The development status and application cases of “Blockchain + Internet of Things”

The integration of blockchain and other technologies to create a complete solution has become an industry consensus. Among them, the Internet of Things can collect data on a large-scale and low-cost, while the blockchain can trust data on a large-scale and low-cost. Therefore, the integration of the blockchain and the Internet of Things is considered to have a larger imagination. So far, what is the current status of the integration and development of “blockchain + Internet of Things”? What models and cases are there for reference? Let’s look at the speech by Tu Wenhui, senior director of Wanxiang Blockchain’s “Blockchain+” Technology Department, at the Blockchain Workshop at the RISC-V Summit.

Hello everyone! I am Tu Wenhui from Wanxiang Blockchain. Before joining the blockchain, I was a veteran in the chip industry for more than ten years. The opportunity of RISC-V integration.

My sharing today is mainly composed of three parts: first, the introduction of basic knowledge of blockchain; second, a brief introduction to the challenges of blockchain technology facing the Internet of Things and digital economy applications, and the problems that RISC-V may be able to solve. Finally, I prepared several industry application cases where Wanxiang Blockchain has already landed, and shared our plans for the integration of blockchain, Internet of Things, AI and other related technologies. Thinking about blockchain integration.

What is blockchain?

Everyone has different understandings or different ways of saying blockchain, and share two definitions that are easier to understand.

First of all, the terminology definition of ISO/DIS 22739: “Blockchain is a distributed ledger formed by sequentially adding blocks confirmed by consensus using cryptographic technology.” This definition contains three concepts: The first is cryptography, a discipline closely related to mathematics. Modern cryptography has a history of decades, and cryptography is the cornerstone of blockchain technology. The second concept is “distributed”, which can be understood as the concept of a network. A blockchain network is composed of multiple peers, and the nodes are synchronized through a consensus protocol. The third concept is the “ledger” in the distributed ledger, which is similar to the ledger of financial accounting, with the concept of finance behind it.

The second definition of blockchain that is easier to understand is the cover article of The Economist on October 30, 2015, which defines the blockchain as the trust machine (The trust machine), and the blockchain is the solution to trust The problem is not only a technological innovation, but also an innovation in a social collaboration model. Nowadays, the blockchain has already affected the real economy and has penetrated into all walks of life.

Block chains are divided into public chains, private chains, and alliance chains. The public chain means that all individuals and organizations can join the chain as long as they download the APP and install it. No permission is required. The private chain is its own internal application. Consortium chain is more suitable for enterprise-level applications. Wanxiang Blockchain is mainly used for consortium chain applications. Joining the consortium chain requires collaboration between all offline participants to reach an offline alliance, forming an equal, fair, and transparent network called the consortium chain (licensed chain). The alliance chain requires the permission of alliance members to join.

Today is the RISC-V summit, so I will mention the elements of blockchain technology to help you understand how RISC-V empowers the blockchain and integrates with the blockchain. Blockchain has four major technical elements: The first is encryption algorithm. Including asymmetric encryption algorithms, hashing, electronic signatures, etc. The second is smart contracts. Smart contracts are equivalent to deploying automated execution terms on the blockchain, which can help the combination of landing applications and scenarios to achieve intelligent deployment. The third is the consensus mechanism. The role of consensus is the ledger. Each node between the ledger and the ledger will maintain its own database. The nodes must reach an agreement on which block is legal and which is illegal. A consensus algorithm is required. Commonly used in alliance chains are PBFT (Byzantine Fault Tolerance), PoS (Proof of Stake) and other consensus mechanisms that do not generate excessive energy consumption. In our view, consensus is one of the challenges facing the blockchain, which can be accelerated through RISC-V and chip hardware. The fourth is the chain storage structure, that is, the storage method in which the next block performs hash verification on the previous block in order of sequence.

Some people say that it is now Web/blockchain 3.0, while others say it is Web/blockchain 4.0. The earliest white paper published by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 was Web/Blockchain 1.0. After more than ten years of operation, the safety and reliability of the technology have been tested by time. The application in the financial field has proved that the technology is running well. Very stable and laid a solid foundation for us. Web/blockchain 2.0 is Ethereum, which adds smart contract functions on the basis of Bitcoin. As a platform, all distributed applications with Ethereum can be easily deployed, creating the prosperity of the blockchain industry. Various technologies of Web/Blockchain 3.0 are developing rapidly, including the recently launched Dfinity. Blockchain technology is gradually developing, and the most significant improvement is a leap in performance. It takes 2-3 hours to confirm a transaction in the first generation, ten minutes in the second generation, and within 10 seconds in the third generation. Nowadays, blockchain technology is still developing, and it will become more and more suitable for various industry applications.

Challenges of combining blockchain and IoT

Next, discuss the challenges of the combination of blockchain and the Internet of Things, that is, the opportunities that may be solved by the application of RISC-V chip technology:

TPS performance (Transaction per second) . The number of transaction records executed per second is a performance indicator of data uploading on the chain for the Internet of Things + blockchain scenario. TPS performance will directly affect the throughput of network operations. The large amount of data in the Internet of Things and real-time requirements are the major challenges currently faced by blockchain networks.

