The implications of Fusing 5G and Blockchain

Analysts have been anticipating the implications of the Internet of Things (IoT) for several years. However, there were two major obstacles to success: capacity and safety.

But now the introduction of a new technology could change that. This year, major carriers such as AT & T and Verizon 5G are introducing the latest generation of mobile mobile communication. According to analysts, the 5G platform provides a high data rate, reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, higher system capacity and massive device connectivity.

The combination of 5G and blockchain technology has the potential to unleash a wave of economic value. To understand this relationship between 5G and blockchain, the relationship must be considered multiple. The power of 5G coverage due to reduced latency, high speeds and capacity ensures that IoT devices can be used on a large scale. At the same time, these devices can use the security, decentralization, immutability and consensus arbitrage of blockchains as basic layers.

That means smart cities, driverless vehicles, smart homes and other sensor-driven enhancements finally have technology that meets their needs.

As base layers, block chains can ensure consensus and security, while most IoT transactions and contracts take place on two-part networks, with the ability to control payment channels and transaction disputes in the chain. However, the network capacity of IoT is made possible by the power of 5G coverage.

In addition, 5G will directly support block chains by increasing the participation and decentralization of nodes, and by allowing shorter block times, thereby promoting the scalability of the chain, which in turn further supports the IoT economy.

Here is a first look at how 5G is rolled out and when real use can be seen.

The rollout of 5G

Network providers have started rolling out 5G in selected US cities, while global coverage is expected to come online in 2020.

Verizon will offer its coverage in Chicago and Minneapolis from April 11, with services that will move to 30 cities in the remainder of 2019.

The supplier is expected that Samsung will release its 5G-compatible Galaxy S10 model next month. Other companies, such as Huawei and LG, have announced their own models that are expected soon.

In terms of modems, we are still waiting for one that supports both 5G and LTE. Qualcomm is expected to release such a product, the X55, in Q3 or Q4 this year.

Apple consumers will have to wait until 2020 before they see a 5G-compatible iPhone, although the company is apparently still evaluating market conditions.

Waking up the internet of things

The advantages of 5G are the high speeds, capacity, low latency and the ability to connect to huge numbers of devices. Latency refers to the time between when a signal is sent and received. In blockchain terms, latency is the time between a transaction that is broadcast and that is received by nodes. For IoT, whether applied to smart homes or autonomous vehicles, it is crucial to achieve low latency if devices start communicating with each other without experiencing long delay times.

This reduction could unlock another concept, the Internet of Skills (IoS). This is the process whereby specialists perform their work remotely via virtual reality headsets. For example, a dentist could perform procedures remotely. If the latency cannot be minimized, the specialist will not have a sufficient response, endanger the patient and undermine the entire function.

It is these new applications that drive the projections for the economic impact of 5G. A study by Qualcomm showed that 5G in 2035 could lead to $ 12.3 trillion in extra global GDP.

It is important that 5G – with speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second – is an improvement on current broadband services at home, as well as mobile networks. To put this in perspective, the average global, non-mobile internet speed is only 7.2 megabits per second. As such, 5G could become the de facto internet network around the world.

The effects of 5G on IoT and related concepts will be further expanded with multi-access edge computing. This is a form of networking where service is spread from centralized nodes to peripheral nodes, resulting in an even greater increase in speeds, while also reducing latency.

IoT will rely on this capacity and the ability to connect huge numbers of devices. It is estimated that by 2025 there could be as many as 100 billion IoT connections, research from Huawei shows, with growth likely to become exponential thereafter.

Ramping of automation

When it comes to automation, it is typical to think in terms of robots replacing paid jobs currently being done by people. In reality, however, the scope of automation can ultimately be much wider than this, including the replacement of odd jobs and unpaid everyday tasks.

This can already be seen in the advent of smart homes, where household appliances communicate with each other, keep track of inventory levels and manage inventory. Autonomous cars and trucks are already testing, with legislation as the main barrier.

Within the next decade, traditional industries – such as agriculture, mining and drilling – are all anticipating high-speed IoT automation powered by billions of sensors and devices that communicate via 5G.


These applications rely on extensive 5G coverage to provide the capacity, speeds, and latency required for these systems to perform as intended on a global scale.

But two other possible roadblocks in the direction of 5G could occur.

First, malicious devices can cause chaos within networks, strengthened by their mutual cohesion.

Secondly, the rollout of 5G will include an explosion in transactions and payments between these devices. Such volumes are likely to blur the current capacity of centralized and decentralized financial infrastructure.

