IBM Patent Appears To Tackle the IoT/Blockchain Conundrum

According to a patent application discovered last week (which was originally filed in October 2016), IBM engineers detail a new blockchain configuration that may help secure Internet of Things (IoT) device networks.

Per the application, which was originally found and reported on by reporter David Floyd, the new blockchain configuration would use "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."

According to Floyd's article, the traditional blockchain configuration used for bitcoining isn't sufficient for connecting IoT devices, "largely because a smart toaster or lightbulb can't harness the power of a warehouse full of specialized computers," he explains. "At the same time, a large-scale blockchain mine could conceivably have an easier time of attacking a network of IoT devices and, thus, potentially compromise it."

The IoT/blockchain conundrum is also well explained in this article.

IBM's use of proof-of-work and how it's stored, plus a predefined set of nonce values, as covered in the patent, appears to solve this issue by limiting both the competition within the blockchain for power and outside threats from attempting to control that power.

For more information, read the full article or check out the patent application itself.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital strategy. She also serves as executive editor of the group's media Web sites, and you'll even find her byline on, the group's newest site for enterprise developers working with AI. She recently gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web technology may impact publishers' bottom lines. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.