Decentralize Your Home — And Why — A Cursory Tour…
A sensory soup of blockchain that’s peppered with the “Internet of Things”, “Artificial intelligence” and the “Cloud”. But how do these ingredients work together and how do we know sweet taste doesn’t cover up a poisonous bitterness that may lurk underneath it all when excluding just one of the flavors? A cursory overview of the Big Three — a digital block that propels us into the future.… safely… on the blockchain!??
I remember watching my Grandfather writing numbers into a tall blue book. The numbers represented the family’s monthly income and expenses. The numbered pages in the ledger had black horizontal lines that were broken up vertically in 3 columns. As his pen moved skillfully across the page, he noted date, income and expenses and an explanation. Sometimes the numbers on that page would cause a deep wrinkle between his eyes while he tallied his entries. That was my Grandfathers’ ledger.
Today’s ledger, the blockchains’ digital ledger, is invisible. It misses the scent of leather bound and you can’t touch it. But the principle in which the blockchain is being used, at least in its’ most basic form, is comparable with a leather bound ledger.
Flavor 1: The Digital Ledger Database and How it works:
The blockchain consists of ordered blocks that are linked together. Within an ordered block each transaction makes a row of data which could be compared to the entries in a notebook or in Excel.
Block Digital Header Hash Is Not The Same As The Transaction ID
But unlike saving a file in Excel, each new block — the file — is immediately marked with a block header. The header includes the cryptographic hash from the previous block thus, linking the blocks together. This block header includes the timestamp for the date and time when the transaction or entry occurred, the type of transaction, and the previous block transaction. By hashing the block header twice, using a special algorithm, a transaction ID (TXID) is created.
The New Block IS Added To The Chain Going Forward In History…
After the block is verified across computers/stake holders — also known as the Consensus network — the issued transaction ID (TXID) helps you find, identify, or cross reference a transaction. Like the block header — the TXID is the hash of all previously encrypted transactions performed on the blockchain, including the information that’s added to the new block. History matters —the chain grows out of its’ history! A genius way to keep the blockchain safe from being corrupted in any way.
My Grandfather kept his ledger safe, locked up away from prying eyes. But how can you be assured that your information is protected from bad actors, trying to steal or alter what’s written or programmed electronically on the blockchain?
For one thing, on the decentralized blockchain, you save your data multifold over an entire network of computers, also called nodes. As mentioned above, each node verifies the new entry’s integrity by checking the hash headers from previous blocks. Security further enhances by dividing your information into separate smaller manageable self contained packages (blocks) (i.e. name, address, profession, drivers’ liscense number— or in case of IoTs: a TXID hash (transaction ID) for each of your devises you’ve installed in and around your home or car.
You can access each package or IoT devise securely with a unique address or signature TXID (numbers and letters ). The beauty of this is that you will never need a password that can be hacked. These are the naturally occurring security features of the blockchain.
Compared to a centralized solution on the cloud, where only one entity (admin — computer) protects your data, saving the same data throughout many computers (nodes), prevents a “single point of failure”. Proof of transaction records are visible for all parties involved on the network— or in case when using a public blockchain — for everyone who asks.
Comparing my Grandfathers ledger with the blockchain ends here — knowing that my GrandMother — functioning as the consensus protocol — validated the numbers by skeptically checking his meticulously summarized and beautifully hand written entries.
Employing a multitude of computer nodes to validate each transaction, then binding the transaction to a unique address (numbers and letters ) that can be accessed by humans or AI (artificial intel) technology — thus creates the basis of a secure peer to peer or M2M (Machine to Machine) network. To widen the possibilities the Blockchain is further enhanced due to smart contracts written in programming language.
Smart contracts are as pliable as a child’s “PlayDough” or are put together like “Legos”. These contracts allow developers to build a wide range of decentralized apps, such as finance (DeFi), new crypto tokens, games… identify credentials ( personal info) or identify and authenticate IoT devices to actualize or initialize code for a given purpose.
The Blockchain eradicates the password that’s still commonly used to manage IoT devises. Therefore, it is the vital ingredient that completes the technical triangle. Thus, the Blockchain can protect you from Hackers, trying to steal your data which could violate you, your home, or your car…
Flavor 2: Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intel (AI)
IoT and AI on the blockchain allows a smart device to respond autonomously…
Equipped with sensors, everyday items can turn into (computer) IoT nodes that collect data and respond accordingly. Perhaps you want to dim smart lightbulbs using your smart phone or calling on ALEXA — or open your smart garage door from inside your car — or let your smart refrigerator autonomously order fresh milk — or want your cameras’ smart home security system autonomously react to threats and alert you and authorities.
Passwords, more often then not, become a Trojan horse for Hackers. Therefore, a devise registered and authenticated into a blockchain can prevent extreme headaches to the smart home owner. For a device to connect with another device and AI it must be uniquely identified within the universal namespace and must use its’ unique blockchain ID (TXID) to raise a request. A ritual that greatly helps keep perpetrators out of your home and your internet and credentials.
As various IoT sensors harvest a tremendous amount of data (edge computing included) it must be send to the cloud via cellular, satellite, WiFi, bluetooth, low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN), or the internet via ethernet.
Watch this Very Smart Home… Amazing!
Flavor 3: Cloud Services — Access and Manage Your IoT System:
A cloud service, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) among others, provides the infrastructure, servers, storage capacity and AI applications to process information in real time.
It further provides the applications needed to access and manage your IoT system and offer computing power we can only dream of. Thankfully, cloud performance is accessible through User Interface apps (UI) on your phone, Voice activated devices, tablets, laptops, or your computer in home or office.
To summarize: “How does IoT work with blockchain?
IoT devices send data through the internet to private blockchain networks to create hack-resistant records. Blockchain preserves individual identity, data integrity and device autonomy due to automatic smart contract creation and AI. Blockchain supports password free Machine to Machine (M2M) communication, data sharing for autonomous M2M learning and response. Password free managing of all IoT devises in the system, which are accessible within the cloud infrastructure.
For now, if in doubt on how your smart devices are secured, you should take precautions:
Choose a secure password for your router and for all of your smart devices each. Secure passwords consist of at least 6 numbers and letters combined. Do not use easy to remember strings or sentences. And, by no means, use a factory assigned username and password.
Take my Grandfather’s advise: secure your information away from prying eyes. :)