Securing Edge-IoT Systems Using Blockchain and Smart Contracts

Securing Edge-IoT Systems Using Blockchain and Smart Contracts

This invention relates to the resources-management system of a computing network and addresses the ‘weak’ and ‘vulnerable’ aspects of IoT devices that are located on the edge of the network. It seeks to eliminate potential problems associated with security and control of these devices and connected applications via a system-level approach that monitors and manages the behaviors and resource usages of IoT (Internet of Things) devices.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data. IoT devices are expected to exceed 125 billion by 2030; the IoT will inevitably change the way we live and work with smart houses, workspaces, transport and even cities on the horizon. Many tech devices today leverage cloud computing, but some IoT developers are finding benefits in having more of the computing and analytics done on the devices themselves to reduce latency and better manage the masses of data generated by the IoT. This advanced, on-device processing is called “edge computing,” which provides new opportunities in IoT applications, especially those that rely on machine learning (e.g., language processing, obstacle avoidance, etc.).


IoT devices are built for easy access and simple operational ability, which makes adding necessary security features an increasing challenge for developers and manufacturers of these devices and connected systems. The increase in IoT usage provides an attractive target for criminals who can take advantage of a widely distributed, accessible network of devices to perform malevolent actions such as distributed, denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on corporate or government websites.


This innovative technology seeks to address this security gap in a scalable manner by leveraging proven, industrial-grade technologies such as blockchain, which provides a secure means of protecting data that is also extremely flexible, and smart contracts. It proposes an Edge–Chain framework that enables easy integration of security-related features into IoT devices. The framework consists of a credit-based resource management system where each device has a credit coin balance maintained in a database on a server. The balance determines the device’s ability to obtain resources from the server. The device with a larger balance is afforded quicker and faster access. The edge server records credits and debits and provides the necessary resources requested by the edge device based on a set of rules that takes predefined priority, application types and past behavior into account. Blockchain technology is used to keep the information in the database on the server accurate and unmodifiable by 3rd parties with vested interests while smart contracts enable execution of the scheduling rules in the edge chain system in an optimal and secure manner.

In an IoT system where this framework has been implemented, devices that have been hijacked for malevolent purposes would make too many requests to the server, which would not be in alignment with their profile and would also result in quick exhaustion of their credit balances. The server would flag this behavior as a deviation from expected and previously established norms and it would quickly freeze out the device, thus minimizing damage to the interconnected system and other applications.


  • Secure systems that use IoT for monitoring, management and control of processes and output – e.g. manufacturing, processing, chemical and other types of plants
  • Prevent unauthorized access to personal or enterprise-level systems via IoT devices located at the edge
  • Provide benefits such as data persistence, tampering resistance and validation of data stored across distributed systems


IoT is one of the fastest growing technology arenas today; new methods and techniques to help ensure security for applications enabled by the IoT are needed. Research firm Gartner indicates that worldwide security spending for IoT applications will reach $1.5B in 2018 – up from $1.2B in 2017, an increase driven by the fact that nearly 20% of enterprises that have deployed IoT-based application have seen cyber attacks in the past 3 years. The IoT security market is expected to reach $3.1B by 2021.


U.S. Patent spplication 16/383,291 entitled “Method and System for Secure Resource Management Utilizing Blockchain and Smart Contracts” was filed 04/12/2019 (priority dates of 04/13/2018 and 06/07/2018). Publication No. 20190319861.

Additional Details

Owner: University of Missouri-St.Louis

IP Protection Status: Pending Patent