How blockchain will disrupt the communication industry

From the CMC editorial desk: One of the things we’ve always wanted to explore is what mass adoption of blockchain technology looks like. Here we have some examples of how it will change the face of the communication industry in multiple ways!

Having seen the cryptocurrency market’s nosedive and the fall of hundreds of ICOs, 2018 might have been seen as the worst year ever for crypto. However, as speculators quit the game upon the bursting of the bubble, reducing much of the buzz and noise in the market, 2019 can be the best time for a crypto reboot. Blockchain evangelists can take a break from the hype and think about how to put the fledgling technology to work in real-world industries.

The
communication industry is among the most
promising sectors to pair with blockchain. Due
to the centralized control of user information and infrastructure resources by a few telecommunications giants, the
sector is facing increased data breach risks
as well as development bottlenecks in 5G
and Internet of Things (IoT). Blockchain
can
break big telcos’ monopoly and facilitate the
growth of a sharing economy in the communication area, improving data security
for consumers and reducing costs for dApp developers and telecom providers.

Data security + blockchain

The
centralized social media and communication industry is notorious for data
breaches. A quick recap of the biggest data scandal last
year: UK-based voter-profiling firm Cambridge Analytica manipulated a loophole
in the Facebook API to obtain data of at least 87 million Facebook users
without their knowledge and sold the data to Trump campaign in 2016.

User information are vulnerable on centralized apps
because all the servers handling sensitive data are generally deployed on a
limited number of geographically-centralized locations. Hackers or governments
can, with some effort, pinpoint the ideal attack vector, just like how having many
eggs in just one basket makes them particularly easy to be found by predators.
Once hackers or governments find security loopholes on a few servers, they can
quickly broaden their attack to the entire network and seize every user’s information,
most of which are personally-identifiable information (PII).

On
a decentralized version of a social media network like Facebook, however, users may be more
comfortable posting on their own timelines, as there is no centralized app
operator like Facebook for malicious organizations or individuals to steal
information from. On blockchain-based apps, user data are relayed, validated
and stored on a peer-to-peer network, which consists of nodes scattered across the globe owned and operated by numerous individuals
or groups independent of each other. To snoop on and tamper with certain data,
hackers have to pinpoint the specific nodes that
handle certain targeted data or take down the whole blockchain network — either
approach will generate huge costs and render the
hack economically impracticable.

Cloud communication +
blockchain

5G, the next-generation wireless technology on the
horizon, will pave the way for a wide range of new applications, including
autonomous vehicles, Internet of Things (IoT), Smart Cities and VR/AR live
streaming, all of these dependent on the real-time transfer of massive volumes
of data.

Compared
with apps on 4G networks, 5G-powered communication apps, such as ultra
high-definition VR live streaming apps, will require
veritably more servers and bandwidth to process the deluge of data with low
latency. Small to medium-sized app
operators
cannot afford the costs if they have to set up and maintain in-house servers
along with other backend infrastructure, all
by
themselves.

The
blockchain-powered sharing economy is poised to solve this problem. Blockchain can enable a peer-to-peer network, similar to a
decentralized version of Amazon Web Services, where any individual or group around
the world can share their idle servers and bandwidth to provide cloud communication services for app developers. The tamper-proof
consensus mechanism on the blockchain measures the contribution of nodes and
rewards them with tokens accordingly, something a centralized infrastructure
provider does not do to align incentives for such a global coordination effort.

Free of any centralized middlemen or arbitration
bodies, a tokenized decentralized cloud communication network is more
transparent than any centralized competitors. As new nodes continue to join the
decentralized network, it can quickly become large and strong enough to support
data-heavy communication applications at scale in the upcoming 5G era. Companies
deploying their apps on a peer-to-peer communication cloud on the blockchain can
utilize the shared services and resources to easily reduce their development
and maintenance costs, and shorten the development cycles.  

On a truly decentralized peer-to-peer cloud network,
providers should be able to offer unique services rather than being confined to
the service standard and pricing rules set by a centralized governing entity,
and customers should have access to the specific services that fit their
diverse needs. At TOP Network, a smart contract enables app developers to submit
information on the services they need, and service providers to post what they
can offer. Based on a series of advanced protocols, the smart contract
transparently matches app developers with the right service providers they are
looking for and monitors the execution of deals.

IoT + blockchain

When
IoT truly arrives on the world stage, machine-to-machine communication will enable
advanced capabilities such as a car ordering
meals
for the driver, and driving to collect food from an
automated drive-thru booth. Without tangible cash, credit card or third-party payment apps in sight, the transaction is completed between the car
and the booth, which are connected and share data with each other.

Bringing
this futuristic scenario into the reality is likely to be “mission impossible”
(or at least rather difficult) under centralized business models. To integrate a car into the IoT
system, the automaker has to build servers across the nation so that the car has wireless connection with drive-thru booths in
different cities where a driver may travel. The automaker
and the fast-food joint will need to hammer out protocols to make the car and
the booth interoperable. The two companies will also have to develop a strong
firewall to protect consumers from hackers targeting large-volume data sharing. These development tasks
will lead to unaffordable infrastructure and maintenance cost if companies work
in a centralized way.

But
blockchain can significantly reduce the cost and speed up the realization of
IoT. By utilizing the blockchain-based cloud communication networks mentioned earlier in this article, IoT smart device
manufacturers no longer need to deploy fundamental servers and other
infrastructure by themselves. The data security afforded by blockchain platforms frees companies from the headache of creating their own firewalls. Interoperability will not be an issue on
the blockchain. Devices on the same blockchain-based network will be able to
interact with each other from day one, since they adopt the same
consensus mechanism.

Blockchain
is not the panacea for all the problems and bottlenecks in the communication
industry, but it can facilitate a sharing economy that shatters the yoke of
infrastructure monopoly and unleashes the full potential of disruptive
innovations like IoT. With the power of decentralization, blockchain would play
a paramount role in a world of strengthened security, shared resources and large-scale machinery interconnectivity. 

About TOP Network

TOP Network is a decentralized open communication network that provides cloud communication services on the blockchain. TOP offers secure, low-cost services such as messaging, calling, video, VPN, CDN, IoT data sharing and more.

TOP Network is also a high-performance public blockchain platform designed to handle real-world business of any size or volume. Powered by cutting-edge techniques including three-layer network, two-layer sharding, two-layer lattice DAG and PBFT-DPoS, TOP can process several hundred thousand transactions per second on the blockchain.