CoT: Can you provide your name, your background in relation to blockchain/security/IoT and why you are interested in this Research project?
My name is Jason Cassidy and I am the Chief Communications Officer at Emercoin, a leading digital currency and blockchain platform. I reside in the tech triangle of Canada, Kitchener-Waterloo region of Ontario and like many others I started in Bitcoin. I formed Canada's 1st Bitcoin consulting company at Crypto Consultant in 2012. Prior to that I enjoyed a career at BlackBerry where my focus was on managing people, technologies and communication.
BlackBerry has made a name for itself due to its focus on security, becoming the de facto tool for the business World at one point. My job was to ensure the applications we offered the public were bug free and user friendly without sacrificing the security of the product. This has given me a unique perspective on the importance of not only strong encryption but general security and trust in software. Research projects are imperative when attempting to assess the viability of emerging technologies and the implications of unifying many of them. We are very early on in the Blockchain industry so this is the time when collaboration is needed.
CoT: Are you currently involved in a startup or a company involved in IoT/cybersecurity/blockchain?
My main focus is with Emercoin who is fast becoming one of the top blockchains for innovative, scalable services. When I joined the team one of the priorities was to identify our Internet Of Things strategy, understanding the importance of unifying these two revolutionary technologies. Seeing the management team looking to push the limits of innovation in the right markets is one of the reasons I decided to join Emercoin.
CoT: Why do you think blockchain may assist in securing IoT devices?
On one hand you have an emerging industry that is going to bring a technological 'consciousness' to billions of devices in every corner of the globe. On the other hand, you have a revolutionary technology in the Blockchain that has yet to be successful hacked or disrupted. Once you understand the power of blockchain technology is becomes a rather academic matter of bringing its trustless nature to the Internet of Things.
CoT: How critical is the issue of security today with regards to IoT? I mean we hear about hacks regularly but how would you grade security amongst the list of issues affecting IoT?
I could write a Harvard-level thesis paper on the importance of security in IoT and it would still likely be an understatement. As more and more information pours forth from our physical World, a means to safely transport, store and analyze it all becomes imperative. Without proper security involved you really are working with a proof of concept model that is not yet ready for mainstream adoption.
CoT: Do you think a collaboration approach is needed for the industry to explore whether blockchain can address security questions in IoT?
Absolutely. I would go as far as to say that the development of research groups like Chain Of Things is a sign of a maturing market that is ready to make a serious attempt at addressing the core obstacles.
CoT: Can you give an example (in simple terms) of how blockchain tech can secure devices?
In simple terms we can give every IoT-enabled devices their own digital identity, tied to a trustless and uncorruptable entity. Blockchain technology is the only solution I have seen that offers the scalability potential while simultaneously delivering proven trust. Otherwise, you are looking at centralized hubs to route these communications and this opens up the potential for MITM attacks as well as Sybil.
CoT: What are you aiming to get out of participating in the CoT Research Lab?
A better understanding of our ever-evolving industry is a good start. The ultimate goal is to find solutions to these obstacles that exist today in terms of mainstream adoption. I am a big believer that you can only improve by surrounding yourself with like minded people who are working towards a common goal. Having a place where the some of the brightest and motivated minds can come together offers a tremendous amount of value. In short, we are going to collectively make the Internet of Things a reality for the entire planet. One innovative step a a time.