The business potential of connected devices is huge, but so are the challenges the IoT ecosystem faces. Blockchain technology seems to hold the potential to unlock new use cases — and significant ROI from them. Join the latest VB Live event to learn more about how distributed ledger technologies can realize a profitable Future of Things.
“Today, when people exchange assets, they often do so through a series of intermediaries — banks or governments or brokers,” says Jonathan Johnson, president of Medici Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Overstock focused on advancing blockchain technology. Trust intermediaries, in other words. What blockchain does is removes those institutional trust intermediaries and replaces them with trust technology.
“Overstock started in 1999, and we had customers that were more comfortable calling and giving their credit card information to an agent over the phone than typing it into the website,” Johnson says. “I always thought that was kind of funny, knowing how secure we had made our website.”
Blockchain is the next step in the evolution of security, and by eliminating those intermediary institutions in the middle, you’re removing friction as well, Johnson says, whether that’s in the form of time, or fees, or mistakes, or fraud. Blockchain is a kind of magic that digital asset recording makes possible, by creating a series of permanent ledgers that reflect the current truth, and make them available immediately and transparently. That transparency means that transactions can be securely tracked without requiring a centralized governing authority.
And having the reputation, authentication, and protection against myriad liabilities of both consumers and companies secured in an Internet of Things ecosystem is essential for building consumers’ trust — and encourages them to participate widely in the growing number of opportunities to buy goods and trade data that the Internet of Things offers.
Smart contracts are particularly a game changer for IoT applications. They’re small programs that encode logic into a blockchain protocol’s transaction verification and can, in a fraction of the time of ordinary authentication processes, automatically handle identity, credit, and document verification on both sides of a transaction.
Smart contracts keep up with the speed of sensor and IoT data, including credentials offered through biometrics, GPS, Bluetooth, or any of the above, and expedites any transaction invisibly, making it seamless, frictionless, and indisputably secure. It automates all interactions between a consumer and their connected device in a transparent, untamperable way.
And because there’s no centralized authority, single-point failure concerns become a distant memory, no matter how populated a particular network is.
It is, essentially, the technology that the Internet of Things has been looking for from the start.
“Today I think the biggest hurdle is that blockchain is associated solely with Bitcoin — Bitcoin is to blockchain as email was to the internet,” Johnson says. “Just as the internet made the free and frictionless flow of information possible, I think that blockchain is going to make the free and frictionless flow of assets possible.”
To learn more about the enormous impact blockchain and distributed ledger technologies are already having on business and the economy, how blockchain is set to disrupt industries, and how it’s opening doors to real IoT use cases and profitability, don’t miss this VB Live event!
In this VB Live event, you’ll learn:
- What distributed ledger technologies such as blockchain mean for businesses in 2018
- How blockchain for IoT can build trust between people and parties who transact together, reduce costs, and accelerate transactions
- The future of universal architecture and what it means for autonomous products and services
- Jonathan Johnson, Overstock.com Board Member. Medici Ventures President
- Bob Kain, CEO, Luna DNA
- Jessica Groopman, Founding Partner, Kaleido Insights
- Rachel Brownell, Moderator, VentureBeat