Can Smart City Systems Be Secured By The Blockchain?

Journalist:
Justin OConnell @justinofconnell
February 5, 2016

Factom, a company intending to put land rights on the blockchain, has taken a considerable amount of flak for their recent failed attempts to establish a blockchain based land rights regiment.

The company highlighted in a statement the difficulty of making progress in an industry has followed the same process for centuries.

Every land title project comes with a tremendous history of challenges that go all the way back to the initial charter of a country,” Factom CEO Peter Kirby told CCN. “It’s the intersection of politics and property rights, so it’s bound to be contentious.

“We have to approach each of these projects with a healthy dose of humility and a good sense of humor,” he said.

Kirby says Honduran officials have been “gracious and hardworking,” but perhaps the timeline for such a project is longer than the typical technology initiative.

“In blockchain technology, three months seems like an eternity,” he said. “It’s not uncommon for a land title project to have a 4-year preliminary research period before a proposal is drafted.” With that said, the project is not dead-in-the-water.

“We’ll continue to work on the systems, but I wanted to communicate to the fans and detractors that a tamper-proof title system built on the blockchain wouldn’t be delivered in 2015,” he said. The company plans on marching on with the land title project.

We’ve reworked a lot of the software we built for titles and are using it as the core of our audit and compliance product,” Kirby said. “It will let any system have a blockchain back-end with permanent audit trails for any data.” Factom remains open-source.

“We believe that this will help developers create a whole new class of accountable and tamper-proof business systems,” he said. “This could be in insurance, financial services, medical records, or real estate – any system where record keeping is essential.” Factom has other projects underway as well.

“One of the most difficult problems in Smart City management is data fidelity,” he said. “If city decisions are automated based on sensor data, there are serious problems if that data gets manipulated.” That’s inspired a new kind of technology to make the innovation possible.

“So we’re working with partners to build Smart City Systems secured by the blockchain,” he said. “Every data point gets logged in an immutable database.”

According to Kirby, the company has been working on bettering the core Factom protocol, intent on unveiling blockchain based software packages for automated audit, identity, and synchronization in 2016.

“We’ve learned a ton working directly with customers on interesting projects, and it’s led to some clarity about what the industry needs,” he said. “Clear products that can plug directly into existing enterprise systems.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Last modified (UTC): February 5, 2016 13:53

Justin OConnell @justinofconnell

Justin is the founder of Cryptographic Asset