof and have access to secure lines of communication between smart objects.
Location: Austin, Texas
How it uses blockchain in IoT: Grid+ specializes in making hardware for cryptocurrency and digital assets. The company bills its GridPlus Lattice1 and SafeCard as ultra-secure hardware wallets that let people use crypto with safety and ease of use in mind. With Lattice1, users can access human-readable signing for smart contracts and a Zigbee antenna lets it connect to other IoT and smart devices.
Location: Seattle, Washington
How it uses blockchain in IoT: Atonomi describes itself as “a universal trust environment,” using blockchain technology to facilitate security for IoT-connected devices. The company’s solution features device identity validation on an immutable ledger, reputation tracking to detect device anomalies and the ability for transactions to occur between validated devices regardless of their manufacturer. It can be used for smart cities, industrial applications, healthcare, smart homes and autonomous vehicles.
Location: Berlin, Germany
How it uses blockchain in IoT: IOTA considers its network known as Tangle to be the “backbone of IoT,” with distributed ledger technology for “tamper-proof data, feeless micro transactions and low resource requirements.” IOTA’s Industry Marketplace also supports industrial IoT with automated trading of data, goods and services. Other industries the company’s distributed ledger can provide solutions for include global trade and supply chains and customs and border management.
Location: Zug, Switzerland
How it uses blockchain in IoT: The RIZON blockchain is a digital currency and asset hub that uses the Tendermint engine and Cosmos Inter-Blockchain Communication Protocol. Rizon’s services include supporting internet of things business, offering features like instant asset exchange and horizontal scalability. In its 2022 overview, the company explained its blockchain is meant to “enable interoperability between sovereign blockchain networks and allowing for an environment for these networks to utilize a vast pool of liquidity.”
Location: San Francisco, California
How it uses blockchain in IoT: IoTeX has developed a blockchain-based platform that connects data and smart devices to blockchain dApps. The company’s product Ucam is the “world’s first blockchain home security camera,” combining blockchain and IoT to ensure users have secure access to footage captured in and around their homes. There’s also Pebble, which “is a secure, battery-operated, cellular-IoT prototyping platform designed for blockchain-based applications” for mobile asset tracking, process automation and more.
Location: San Francisco, California
How it uses blockchain in IoT: Guardtime’s KSI Blockchain is a full-stack platform for building zero-trust security applications that can be used by governments and enterprises to guarantee the integrity of data and systems. One of the company’s research focuses is developing blockchain-based solutions for supply chain and IoT challenges.
Location: Irvine, California
How it uses blockchain in IoT: SmartAxiom uses blockchain technology to secure IoT devices. The company’s technology allows for keyless, peer-based authentication, as well as protection against various cyber attacks and unauthorized device access. In January 2022, SmartAxiom received a U.S. patent for technology “that enables the use of blockchains on devices in the Internet-of-Things (IoT),” which the company said builds on a previous patent related to IoT security.
Location: Cologne, Germany
How it uses blockchain in IoT: The UBIRCH Trust Platform can be integrated with Internet of Things platforms to create what the company calls a “chain of trust,” which means that as IoT data is captured, blockchain and cryptography technologies are used to ensure that data cannot be altered. UBIRCH’s solutions can be used for medical devices, smart cities, supply chain transparency and document certification.
Cybersecurity Concerns in IoT
As the Internet of Things expands, so too do the concerns for data integrity and individual privacy. Several logical vulnerabilities in IoT devices can figuratively, and sometimes literally, open doors for cybercriminals. Hackers are able to take advantage of easy passwords, exposed IP addresses and public serial numbers that allow a criminal to take full advantage of any device.
There have been dozens of nightmarish cases reported due to the current lackluster IoT cybersecurity protocols. In one instance, hackers gained access to the camera of a baby monitor and were able to see and listen to everything going on within range. Another cybersecurity mishap occurred when a casino’s high-roller database was compromised through the hacking of a smart thermometer in the hotel’s aquarium.
Benefits of Blockchain in IoT
One of the most attractive characteristics of blockchain, in any industry, is its ability to secure data and thwart cyber attacks. Blockchain is a Distributed Ledger Technology that is transparent but completely encrypted.
A blockchain consists of small amounts of data locked down with encryptions. When these “blocks” are “chained” together, members (or nodes) of the specific blockchain can easily view all data. For example, a retail company can store the credit card information of 50 of its customers in one block. The information is chained together to give only the store a bigger picture look at purchases. Instead of a potential hacking of the data of millions from a central database, blockchain’s decentralized chains help to keep the security risks to an absolute minimum by parceling off information.
Any changes to a blockchain are also made transparent. Each member on a chain is given a unique code that personally identifies them, but the name behind the code is not released. However, all nodes are able to see any new additions to the chain and can pinpoint malicious behavior by a specific code to quickly thwart cyber attacks.
The main security advantage of a decentralized ledger is that if hackers somehow enter a chain, they're able to receive only a miniscule amount of data before the other nodes on the chain realize there has been a breach. Combining this decentralized security system with a transparent ledger gives blockchain the upper-hand in cybersecurity.
Blockchain can also make the IoT industry faster. With a peer-to-peer model, making payments and executing contracts are easier. Blockchain-based smart contracts eliminate the need for a third-party and approve or disapprove of an agreement almost immediately, saving countless hours and millions of dollars each year.
Distributed Ledger Technology has the potential to give the IoT industry — from fitness trackers to smart cities — the boost it needs to become a trillion-dollar industry.