Blockchain-Enabled Smart Locks: Secure Access Control

Blockchain-Enabled Smart Locks are devices that solve many security problems and can be locked or unlocked based on the state of a variable embedded in a smart contract.

What are Blockchain-Enabled Smart Locks?

A smart lock is a connected device that can be controlled by a digital device, such as a mobile phone. Recently, consumer-grade smart locks have become increasingly popular in homes. Their problem is their vulnerability to potential cybersecurity issues. Unlike consumer-grade locks, blockchain-enabled smart locks solve many security problems and can be locked or unlocked based on the state of a variable embedded in the smart contract.

Some business models were previously impossible due to security issues, now they are possible due to unlimited programmability and the fact that any payment method can easily be tied to the state of the lock

The smart lock is used as a basic logic layer for deciding whether to lock or unlock, adding versatility and security to the standard smart lock concept. To give an example – addresses can be linked to a digital identity – this gives the ability to track who ‘comes and goes’ – this allows the creation of time or entry codes. In homes, this is used to allow guests or staff to enter the house when the host is absent. It also opens up new possibilities for commercial applications in offices, hotels or rentals. For example, the lock can be programmed to open as a result of “paying rent” or a multi-digit high-security lock can be installed that requires permission to change state at a specific number of different addresses.

Blockchain-enabled smart locks are much more secure than traditional smart devices, with the same digital benefits. Lock and unlock instructions for smart locks can be sent from anywhere in the world, and given the security inherent in blockchain, this means that collaboration and joint signatures are possible without the need for additional security infrastructure.

Blockchain-enabled smart locks also have a couple of drawbacks. A blockchain-based solution can be vulnerable to loss of communication because it depends on access to a decentralised network of nodes. The loss of a private key means a lock without any recovery mechanisms. Public blockchain also has the potential problems of lack of privacy and processing time.

Despite these potential drawbacks, a blockchain-enabled smart lock can make new business cases possible because of its programmability and native connection to the token world.

The CEO of CoreLedger, a company that gives businesses of all sizes access to the benefits of blockchain technology, is Johannes Schweifer. He has co-founded several blockchain start-ups, including Bitcoin Suisse.

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