Use Case: Creating an Interoperability Layer for the Physical World

Written by TJ

On October 13, 2022

Prominent investor and entrepreneur Peter Theil once stated that  “we’ve seen innovation in the world of bits, but not in the world of atoms”. This was in response to the question of whether technology has lived up to its promise to make the world a better place. 

The advent of blockchain technology has brought profound change to how we perceive money, governance, and the potential of open permissionless networks to create value. Yet this innovation has almost entirely been confined to the world of bits (i.e the internet and its digital economy). Meanwhile, the world of atoms (hardware, physical infrastructure, manufacturing, and supply chains) have seen almost no improvement from blockchain technology. 

For a variety of reasons, including regulations, costs, and liability, Innovation in the world of atoms has been notoriously more difficult to achieve than in the world of bits. 

Yet it is in the world of Atoms that technologies can truly build solutions that improve people’s lives. 

After all, we’re still physical beings that live in the real world and must consume physical things for survival. No amount of innovation in the metaverse will ever change this fact. 

So when it comes to the world of atoms, where are the key challenges we face and how can blockchain technology solve them? 

The first major challenge is broken supply chains. A common opinion shared by experts on humanitarian aid is that much of the world’s remaining problems with hunger do not stem from a lack of food but actually the inability to efficiently transport food and other resources to at-risk areas. 

Fundamentally, the problem is a combination of a lack of transparency and poor logistics that make delivering food, medicine, and other important things to people who need them.   

While blockchain cannot solve all of these problems, it is clear that by representing physical identities and goods on decentralized and permission-less databases, we can at least improve the amount of visibility into the logistics process and identify problem areas more efficiently. 

The Accumulate Network is designed to be a universal identity, audit, and communication layer for the traditional economy. Using ADIs, we can assign unique identities to individuals, groups, as well as physical goods such as bags of food, medicines, or other equipment. 

Improving IoT devices

One of the areas that we specialize in is the integration of IoT devices to blockchain networks. Currently, the challenges with IoT involves lack of efficient methods to store all the data that accumulates on IoT sensors, poor interoperability between manufacturers of these devices, which leads to siloed networks, and of course all of the classic problems that are incurred from centralized data systems, including weak security and lack of censorship resistance. 

IoT devices are a necessary solution to the problems of broken supply chains that make the distribution of food and medicines to at-risk populations more challenging. From a commercial standpoint, a unified supply chain network can radically reduce the costs for companies to distribute their goods globally and increase the efficiency in which faulty products can be identified and recalled. 

Accumulate is able to solve the problems of traditional IoT devices by assigning a unique digital identifier or ADI to each device, which can be controlled by wallet keys and managed through sophisticated authorization schemes. This enables owners of different sets of devices to decide how they want to share data with each other. 

For example, Governments and nonprofit organizations could coordinate food distribution efforts by sharing data on a single Accumulate chain. While non-profits assign ADIs to food packages that are being monitored by IoT sensors, governments could assign ADIs to citizens via their phone records. This would allow a link to be formed between the aid being distributed and the recipients in a way that is transparent and immutable. 

Proof of Physical State 

One of the ways in which innovation in the world of bits is also helping to accelerate innovation in the world of atoms is through the growing capacity for hardware devices like smartphones and IoT sensors to store and transmit data unto blockchain networks. 

This opens the door for critical problems in the physical world to be solved through real-time verification of data by people on the ground level. For example, we could create peer-to-peer delivery networks for transporting goods to places that are hard to reach or verify details about properties that require constant updates to be published to the blockchain in order for their ADIs to reflect their most recent physical state. 

By assigning ADIs to hardware devices like smartphones or IoT sensors, we can more easily enable owners of digital tokens that represent physical goods to verify proof of physical state. This is simply cryptographic proof that the details regarding something or someone in the physical world are in sync with their digital representation in the metaverse.

The easier it is to link the physical world with the digital one, especially when it is decentralized and transparent, the better companies and individuals can coordinate action in real-time to solve problems related to transportation, infrastructure, logistics, and more. 

Ultimately, the Accumulate Network is not only trying to solve critical problems with blockchain scalability and adoption through our identity layer, but also creating the infrastructure that will connect the physical world to the digital in a way that is decentralized, transparent, and propels further innovation to occur in the physical world.

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