The data on the chain is credible . The data on the blockchain network is jointly recorded, and each node of the ledger has a copy. Only if more than half of the nodes are hacked, the data may be tampered with. But the data before the chain can be trusted? How to ensure safety? If the original data is not accurate, then the accuracy of the data on the chain is meaningless. Therefore, the second major challenge is how to make the data before the chain be credible. I believe that everyone who does the Internet of Things and chips will have their own answers.

Facing the digital economy and society of the future, the number of Internet of Things devices is massive, and there are about tens of billions of different devices connected. At present, about 30 billion devices are connected to the Internet, and the real Internet of Everything is not far away. If IoT devices need to communicate with the blockchain, the large amount of data and concurrency generated by the massive devices will be a very big challenge to the blockchain network.

A variety of IoT hardware adaptation capabilities are varied, some are very weak , maybe just very weak sensors, or IO signals, such as data collected by PLC in the field; some are very strong, such as an edge gateway, which can be equivalent to a computer The fourth challenge is how to connect and adapt the blockchain to IoT hardware with different capabilities.

The above-mentioned challenges are also new opportunities for “RISC-V+blockchain”. RISC-V itself is an open source instruction level, and the blockchain is also the concept of open source and fairness. The strong combination of two open source technologies with the same concept can generate many new opportunities.

The first is security, from device-side security to security in the transmission process can be completed through the empowerment of RISC-V. In the morning’s keynote forum, Mr. Wang Yunzhen mentioned that the safest software in the world is open source software. It is true, because everyone can see all the software processes and jointly supervise and verify the security and open source features of the RISC-V instruction set. Brings the flexibility of blockchain security adaptation. Community members can work together to expand the type of instructions that are more suitable for blockchain applications. After RISC-V is combined with the blockchain, how data is collected, transferred, and through which links, Where is the application, these procedural content have faithful records and traces, and the security can be improved a lot.

Secondly, in the process of combining the blockchain and the Internet of Things, from the collection and convergence of the most edge MCU to the gateway, and then to the blockchain network, its architecture is relatively general, and the combination of blockchain and RISC-V creates credibility s frame. From the inside of the chip, to the lowest level software and operating system, to transmission, to the network side, and then to the upper level application, a complete end-to-end trusted closed loop can be formed.

Practical application cases of the Internet of Things + blockchain

I will share a few of the application cases of blockchain combined with the Internet of Things that we have already implemented.

Case 1: Biological assets supervision . Collecting the amount of exercise and GPS location through the collar of the beef cattle, these data can be stored on the blockchain at the same time, and cannot be tampered with. Provide data protection for financial applications of biological assets.

Case 2: New energy vehicle battery life cycle management . The battery is also an asset. The built-in related blockchain module in the battery pack can record the battery usage status, and can record the battery usage data in a fair and equitable manner. Trust data to manage the full life cycle of the battery.

Case 3: Trusted warehouse receipts in the petrochemical industry . The data generated by sensors such as liquid level gauges and flow meters are used for blockchain and the Internet of Things to be used for blockchain credible storage, enabling applications such as cargo transfer and warehouse receipt pledge financing.

Next, I will talk about two big scenes.

The first is the industrial direction that Wanxiang Blockchain focuses on-the distributed cognitive industrial Internet . Before the blockchain was added, data was discrete points, that is, “data islands”. In particular, it is difficult to get through data between enterprises, mainly due to various reasons such as privacy. Blockchain and privacy computing make data available and invisible without going out, thereby protecting data privacy. Four technologies (blockchain, knowledge graph, privacy computing, and Internet of Things) are used to create a credible data base and change the way of collaboration between industrial enterprises. The internal enterprise is still the traditional MES system and ERP system, and the external upstream and downstream supply and demand, commodity inspection, warehousing and logistics and other links need to be opened up. Therefore, distributed cognitive technology is a very good tool in industrial application scenarios, which can give birth to many application cases. .

The second is the digital city scene . In the case of personal information centralization, it is difficult to protect personal privacy. It is likely that the virtual portrait on the Internet knows you better than yourself. Wanxiang Blockchain proposes a “free city”, that is, everyone can have a virtual identity in a digital city without revealing personal privacy-related information, but virtual consumption behavior and consumption preferences can still be calculated through privacy calculations, AI algorithms, and encryption The analysis is complete. In this way, the needs of merchants can still be matched easily.

In terms of time, let’s briefly introduce the blockchain industry working group SIG established in RISC-V jointly by Wanxiang Blockchain, Molian Technology and Sai Fang. I am the chairman, and Xu Gang of Molian Technology is always the vice chairman. I hope that through the working group, guests and industry experts will integrate the RISC-V solution into the blockchain network, so that the problems faced by the blockchain challenge can be promoted and improved at the RISC-V instruction set level and the chip level. The working group will verify and promote common development through PoC projects with chip vendors, equipment vendors, and software partners. Promoting the application of RISC-V in the blockchain framework requires the participation of everyone to build a trusted blockchain and RISC-V framework from the bottom of the chip to the software to the upper application.

At present, trusted TEE environment, root trust, and algorithm acceleration are the capabilities that RISC-V and chips can provide, and we also look forward to more developments that combine RISC-V and blockchain. Welcome everyone to join the industry working group, explore the field together, discover more business opportunities, and discover more innovations. Thank you!

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