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The Internet of Things (IoT) is experiencing an exponential growth in a wide variety of use-cases in multiple application domains, such as healthcare, agriculture, smart cities, smart homes, supply chain, and so on. To harness its full potential, it must be based upon a resilient network architecture with strong support for security, privacy, and trust. Most of these issues still remain to be addressed carefully for the IoT systems. Blockchain technology has recently emerged as a breakthrough technology with the potential to deliver some valuable properties such as resiliency, support for integrity, anonymity, decentralization, and autonomous control. A number of blockchain platforms are proposed that may be suitable for different use-cases including IoT applications. In such, the possibility to integrate the IoT and blockchain technology is seen as a potential solution to address some crucial issues. However, to achieve this, there must be a clear understanding of the requirements of different IoT applications and the suitability of a blockchain platform for a particular application satisfying its underlying requirements. This chapter aims to achieve this goal by describing an evaluation framework which can be utilized to select a suitable blockchain platform for a given IoT application.
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Integrated Platforms for Blockchain-Enablement
Md Sadek Ferdousa,b,
, Kamanashis Biswasc,
, Mohammad Jabed Morshed Chowdhuryd, Niaz
Chowdhurye, Vallipuram Muthukkumarasamyf
aShahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh
bImperial College London, UK
cAustralian Catholic University, Australia
dSwinburne University of Technology, Australia
eOpen University, UK
fGrith University, Australia
The Internet of Things (IoT) is experiencing an exponential growth in a wide variety of use-
cases in multiple application domains, such as healthcare, agriculture, smart cities, smart homes,
supply chain and so on. To harness its full potential, it must be based upon a resilient network
architecture with strong support for security, privacy and trust. Most of these issues still remain
to be addressed carefully for the IoT systems. Blockchain technology has recently emerged as
a breakthrough technology with the potential to deliver some valuable properties such as re-
siliency, support for integrity, anonymity, decentralisation and autonomous control. A number
of blockchain platforms are proposed that may be suitable for dierent use-cases including IoT
applications. In such, the possibility to integrate the IoT and blockchain technology is seen as a
potential solution to address some crucial issues. However, to achieve this, there must be a clear
understanding of the requirements of dierent IoT applications and the suitability of a blockchain
platform for a particular application satisfying its underlying requirements. This chapter aims to
achieve this goal by describing an evaluation framework which can be utilised to select a suitable
blockchain platform for a given IoT application.
Keywords: IoT, Blockchain, Healthcare, Supply Chain, Smart Home, Smart City
1. Book Chapter
This chapter is the author’s abridged version. The full chapter is to be published
as a book chapter in Elsevier Advances in Computer (ADCOM) Volume 115: Role of
Blockchain Technology in IoT Applications.
Corresponding author
Email addresses: (Md Sadek Ferdous), (Kamanashis Biswas),
(Mohammad Jabed Morshed Chowdhury), (Niaz Chowdhury), (Vallipuram Muthukkumarasamy)
The book can be purchased from the following location:
2. Requirements, Comparison & Evaluation Framework
In this chapter, we have selected four IoT application domains: Healthcare, Supply chain ,
Smart city and Smart home. Each of these application domains and their corresponding use-
cases have been analysed to identify several functional, security and privacy requirements. The
functional requirements are:
F1 - Scalability: Scalability refers to the ability to grow in size and functionalities without
degrading the performance of the original system.
F2 - Multiple Sources: The systems must be able to handle data generated from multiple
heterogeneous sources and transmit such data with minimal to no latency.
F3 - Data Sharing: All the stakeholders within each application should be able to exchange
and share information, generated by heterogeneous data sources, internally within the
organisation as well as externally to other entities without any intermediary.
F4 - Inter-operability: A system developed for a particular application should be inter-
operable among a wide range of stakeholders of the application.
F5 - Identity Management: Every IoT devices and other human entities must be properly
identied within the systems. Therefore, a proper identity management framework must
be embedded into the systems of every use-case within an application.
