Blockchain, the lurking technology of cryptocurrency networks like bitcoin which prove to be fundamental towards realizing the vision of decentralized, secure, and internet of things (IoT) revolution.
There is a thriving interest in leveraging blockchains to provide IoT data privacy without the need for a centralized data access model.
IoT, as it is presently being implemented, works on a centralized, client-server-based access model in which user data is entrusted with centralized service providers.
IoT communications top the software stack of blockchains and peer-to-peer data storage mechanisms. The architecture is designed to have privacy built-in which is made to be adaptable for various IoT use cases.
In a world where data-driven discernment directly translates to wealth while democratizing IoT data by giving the users full authority over their data will advance a revolutionary model in digital commerce.
Decentralized IoT data management will give users the choice of sharing or selling their sensor data with third-party entities without agents.
IoT data privacy continues to be a research challenge because of the lack of standardization in the internet of things which is the sheer scale of IoT networks, and centralized access models for data.
Diverse research contributions have enabled secure data accessing in the traditional ‘client server’ based access control models. The service providers use proprietary authorization techniques, where they act as centralized authorizing entities.
However, centralized IoT data management and access control models head to scalability issues in IoT and force users to place their trust in centralized third-party intermediaries to manage their data by conceding user data privacy as well as end-to-end security.
Blockchains in IoT
In order to furnish a decentralized access model for IoT data privacy, an IoT network architecture has come up with the latest architecture called ‘modular consortium’ architecture.
With this architecture, IoT data privacy via blockchains is provided by addressing the challenges and correlated to implementing blockchains to IoT networks.
One of the denunciations is the scalability of blockchains in IoT. For every entry on the blockchain requires a consensus among the network nodes, a single blockchain is responsible for logging every IoT data operation which wouldn’t scale well after the completion of the whole process.
Modular consortium network, a decentralized peer-to-peer network made up of isolated sidechain networks, where the network is demolished down into smaller, private blockchains, or sidechains. These sidechain networks are connected together to form one decentralized, peer-to-peer consortium network.
For accessing the IoT data of one sidechain, the requester would have to become a member of the peer-to-peer consortium network and make a request in order to get the access into the data.
The consortium network runs its own blockchain which is referred to as the consortium blockchain. Consortium blockchain performs access control and prevents any unauthorized accessing of IoT data from one sidechain to another member of the consortium network.
While each sidechain is tasked with logging sensor data creation events within the sidechain networks, where the consortium blockchain is responsible for maintaining a log of successful and unsuccessful data access requests.
The implementation of the architecture is built using two existing blockchain application platforms where the performance analysis of the blockchain platforms provide insights for the feasibility of the architecture and further considerations for deploying a usable implementation.