I am currently gathering information for my thesis about smart home implementaton with a use of blockchain. The blockchain usage is a requirement from my thesis supervisor and I have huge problem with finding out how blockchain technology may be useful in home automation.

What I have already considered is that there are two types of blockchain which I can use: private and public.

The public blockchain won't be useful at all, because of long time to achieve consensus and every transaction costs money (fee for miners).

I also don't see any adventage of private blockchain over regular database in such application. There are two reasons:

-I won't be able to store blockchain on every smart home device, because they all have limited space. So If I need to store blockchain in some centralised way, I think it looses it's immutability adventage.

-The public key cryptography is a very nice thing, but I can archieve that also in a regular database, so I don't see the need to implement blockchain for that.

So am I not seeing something? How use of blockchain may be helpful is such a small project?

Thanks in advance for any advice! :)


The only purpose I see of blockchain in IoT is access control. You go over this briefly in the last note regarding public key cryptography, but the database obviously adds a centralization point. You can easily do the public key aspect without any sort of aspect, by just setting up the IoT device with the public key from a keypair you create. Only signatures from your account can operate the devices, as well as give access to other keypairs to access the devices.

The difficulty with doing cryptography without a database is with access removal. It's easy to give access by just signing something with your authorized account, but then how do you take away access? You have to have some immutable history to prove you removed access. Using a public ledger for this adds interoperability (i.e. allows different vendors to use the same account based authorization system).

A smart home hub could probably just operate as a light client instead of having to download the whole blockchain as well.

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