F6 - Transparency: Systems for these applications should be able to create an auditable
chain of custody/activities from the data producer to the data consumer to ensure trans-
parency in supply chain and healthcare systems.
F7 - Traceability: For supply chains, traceability has become increasingly important due
to the growth in consumers’ interest about the origin of the products or services.
F8 - External Interface: Systems in a particular application domain should expose an
external interface by which it can be connected to the entities of other application domains
so as to enable novel business cases.
F9 - Payment Mechanism: Some application domains such as supply chain will inher-
ently require a payment system built into its system. Whereas, the support of payment
will enable additional business cases in other application domains.
F10 - Performance: Systems for these applications should maintain certain level of per-
formance in terms of response time, available storage or capacity so that they have the
capability to process high volume and high frequency data generated by plethora of IoT
F11 - Reliability: The reliability requirement of an application ensures the availability of
the system, up-do-date and accurate information as well as consistent ow of information
among all entities in the system.
The identied security requirements (denoted with S) and privacy requirements (denoted
with P) are
S1 - Secure Transmission: Data generated in an application must be transmitted, both
internally and externally, securely - that is with appropriate crypto mechanisms.
S2 - Fine-grained Access Control: Among these applications, healthcare and smart home
system would require authorising the right user and providing the appropriate access to
the data. Hence, a ne-grained access control mechanism would be mandatory.
S3 - Data Provenance and Integrity: The provenance and integrity of data generated
from a specic source must be guaranteed.
S4 - Fault Detection and Patching: There must be mechanisms to identify and trace
every faulty IoT device in the system.
P1 - Privacy Protection: Systems must protect the privacy of users and organisations
with appropriate mechanisms.
Next, based on our analysis, we summarise the requirements for dierent IoT applications
in Table 1. As per the table, we dierentiate between explicit and implicit requirements which
denote the mandatory and optional requirements respectively for a particular application.
Table 1: Summary of functional requirements for dierent applications
Application Explicit Requirement Implicit Requirement
Healthcare F1-F6, F11 F7-F10
Supply chain F1-F7, F9-F11 F8
Smart city F1-F5, F10, F11 F6-F9
Smart home F1-F5, F11 F6-F10
Similarly, we summarise the security and privacy requirements for dierent applications in
Table 2. In the table, the symbol ‘ ’ is used to denote that a specic requirement is crucial for
an application whereas a single ‘ ’ is used to denote that the requirement is desirable but not
mandatory for the corresponding application.
Recently, we have experienced the emergence of dierent blockchain platforms, specically
to support dierent IoT applications. To identify the suitability of these platforms for our selected
application domains, we need to analyse if these platforms satisfy the requirements presented
above. The selected blockchain platforms are: Waltonchain (, Orig-
inTrail (, IOTA (, (, IBM Watson
( Moeco ( and NetObjex (
Table 2: Summary of security and privacy requirements for dierent applications
Application S1 S2 S3 S4 P1
Supply chain
Smart city
Smart home
Next, we have evaluated these blockchain platforms using a set of properties. The result
of the evaluation and the set of properties used are presented in Table 3. We have used the
’ to indicate a certain property is satised and the ‘x’ to indicate the property is not sup-
ported by the respective platform. The ‘-’ is used to signify that the property is not applicable
for the platform. Moreover, the term ‘+Eth’ is used to indicate that the respective platform in-
herits the values of the properties from Ethereum (a public smart-contract blockchain platform, Finally, numerical values or textual explanations, where appropri-
ate, have been provided for other properties for corresponding platforms.
Since there are a number of blockchain platforms designed to provide dierent functionali-
ties, it is important to evaluate their applicability with respect to the identied requirements of
the selected IoT applications. This core set of requirements are then analysed to evaluate the
suitability of dierent blockchain platforms for dierent IoT application scenarios. Our analysis
has resulted in an evaluation framework which is presented in Figure 1.
The evaluation framework serves two main purposes:
it can be used to identify which requirements are satised by which platforms and
it can be used to choose (a) suitable platform(s) satisfying dierent requirements.