The referee for the blockchain

Blockchain innovations can probably solve the first problem. Public, decentralized block chains are capable of guaranteeing immutability, fraud-proofing and establishing consensus among suspicious entities.

They can therefore be used as a base layer for settling disputes between IoT devices that cannot settle transactions or smart contract terms. Because these devices can perform money transactions and operate vehicles, it is crucial to establish an underlying protocol layer with robust security. Blockchains can excel in this.

Decentralized block chains offer further advantages over the current client-server model used in IoT. Their decentralized architecture means that identity can be protected and guaranteed. IoT devices currently identify themselves via cloud servers, with their identification data stored in these databases. As such, the data can be compromised, stolen or imitated, which is a major security risk for any application running on top of such a network.

By using a decentralized blockchain, we can protect these identities through the use of asymmetric cryptography and secure hashing algorithms. Devices are registered according to their own corresponding blockchain addresses, guaranteeing their identity. This blockchain layer can offer a security level and frictionless identification, unrivaled by the existing centralized infrastructure.

Scale up

Unfortunately, the second scale problem cannot be solved immediately by block chains. The enormous size of IoT means that decentralized blockchain architectures are unable to handle the necessary throughput. This is at least true on layer one – i.e., blockchains themselves.

It is both possible and desirable to postpone the majority of transactions to layer two protocols such as the lighting network operating on top of block chains through the use of pay channels or side chains.

However, since each device must have its own address and chain transactions, there must be an on-chain capacity that reaches tens of thousands of transactions per second. In short, the scalability must improve considerably on both layers.

Blockchains such as Bitcoin Cash ABC, with block size increasing, and Ethereum, through sharding, are building much larger on-chain capacity. At the same time, we see the steady progress of the Lightning Network as it rolls out, along with side chains such as Liquid from Blockstream, while Ethereum's Plasma network continues to grow. The construction of a 5G and layer two-blockchain infrastructure happens to happen simultaneously and offers the necessary scalability and coverage for an IoT-oriented economy.

Another route for system architects would be to add other structures, such as graphs between the basic blockchain layer and IoT devices. Designs such as targeted acyclic graphs (DAG & # 39; s) can be used to achieve a much higher throughput. However, this usually results in undermined security and decentralization.

Navigating the trilogy of scalability, security, and decentralization is a prerequisite for any blocko-based IoT network, and shortcomings in each of these three areas could be cataclysmic to users and the purpose of using such a protocol in the first place. Until developers can produce alternative designs that achieve high throughput without compromising security or decentralization, IoT networks will have to use the more limited but secure blockchain structure.

Tamper-resistant data

5G authorized IoT devices are set to generate a huge increase in data transfer. Cisco is projecting that by 2021 they will generate 847 brewing bytes. Although block chains are core distributed data storage systems, it is not feasible to store large amounts of data. However, if this IoT data is not saved, it is still open to attack.

However, it is quite possible to store hashes of data in the chain, with links referring to external data storage locations for the entire data set. Indeed, such external storage could be performed on other decentralized protocols, such as the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) or OrbitDB. While this does not guarantee the same level of tamper resistance, it does offer a higher level of security than centralized alternatives. It is important that reels are stored in the chain and that tampering with the data results in a change of the hash, which draws attention to such an attack, along with time registration via the time stamp.

Strengthen smart contracts

Blockchains can also directly benefit from 5G in terms of functionality and performance.

An example of this is smart contracting. Blockchain smart contracts often depend on oracles. These oracles provide external data to the contract. Of course this information can only be transferred with internet access. For applications such as supply chains, 5G can facilitate these oracles in remote areas where they would otherwise not be possible.

Network improvements

Blockchains can also derive network improvements from 5G.

The huge increase in range and bandwidth, in parallel with the lower latency thanks to edge computing, could lead to an increase in additional nodes in public block chains. By extending coverage to remote areas and through improved connectivity with non-static devices such as mobile phones and tablets, network participation can increase significantly and thereby improve security and decentralization.

Moreover, as a result of delay reductions, developers would have more room to experiment with reductions in block times, thereby increasing the processing capacity on the chain. This in turn would provide much better support for IoT devices that use block chains for settlement, consensus, and security.

A multiple relationship

To really appreciate the values ​​of 5G, IoT and blockchain, you should consider them synergistic instead of offering completely separate value propositions. With the right architecture, this technology stack – together with two-part solutions, edge computing, virtual reality, augmented reality and IoS – sets an unprecedented value, while at the same time working conditions, employment and recreation are radically changing.

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