Roman Kravchenko, head of REMME blockchain project: Blockchain to become DNA for IoT systems
The technologies of blockchain and the Internet of Things are conceptually similar and complement each other – this is the opinion of Roman Kravchenko, CEO of the blockchain project 482.solutions and CTO at the IoT startup REMME. We talked with him about the prospects for the joint application of two advanced technologies and why blockchain will become the basis for a new economy of IoT solutions.
Interviewer: Internet of Things forum (IoT)
Respondent: Roman Kravchenko (R.K.)
IoT: What advantages does the blockchain technology give to the Internet of Things?
R.K.: The technologies of blockchain and Internet of Things have a similar nature and concept from the point of view of the fact that they are based on the distributed systems paradigm.
Blockchain is a technology that helps to implement the Internet of Things projects, providing them with a number of advantages. In particular, blockchain reduces the risks of centralization and helps to create IoT solutions without a single point of failure (SPOF), which is common for centralized systems.
Blockchain system also increases the level of data protection against unauthorized changes. Thanks to the technology, we get a business model, as well as the ability to monetize the exchange of data and services between the devices built-in in the core of the IoT system.
Blockchain allows to build crypto economic clusters with an internal token economy. It also reduces transaction costs by automating decision-making based on cryptographic protocols. This is due to the fact that blockchain eliminates redundant nodes from IoT systems and replaces them with a consensus algorithm.
IoT: Tell us about the REMME project and the development of a protocol for the IoT devices authentication. What are the features?
R.K.: The project was founded in 2015, aiming at the development of blockchain-based solutions in the field of computer security. Now there are about 40 people in the startup team with the R&D offices in Kyiv and Odessa. In February 2018, the REMME project raised $18 million in 24 hours by placing tokens on the ICO. In March 2018, REMME became a member of the Hyperledger's initiative from the Linux Foundation.
Within the REMME project, an Open Source protocol is being developed, basing on the blockchain technology. It provides non-password authentication of users and IoT devices based on public key standards (TLS/SSL, X.509, etc.). The protocol provides tools for managing the distributed public key infrastructure.
Traditional PKI systems have a Certification Authority (CA) – a centralized entity that provides data storage and management of keys and certificates. The availability of a single point of failure (SPOF) makes such a system vulnerable. Blockchain allows to build a distributed key management system, significantly increasing the level of PKI fault tolerance.
In such a case, blockchain is a distributed ledger that stores the data of keys and certificates. Changes in the data in the repository are controlled by a consensus algorithm that plays the role of a point of trust. It guarantees the fault tolerance and consistency of the system, as well as the information validity.
IoT: What challenges did you face when developing the protocol and how they were solved?
R.K.: The history of the REMME project is a permanent challenge and an extremely difficult technological tasks that our R&D team faces at every stage of research and development.
At the stage of forming the basic concept of the product, we faced a complex choice of the technology that would help to develop a blockchain protocol layer. We’ve held deep analysis of the existing platforms and tools and chose the Intel's solution, the Hyperldeger Sawtooth framework. It is designed for the development of distributed corporate systems on the blockchain technology.
Now the team is focused on solving the most difficult technical challenge: the development of the consensus algorithm and the token economy model. The complexity of the task is driven by the fact that it is necessary to create a mathematically driven architecture of the solution, in which the consensus will ensure fault tolerance of the network, and the model of the economy – a fair reward for the nodes validators (master nod). This development will also help to balance the token economy.
Taking into account the science-intensive nature of the task, the EMME Research Lab was created as part of the project, which included a number of research scientists together with the R&D team of those working on the solution.
IoT: What are the prospects for the joint use of blockchain and IoT?
R.K.: In the next two or three years, there will be more and more IoT projects based on blockchain technologies. It is a consequence of the synergistic effect that can be observed in projects where the mentioned technologies complement each other.
IoT is a set of approaches and tools that help in building the architecture of the device network, as well as take responsibility over the ways they interact. Blockchain is a technology that implements decision-making and autonomy of devices based on cryptographic mechanisms and game theory. In fact, we can say that blockchain will become DNA for IoT systems.
IoT: One of the theses of your report covers blockchain as a new model of the economy in IoT solutions. What factors determine the success of this model development?
R.K.: The success of the blockchain application as an economic tool depends primarily on the readiness of business and the state to adopt this new approach.
Until now, there is no ecosystem, as well as a legal field, to ensure the full operation of new token economy models. Indeed, this is a difficult task that cannot be solved on the spot, but the practical experience shows that technologies are much ahead of this process and are already ready to become a basis for the new generation of the economy systems.
One approach may be the emergence of economic clusters working on the DAO principles (decentralized autonomous organization) with the token economy elements.
IoT: Please tell us more about your report within the Internet of Things conference.
R.K.: In my report I will talk about the synergy of the IoT technologies and blockchain, how these technological paradigms accelerate the evolution of economic and social systems, what new effects appear at the junction of these two approaches.
Then, I will talk about two practical IoT cases, where blockchain is applied: from the point of view of the technology and architecture.
One of them is the Prometheus project, the IoT protocol and the data marketplace, which automates the management of production processes and supply chains. The second one is the REMME project, a protocol for authenticating IoT devices based on blockchain.
Learn more about how the blockchain and IoT technologies influence each other and ask questions to Roman Kravchenko on September 25. His report ‘Blockchain as a DNA protocol for the Internet of Things’ will be held within the 5th international forum ‘Internet of Things’, which will be held in Moscow.