However, we propose to use the Performance requirement in a tie-break situation among sev-
eral platforms. For example, if an application needs to support Scalability, Data Sharing capability
with payment support, there are a few options to choose from: IOTA, OriginTrail, Waltonchain
and NetObjex. In such cases, we propose to use the Performance requirement (based on TPS) to
select the best one from these. This mechanism also provides additional exibilities. We can even
consider dierent quantitative consensus characteristics as part of the Performance requirement
to impose other quantitative selection criteria to select the best platform for an application.
3. Conclusion
This chapter has explored four dierent IoT applications: Healthcare, Supply chain, Smart
city and Smart home. For each of these applications, dierent use-cases have been analysed.
Based on this, several functional, security and privacy requirements have been identied. Next,
seven IoT-focused blockchain platforms have been examined to identify their inherent proper-
ties. Finally, combining the requirements of the IoT applications and properties of the selected
blockchain platforms, an evaluation framework has been created which is presented as a gure
(Figure 1). The graphical representation provides an intuitive visualisation to identify the suitable
blockchain platform(s) for a particular application under certain requirements.
Table 3: Comparison of blockchain platforms using relevant properties
Properties IOTA Walton
Slock.It Moeco IBM
Public x
Private x x x x
Transaction Speed 500-800
100 TPS
+Eth +Eth +Eth 160-
Fee x x Platform
Block creation time - 30sec +Eth +Eth Variable Platform
Consensus Tangle WPoC PoW +Eth +Eth PBFT.
can be
Network Size Large Large +Eth +Eth +Eth small to
Block Size - 225 +Eth +Eth +Eth can be
out and
Smart Contract +Eth +Eth +Eth Platform
Secure Channel x x x x x x
Veried identity - (For
x x
PrivateNetwork VerifiedIdentity
SecureChannel Payment Traceability
IBM Watson
IBM Watson
IBM Watson
IBM Watson
IBM Watson
IBM Watson
IBM Watson
IBM Watson
SmartHome SmartCity SupplyChain
Figure 1: Blockchain platform
... Distributed Storage: In fact, all records stored on the blockchain offer a continuous proof for malicious behavior without intermediation [50]. Within the supply chain, any suspicious deviation of the initially agreed conditions can be detected by monitoring the recorded information inside the blockchain [51] and thus gives the principal a sustainable evidence for opportunistic behavior. Malicious behavior prevention can be supported by regulatory support achieved with governance rules embedded in the Peer-To-Peer-network [52]. ...
... Integrity and consistency of the transactions can serve as a valid basis for distributed trust and prevents its unambiguity [44] Decisions to come to consortia agreements become traceable for ex-post investigations -> issuance of certificates or justification of sanctions [32] Cryptographic Mechanisms Public key cryptography architecture can ensure a mutually agreed insight of shared information [35] Prevention of information-tapping, even during the cooperation through access permissions [45] Securely hashed information by strong cryptography -> ex-post traceability of transactions and data [51] Tokens Medium of tracking by consumption [37]; ex ante safeguard as a security token with tamper-proof onboarding [38] Detecting suspicious behavior [46]; creditability through proof of origin [48] Non-copyable represen-tations of physical [26] or financial assets [57] can be traced back to ownership [56] and thus serves as a tamper-proof source for ex-post evaluation. ...
... Consensus Mechanisms: Apart from the sole blockchainbased consensus mechanisms, [55] provides an overview of alternative consensus mechanisms, which can be adducted, if conditions such as the throughput or the confirmation delay is decisionrelevant e.g. as in the fields of IoT. [51] give an overview of a plethora of functionalities required for IT technologies and IoT applications, especially for the supply chain and thus mentions the requirements of scalability, multiple sources, data sharing, interoperability, identity management, transparency, traceability external interface, payment mechanisms, performance and reliability. ...
