Blockchains and the Internet of Things

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin represent much more than digital economic innovations. The true value of the underlying technology — the blockchain — has only just begun to be explored, and potential applications to the Internet of Things and Brainy Systems are vast.

The following Channel Guide will help you:

  • Get a brief overview of how Blockchain technology can influence IoT distributed systems, sensors and data.
  • Explore current state of clever contracts in relation to embedded devices and Internet of Things devices.
  • View current range of projects/case studies navigating the technological hurdles



Pricing & reviews

User & Technical


IBM Watson IoT Platform enables IoT devices to send data to private blockchain ledgers for inclusion in collective transactions with tamper-resistant.

A consultancy specializing in IoT security. We concentrate on device key management solutions with dedicated embedded cryptographic hardware.

A platform that enables users to control access to their data for their IoT devices.

Install twenty one ( ) and get bitcoin on any device. Earn bitcoin on every HTTP request.

Ensuring drug safety with blockchain technology. “Creates sensor devices leveraging blockchain technology to assert data immutability and public.

Tierion: Cloud platform backed by the power of the blockchain

Factom: Factom is a system for securing millions of realtime records using blockchain technology.

Chronicled – A San Francisco based technology company with expertise in developing software at the intersection of blockchain technology, IoT, and user engagement. The Company is developing an open-source registry for IoT microchips and consumer products on the Ethereum blockchain.

riddle&code – “A platform connects the blockchain to any physical object in an uncompromisable way.”

Blockchain of Things – “Secure Peer to Peer Communication for the Industrial Internet of Things. An open integration platform for everyone else”

eciotify – “lays the foundation for a secure, scalable and decentralized trading of digital assets, empowering the Economy of Things. eciotify uses Blockchain technology to enable the use of Brainy Contracts inbetween IoT devices.

Projects and Case Studies

Chain of Things

A consortium that is exploring the role blockchain may have in providing security for the Internet of Things.


Integrate Watson IoT Platform with Blockchain

The Watson IoT Platform has a built-in capability that lets you add selected IoT data to a private blockchain.


IOTA is a revolutionary fresh transactional settlement and data transfer layer for the Internet of Things. It’s based on a fresh distributed ledger, the Tangle, which overcomes the inefficiencies of current Blockchain designs and.



  • IBM Adept


dLoc: An integrated document verification and authentication solution. This breakthrough solution is based on the company’s IoT enablement platform Clever Cosmos, its NFC transponders, and innovative and very secure blockchain technology provided by playmate Factom.

Chronicled Crypto Seal: A cryptographic, blockchain-compatible, NFC-enabled, tamper-proof seal that permits customers to secure the content of packages and containers.

“Blockchain-focused security hard Guardtime has announced it will be working with embedded authentication company Intrinsic-ID for secure governance of Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The alliance brings together Guardtime’s Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) Blockchain technology and Intrinsic-ID’s SRAM Physical Unclonable Functions (PUFs).” – Article

EthCore Parity: Implemented in Rust, it uses the cutting edge, very sophisticated hybrid functional language to create a blockchain client which is uniquely high-performance, low-footprint and reliable.

EthEmbedded – Providing successful builds of Ethereum Clients for numerous, Linux based, ARM embedded devices

Lisk: Blockchain Applications – Written in JavaScript. Running on Sidechains.

IPFS – A peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol to make the web swifter, safer, and more open.


Very first, let’s review the basics of how Bitcoin, and blockchains generally, work.

Blockchain Basics

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you are very likely aware of Bitcoin as a popular (and controversial) cryptocurrency — a form of money that can be transferred securely and anonymously across a widely distributed peer-to-peer network. The Bitcoin blockchain is essentially a ledger of all legitimate transactions that have occurred on the network so far, which is maintained by the collaborative efforts of all the knots in the network.

The process is automatic, based on consensus, and fully auditable. That creates a “trustless” system where nobody has to put their faith in anyone else, because the Bitcoin network itself is assured to keep a fair and accurate record of which bitcoins belong to whom (solving what is known as the Byzantine Generals Problem).

