Ensuring security in the Internet of Things
With the growing scale and prevalence of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors in our daily lives, trusting these sensors and systems to deliver reliable data while maintaining our security and privacy is a critical consideration. The IoT network architecture requires decentralised and lightweight approaches for delivering trust, while most conventional approaches are either centralised or computationally demanding.
There has been increasing interest in adopting the Blockchain (BC) that underpins the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, to create a trusted Internet of Things (IoT). However, BCs are computationally expensive and involve high bandwidth overhead and delays, which are not suitable for most IoT devices.
A new blockchain architecture
In collaboration with UNSW, we have designed a lightweight scalable blockchain (LSB) architecture for IoT that virtually eliminates the overheads of classic BC, while maintaining most of its trust benefits.
The proposed architecture uses distributed trust to reduce the block validation processing time. It eliminates the Proof-of-Work overhead, significantly reducing processing overhead at miners. It separates data and transactions flow decreasing service delay while maintaining security and privacy.
The architecture also distributes trust between overlay nodes, gradually reducing the proportion of transactions that require distributed verification as nodes increase their trust.
It contains two tiers of blockchain, including a centralised private immutable ledger at local networks to manage local transactions, and a public distributed blockchain at the overlay network.
This work has led to 11 peer-reviewed publications, and has featured in online media stories across Forbes, ABC and APN News, Computer World, The Conversation and Smart Company, as well as national/regional radio interviews. The Conversation article 'Who's to blame when driverless cars have an accident?' highlighting our new blockchain-based liability framework for connected and autonomous vehicles received over 56,700 reads, as well as a strategic consulting engagement with Discoperi in Ukraine.
Safe blockchain applications beyond IoT
The work has been applied in a variety of market sectors, from supply chain traceability to creating new liability models for autonomous vehicles, distributed energy trading, and data marketplaces.
It is also being incorporated into our industry-transforming commercial projects, such as digitising construction supply chains with Ynomia to provide traceability, auditability, and autonomous compliance on the worksite.
It is also part of a major proposal with an Australian SME on creating a new industry for shipping raw milk to Asia secured by blockchain, which would open new market opportunities for the Australian dairy sector.