The meaning of blockchain, the technicality guide, and positive impact cannot be over-emphasized. With the inherent features that exist in blockchain, there are certain aspects that help fit into this edge economy.
Let's look at the case of Zededa. ZEDEDA is pioneering a cloud-native approach to the deployment, management and security of real-time edge applications at hyper-scale for solutions ranging from self-driving cars to industrial robots.
Zededa's vision is to create an edge economy that allows apps to run anywhere. This means moving applications that run in data centres, where there is a single owner of all the infrastructure that provides the app developer with its entire virtual environment, to places where infrastructure is not owned by a single party but the services and data exchanges must be trusted and not spoofed. This will be an extremely diverse environment- comprised of different hardware, different networks, etc. - that first needs a platform to abstract out the complexity to ease software development and allows the apps to ask for “services” that it can trust; analogous to how one spins up an environment in AWS (but in that case trust is inherent to “I trust AWS”). That makes the edge a “cloud native” edge.
Zededa stated that there are two aspects of blockchain that can help improve life and personal data.
1. Data provenance
2. Value exchange.
In the area of data provenance, the platform running the cloud-native edge should inherently check to be able to track immutably who is creating the data, when it was created, the owner of that data and what the owner’s rights are with regards to manipulating the data.
A data provenance service would allow an app developer to add devices to the network and have every piece of data tracked, enabling that data to be accessed by others, but not without express permission of the originator. This service can be provided to that app by a platform via smart contracts and blockchain. For example, today there are farm equipment companies offering IoT (Internet Of Things) services and apps to improve farming using the data collected, as well as data from other users in the area - hyper-local. But today, without blockchain, the only way the app provider can use the data in this way is to have the farmer sign an EULA (end user licensing agreement) that says “whatever you generate on this service belongs to me…” and the customer loses ownership of the data. If the app was built on a platform using the blockchain with smart contracts, every piece of data generated on my farm becomes identifiable and if I choose to leave the service, my data goes with me and/or can easily be deleted.
Value exchange is actually very compelling for IoT. We can take a public safety application in a Smart City as an example. If I have a facial recognition app in my Police Force and there is a dangerous criminal on the loose.
The city will have cameras they own, cameras owned by utilities and cameras owned by private companies. The owners can all have platform-enabled cameras using the blockchain network. As the use of cameras for the Public Safety app has value, I can “pay” all the camera owners to allow the use of the cameras, to run the facial recognition app temporarily, to help catch the criminal. Once the job is done, cameras are released and everyone is compensated for the use of their assets instantly. Smart Cities are a good example because typically the problem with investing public money for this type of infrastructure has terrible ROI (Return On Investment) as the asset sits unused the majority of the time. This would allow the very efficient use of funds as the city can develop applications and pay only for the “cloud native” resources required rather than deploying their own assets (sound familiar?).
This is the vision of the edge economy - a diverse hardware environment, with a diverse set of asset owners, application developers that want access to the data and an efficient platform for all of them to meet peer-to-peer.
It’s an ideal environment for blockchain services.