Blockchain of Things (BCoT): The Fusion of Blockchain and IoT Technologies
Both Blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) are the two major disruptive emerging constituents of the contemporary internet-enabled era of technology. As per Gartner Hype Cycle of Emerging Technologies 2018 (Panetta, 2018), both of these technologies are currently in their “peak of inflated expectations” while both are projected to highly likely require another “5 to 10 years” to mature. In fact, comparing with the Gartner’s 2017 (Gartner, 2017) predictions, Blockchain – without changing much – hovered at its current ongoing position on the hype cycle. On the contrary, the locus of IoT has progressed reasonably – prevailing within the same arc (i.e. peak of inflated expectations) of the curve – moving downwards crossing the pinnacle – however, IoT pedalled back on the level of maturity from “2 to 5 years” to the current state of “5 to 10 years”. Such regression of IoT, in terms of reaching maturity level, however, is justified by its widespread adoption in multifaceted applications and the security concerns raised thus far. In fact, both of these technologies are distributed, autonomous and mostly decentralised systems possessing connatural potentials to act as complementary to each other. IoT requires strengthening its security features while Blockchain inherently possesses them due to its extensive use of cryptographic mechanisms and Blockchain – in an inverted manner – needs contributions from the distributed nodes for its P2P (Peer-to-peer) consensus model while IoT rudimentarily embodies them within its architecture. This chapter, therefore, acutely dissects the viability, along with prospective challenges, of incorporating Blockchain with IoT technologies – inducing the notion of Blockchain of Things (BCoT) – as well as the benefits such consolidation can offer.