... VOLUME 4, 2020 [9], [21], [23], [24], [33], [34] Security Privacy Privacy High N/A Requires protection against unauthorized access to the network and user data. [9], [25], [32], [35]- [37] Very High N/A Using the "Device-Of-Blockchain" protocol / using DTLS and / or TLS [6], [9], [45] Flexibility Compatibility Interoperability Very High N/A No need to keep a copy of the complete blockchain and do mining. IoT devices in the Blockchain network structure); Nodes of IoT devices do not need a direct connection to the blockchain network, the proxy server can act as a traffic regulator. ...
... IoT devices in the Blockchain network structure); Nodes of IoT devices do not need a direct connection to the blockchain network, the proxy server can act as a traffic regulator. [18], [19], [25], [40], [46]- [50] Ease of Use Interface Low N/A Using GUI, front-end components. [25], [28], [40], [51]- [53] The high requirement is because the integration of IoT and blockchain needs to be supported by a too high number of devices under the umbrella of massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC). ...
... [18], [19], [25], [40], [46]- [50] Ease of Use Interface Low N/A Using GUI, front-end components. [25], [28], [40], [51]- [53] The high requirement is because the integration of IoT and blockchain needs to be supported by a too high number of devices under the umbrella of massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC). The increase in functionality and size should not degrade the performance of the original system [21], [25]. ...
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... Transformative power of these technologies has a capability of enhancing sales, marketing, customer service, and the overall business competitiveness. Ferdous et al. [138] indicated that the IoT applications have a lot of potential but still experience privacy, security, and trust issues. Many of these issues could be addressed by the blockchain technologies that offer the support for anonymity, integrity, decentralization, and autonomous control. ...
... Disruptive technologies share many common attributes and also directly depend on each other in order to provide an effective solution. 48 Ferdous et al. [138] Investigate potential advantages of the blockchain and AI integration. ...
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The blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) have been the focal point of innovations and received increasing attention of the community over the last years. The blockchain technology is a distributed ledger of reliable digital records that are shared by the participating networks. AI, on the other hand, and its applications have been used for developing futuristic machines that are capable of having human-like intelligence. The use of both technologies in transportation systems has seen a tremendous growth that resulted in transformation of the transportation industry. Various modes of transportation, such as new transit systems, metro rails, high-speed rails, connected and automated vehicles, autonomous trains, and other emerging transportation modes (hyperloop, e-scooters, hoverboards), still face many challenges, including but not limited to economic issues, energy efficiency, social adoption, data privacy, lack of regulatory standards, reliability, security, and ethical issues. The use of blockchain and AI technologies has the potential to fill the technology gaps in transportation systems and effectively address the existing challenges. The convergence of both technologies is likely to yield significant advantages and provide a common distributed platform for data sharing, reliability, and decision-making. The present study is focused on understanding both technologies and their convergence in various industrial domains with a specific emphasis on transportation systems. A detailed state-of-the-art review of the relevant literature is performed to identify the main advantages and challenges in the applications of blockchain and AI in transportation systems and other related domains along with the ways to overcome these challenges. This study also reveals some critical future research needs for successful development and implementation of these technologies in transportation systems.
... Ferdous et al. [14] described in their study an evaluation framework for selecting the suitable Blockchain platform for IoT applications. ...
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The application of blockchain in food supply chains does not resolve conventional IoT data quality issues. Data on a blockchain may simply be immutable garbage. In response, this paper reports our observations and learnings from an ongoing beef supply chain project that integrates Blockchain and IoT for supply chain event tracking and beef provenance assurance and proposes two solutions for data integrity and trust in the Blockchain and IoT-enabled food supply chain. Rather than aiming for absolute truth, we explain how applying the notion of ‘common knowledge’ fundamentally changes oracle identity and data validity practices. Based on the learnings derived from leading an IoT supply chain project with a focus on beef exports from Australia to China, our findings unshackle IoT and Blockchain from being used merely to collect lag indicators of past states and liberate their potential as lead indicators of desired future states. This contributes: (a) to limit the possibility of capricious claims on IoT data performance, and; (b) to utilise mechanism design as an approach by which supply chain behaviours that increase the probability of desired future states being realised can be encouraged.
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