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  • How blockchain will disrupt the communication industry

    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.

    Mar-22-2019 02:43:43 PM