The Bitcoin blockchain is built up over time, as fresh transactions are added to the ledger. Whenever two people exchange bitcoins, an encrypted record of the transaction is sent out to all other knots in the Bitcoin network. The other knots verify the transaction by performing sophisticated cryptographic calculations on the data in the record, and notify one another each time a fresh “block” of transactions is confirmed as legitimate (every ten minutes). When a majority of the knots agree that a block passes muster, they all add it to the ledger and use the updated version as a cryptographic basis for encrypting and verifying future transactions.

That way, the blockchain can record an accurate history of Bitcoin exchanges and, because it’s permanently being extended and verified collectively, is basically impervious to fraud (outside of flaws in the underlying structure [see Satoshi’s original whitepaper here], a 51% attack, or other weakness in the system).

Blockchains, Altchains, and Sidechains

Since Bitcoin was very first created in 2009, many other cryptocurrencies or “altcoins” have sprung up using similar structures. Each has its own blockchain, often called “altchains” because they are largely based on forks of the Bitcoin software.

Developers quickly realized that blockchains weren’t restricted to monetary transactions — they could be used to track and verify any kind of digital exchange. Perhaps the most prominent example is Namecoin, a distributed DNS namespace. The Namecoin blockchain is a record of who controls which name in the .bit namespace (e.g. mydomain.bit). Another example is Datacoin, which lets users store data in its blockchain.

The trouble with the proliferation of altchains is two-fold. One: The security and reliability of a blockchain network depends on its size — the number of knots involved — and the Bitcoin blockchain has a big lead in terms of its computing power, which makes it difficult for fledgling cryptocurrencies to build up widespread adoption. Two: Forking development results in siloing of the assets and networks of altchains. That means each altchain duplicates a lot of the code and functionality of other blockchains without being directly integrated with them (which is due partly to the reluctance of Bitcoin’s developers to make big switches to the software now that there’s so much at stake in the network). It also means that assets — like Bitcoins or Namecoins — can’t be transferred directly inbetween blockchains (there are third-party exchanges for that).

To solve both those problems, some developers have proposed a concept called the “sidechain.” Sidechains enable developers to create software that iterates on a “parent” blockchain, while permitting assets to be directly transferred inbetween the parent and the sidechain, and from one sidechain to another.

That means the Bitcoin “parent” blockchain could spawn sidechains to treat the exchange of names, data, or other assets within the Bitcoin network without altering the core functionality of Bitcoin (see a list of potential applications here).

Applications for IoT and Brainy Systems

As blockchains and sidechains proliferate, there are several significant implications for the Internet of Things and the development of Clever Systems. For one, blockchain technology could provide a way to track the unique history of individual devices, by recording a ledger of data exchanges inbetween it and other devices, web services, and human users.

Blockchains could also enable wise devices to become independent agents, autonomously conducting a multitude of transactions. Imagine a vending machine that can not only monitor and report its own stock, but can solicit bids from distributors and pay for the delivery of fresh items automatically — based, of course, on the purchase history of its customers. Or a suite of brainy home appliances that can bid with one another for priority so that the laundry machine, dishwasher and robo-vacuum all run at an adequate time while minimizing the cost of electro-therapy against current grid prices. Or a vehicle that can diagnose, schedule and pay for its own maintenance.

At a more abstract level, blockchain networks themselves also have the potential to become independent agents, what some have referred to as “Distributed Autonomous Corporations.” These would supplant systems like banking and arbitration, which have traditionally relied on trusted and centralized human authorities, with trustless and decentralized networks. Examples include electronic couriers to securely transfer sensitive information, escrow services to transfer ownership rights, or even auto-installation services to verify and thrust updates to the software governing other DACs.

“In the absence of a centralized server brokering messages, supporting file storage and transfers, and arbitrating roles and permissions, any decentralized IoT solution should support three foundational types of transactions:

• Trustless peer-to-peer messaging

• Secure distributed data sharing

• A sturdy and scalable form of device coordination.”

Building a distributed future

Blockchains and cryptocurrencies are a fairly fresh invention, and current applications only scrape the surface of their possible uses. As various companies, projects and individuals begin thinking about ways to apply blockchains to the IoT and Brainy Systems, we’ll collect information about those developments and other resources below.

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