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IBM Hopes to Reinvent How Blockchain-Based Smart Contracts Work

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IBM is in plans to come up with a method through which they can patent a workable formula, with which a network of connected devices can easily and securely execute smart contracts based on blockchain technology. In a patent application published on Thursday, IBM explains how this works:

One example method of operation may include determining a proof-of-work via a device and using a predefined set of nonce values when determining the proof-of-work, storing the proof-of-work on a blockchain, and broadcasting the proof-of-work as a broadcast message.

The Competition Says it All

It was not possible for an IoT-focused blockchain to get involved in the type of competitive mining that fuels the Bitcoin network. This is akin to a lightbulb or smart toaster that cannot tap into a warehouse’s powerhouse of specialized computers. On the other hand, a blockchain mine working on a large scale could potentially have an easier time intruding a network that involves IoT devices and a result compromise it.

Looking at the proposed solution from IBM that is fully described in the application, it would not be possible to ditch Bitcoin’s proof-of-work system. In the case of Bitcoin, the proo –of-work aspect adds a block of transaction data to the blockchain by running it through a hash function. This is a basic process in the sense that the ‘work’ aspect comes from the need to get a hash that meets given parameters. This basically means the hash function will run over and over.

Taking Precautions to Ensure Safety

IBM has been quick to explain that it would be careful to limit the number of one-time-use numbers within a certain range that the devices connected to IoT can employ when making updates of the conceptual blockchain. According to IBM’s patent application:

The complexity of constructing a PoW [proof of work] can be adjusted dynamically, such that there is no incentive for any IoT device to use computing power beyond a determined threshold to increase its chances of a successful completion of a PoW.

The application argues that this system has the double benefit of not only preventing an outside actor with a better hash rate from taking control of the blockchain, but also averts the notable competition that is bound to happen among the devices in the network for a greater computing power. In other words, it should be in a position to offer equal chances of a successful completion regarding proof-of-work to all network-driven IoT devices.

IBM, therefore, looks to apply this innovation to smart contracts that make use of strategies like logistics networks, peer-to-peer energy networks crowd-sourced weather networks and such like.

Image Credit: Deposit Photos

What do you think of IBM’s re-imagination of proof of work for blockchain IoT devices? Is this a step in the right direction? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

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