Cryptocurrency technology, also known as the blockchain, is being used for many different projects as we speak. Chronicled, a startup which raised over US$3m earlier this year, introduced a rather intriguing concept. Their IoT delivery drone uses Ethereum blockchain technology. The microchip embedded within the machine communications with the blockchain during the delivery to provide real-time information.

Blockchain-based Drones Are A Real Thing Now

In the world of Internet of Things, there is a lot of excitement when new projects are announced. In the case of Chronicled, that excitement seems more than justified, as they have combined some of the most exciting technologies into one working package. Drones are very popular as of late, although they are not used in a commercial setting on a large scale just yet.

But that situation may come to change very soon, thanks to their Ethereum blockchain-based IoT delivery drone. Chronicled made a name for itself as an up-and-coming startup earlier this year, when they raise US$3.4m. At that time, the team wanted to focus on counterfeit sneakers, and use blockchain technology to do so.  However, the business model pivoted to Internet of Things, as there appears to be a lot more potential in this industry right now.

The concept of their delivery drone is quite intriguing, to say the least. Chronicled uses custom microchips, which are placed in devices such as their drones, to interact with other Bluetooth-enabled devices. In the case of this drone, there is an NFC PKI chip, which creates a unique cryptographic signature. This signature is then added to the Open Registry.

This chip in the drone is powerful enough to establish communication with the Ethereum blockchain, which takes place when a delivery attempt is made. Users can request deliveries through a proprietary app. Once the drone reaches its intended drop-off location, it sends a Bluetooth request to a smart window – including the unique cryptographic signature – which is then verified on the blockchain. Once deemed valid, the window will grant the drone access to enter the premises and complete its delivery.

On paper, this entire concept sounds like something well worth exploring further by other companies. Even though Chronicled has only built a prototype so far, they demonstrated its capabilities not too long ago. It also goes to show why a decentralized blockchain-based solution is needed if drone delivery will ever be commercialized. Using central databases should be avoided, as they can easily be tampered with.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

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