Advancing innovation in blockchain & Internet of Things.

Chain of Things (CoT) employs research-led Case Studies to explore blockchain and IoT. Our focus is to secure IoT using features in blockchain technology and to identify and develop applications in which blockchain and IoT combined can enhance a particular area of industry. 

Chain of Things

The problems: 1) IoT is facing a systemic issue of scaling but without sufficient security or interoperability in mind; 2) a world of device data being collected from billions of devices raises information security and privacy concerns for individuals/corporations/governments; 3) the world is turning towards open-data initiatives but there is a lack of a uniform approach; 4) blockchain technology and IoT offers a new world of promise for everyone but no-one is 100% clear on how it will offer benefits.  

The missions:

Mission 1: Save IoT. Bitcoin is (thus far) 10 billion dollars of un-hackable money on the internet. Based on an open system that is 'permission-less' to the world, as such, it is also naturally interoperable. CoT will investigate whether the core technology behind bitcoin, blockchain/distributed ledger technology, can provide a more secure and interoperable fabric for the future of IoT.

Mission 2: Find the best use-cases for blockchain IoT combined. CoT is to investigate the best possible use-cases where blockchain and IoT combined can offer huge benefits to industry, governments, individuals. One such area may be data security or data markets controlled and monitored by immutable smart contract code or standardising public data using blockchain. 

Chain of Security

In the first Chain of Things (CoT) case study we investigate the role of bitcoin and blockchain technology in providing a better foundation for securing IoT and securing data from IoT devices. Dubbed the 4th industrial revolution, the ‘Internet of Things’ will consist of a vast network of sensor nodes that will generate an unprecedented flow of global data. These devices will quietly execute smart contracts with physical actuators that will manage many aspects of our future lives. But how secure and trustworthy is the data that we will come to rely on so heavily? Also, IoT suffers from potential systemic failures as it scales with disastrous consequences. Without an openly stress tested baseline protocol standard for trusted IoT interaction, fundamental security risks will become exponentially worse as 50-200 billion cheap connected devices come online by 2020. Conventional wisdom also suggests a standards war will break the industry into a series of proprietary protocol sandboxes, slowing development and pricing out many startups entering the sector.

Chain of Solar

The second CoT Case Study focuses on the recording of 'proof of solar power generation' via a data-logging device onto a blockchain. The renewables sector has grants and incentives for producing renewable energy, however the processes for verification of energy produced are largely paper based and or, if digital, are open to being manipulated. Bitcoin blockchain technology offers an example of incontrovertible data storage in a digital format. In the Chain of Solar case study we considered the writing of renewable data directly from the solar panel to a blockchain with a minimum amount of steps. Once the data is on the blockchain, it is ostensibly secure. Once we are in a position to create reliable renewable energy data from IoT devices then we can devise a incentive payment rail so that incentive schemes can be paid automatically (via a smart contract on a distributed ledger), facilitating a variety of additional applications. 

The initial CoT case study is focused on the secure logging and organization of solar energy production data onto distributed ledgers for a variety of applications. The initial findings of our research into Chain of Solar were discussed at the first Chain of Things Event in London in June 2016.

Chain of Shipping

CoT's latest case study examines how blockchain technology offers the potential to mitigate fraud and inefficiencies in the shipping and logistics industry with key focus on the traditional paper-based Bill of Lading system. We are coordinating the development of a new protocol in which the pivotal legal document in shipping (the Bill of Lading) can be digitized on a blockchain and terms of the shipping contract can be executed in code based on real-time data provided from IoT devices (Smart Agents) accompanying the shipping containers. Our research will culminate in a November event in Hong Kong. For details, please visit the event page.

Join the discussion

If you are interested in any of the Case Studies above or if you are interested in initiating a new Case Study please fill in the form below.

Note that by default ALL of our Case Studies are open and shared with all partners within the group with the results of the Case Study made available to the public. We are able to adapt the format of a case study to suit the requirements of the main sponsor or stakeholder. 

Facilities available: CoT has access to full design and manufacturing capabilities for blockchain IoT sensor devices that can be used for a particular Case Study. If a bespoke device is required for a particular deployment that can be provided too.

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