Interview: The Internet Of Things And New Solutions

This article originally appeared on Forbes by Gerald Fenech.

The Internet of Things is something that seems to be continually growing. We caught up with Fred Leung, the CEO of IOTW – an innovative solution in this space which claims to be one of the fastest solutions on the blockchain.

Fred Leung is a Bachelor of Science and holds a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering.  He has 30 years’ experience in the semiconductor industry with experience in chipset design and the production, sales, and marketing of same.  He founded a number of semiconductor design companies in Hong Kong and is co-inventor of PoA (Proof of Assignment) for blockchain application and has created the world’s first AMD CPU chipset for notebooks.  Working for Acer Labs, he pushed Acer in Taiwan.  He also set up the wireless division in Chung Nam Electronics with profitable products accepted by Dell, Lexmark, Korean Telecom.  Fred Leung owns 10 chip design patents.

As the IoT (Internet of Things) is slowly making headway, we were interested in finding out from Mr Leung, as the CEO for IOTW, what is to be expected from their new product. Leung is confident that their blockchain IoT infrastructure has the potential to revolutionize the future IoT industry. “We expect to achieve big data collection by micro-mining capability as mass adoption incentives and to achieve cost-saving energy efficiency.”

Leung explained that Micro-Mining Capability will be seen as Incentives in that they will empower any connected device with Micro-mining capability without changing the hardware by using the new consensus protocol PoA (Proof of Assignment), a randomized queueing system. This is, according to Leung, ‘a fair game’. This will add extra value to existing IoT devices and encourage households to purchase more IOTW-enabled devices while enjoying the free blockchain mining rewards as incentives.

 So far, not many blockchain projects around the world have the technologies to integrate blockchain into mass IoT devices.  With micro-mining function on IoT devices, the adoption of IoT and blockchain can be much more rapid than public blockchains are today and the blockchain scalability issue will be solved.

Unlike the mainstream blockchain mining under the protocol of PoW  (Proof of Work), which requires a large amount of energy consumption and computing memory resources,  IOTW saves costs by being very environmentally friendly and energy efficient.  This small “Digital Power System” chipset can help non-IoT devices convert to IoT devices by simplifying the power system hardware. The cost is lower than using traditional analog power systems in appliances. Therefore, it can also reduce a household electricity bill in higher power devices.

Leung explained that the IOTW ecosystem collects big data across different brands of IoT devices, and directly connects end users of IoT devices and IoT manufacturers through their blockchain, allowing each user to profit from the efficient and controlled shared use of big data. This can be valuable to IoT device manufacturers, research institutes, and sellers for making more informed decisions.

IOTW claims that it will take blockchain mining to every household by a threefold approach: Technology, IoT manufacturer ads, and the IOTW experienced team.

  • The technologic approach will set in when they will integrate PoA into many IoT devices by just upgrading the firmware with their system codes. Then every IoT device in a household will have a fair chance to reap the blockchain mining rewards.
  • Secondly, IOTW’s blockchain mining can go public at scale through IoT device manufacturers and retailers’ advertisements.
  • The third pillar is based on the experience of the team because, as Fred Leung states, ‘Our founders and some senior staff have many years of experience working in semiconductors, IoT hardware industry, and silicon valley. The team have over 20 IPO experience in total. All this experience and network can help us deploy our products at a rapid scale to households’.

On being asked why this is a Green Micro-Mining project and how can energy costs be close to zero, Leung explained that their micro-mining technology is so unique that in their PoA algorithm, each IoT device is required to perform some simple but very important cryptographic task, known as “Micro Mining”. On the other hand, these IoT devices are not required to handle the transaction ledger, which is maintained by a distributed Trust Node system. Additionally, the system allows any IoT device to mine IOTW coins without hardware changes or additional costs. In fact, Leung stresses, ‘”I want to emphasize that it will only require $0.50 cents of electricity to mine for every device annually.  So it will certainly improve energy efficiency’.

 Interestingly, IOTW has been selected out of 2,000 companies to join the 500 Startups Batch 24 Accelerator Program. This is what Leung has to say about this.

 “500 Startups is one of the topmost VC firms and seed accelerators in Silicon Valley. We are very pleased to be selected from 2000 companies which applied for its Batch 24 Accelerator Program to join this top program in Silicon Valley. The acceptance rate is about 1%. Four out of 21 companies are blockchain companies in Batch 24 and IOTW is one of them. More importantly, we are the only Hong Kong startup selected into this batch. This is a huge recognition for our technologies. And it is a milestone for IOTW to gain great support from the program and it can take IOTW  to the next level”.

 With regards to the Instant payment System, Leung explained that their transactions move fast.  “On average it only takes 1- 1.5 second to process across the Pacific. We aim to secure the network processing at a much higher volume, up to 1 million transactions per second in the future’”

 By 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices.  How does IOTW plug into such a vast infrastructure?

“IOTW can plug its blockchain technology PoA (Proof of Assignment) and Micro-mining codes into the connected devices without changing the hardware and with minimal electricity cost by just embedding IOTW system codes into their next firmware update. Once activated, this allows the device to join the IOTW blockchain ecosystem and start mining”.

IOTW plan to deploy IoT blockchain products like light bulbs and smart power plugs, which have been tested in a large volume. They are now testing other connected devices like setup box to be IOTW-enabled to do micro-mining. They are also working on partnering with other IoT device markers to make more connected devices IOTW enabled.  ‘Therefore, as we grow and expand, there will be hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of IOTW-enabled products deployed in the coming years’ says Leung.

We asked him to explain further on DAPP and transaction speeds and how these differ from other IoT setups?

IOTW is a multi-Layer Protocol to Enable Micro Mining on Connected Devices for both domestic and commercial applications. We have also built our decentralized e-commerce platform, which will be launched in around March 2019. There will be no “middleman” involved and retailers on our marketplace can reduce centralized sales and marketing channels, reduce selling costs, and make transactions more efficient with our instant payment system.  Our current instant transactions are at 3,000 TPS scalable up to 1 million TPS via clustering, interoperability and network advancements. Other partners plan to do counterfeiting services because, as blockchain is a decentralized distribution Ledger, data from IoT devices is permanently stored and is non-editable.  So, by installing our blockchain solutions, IoT device makers can track the records and avoid frauds. Currently, we are discussing to activate this service’.

As for the difference between  IOTW and its competitors in the market, Leung said,  IOTW is different from IOTA and IOTex, which are similar to us we believe we are in the position to neutralize them”

IOTA is legacy blockchain and has been built on Tangle, which is based on DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph). MIT Digital Currency Initiative’s researchers have disclosed that they have found some “serious cryptographic weaknesses” in the implementation of IOTA. It does not have micro-mining capability and reward systems flexibility on IoT devices. Therefore, lacking in full node implementation,  IOTA can only handle few TPS so far.

“At IOTW, we have real blockchain technology solutions that enable mining via any connected devices in a household without added hardware cost and end users can get mining rewards flexibly and fairly. As said before, our applications are diverse: Decentralized E-commerce platform, Payment system, Big Data Collection, Other enterprise usages.  We can handle 1,000+ IoT devices at the same time with a single Trust Node”.

The IOTex ledger is similar to IOTW. However, its user growth is relatively slow, and it does not offer micro-mining as encouragement, though it has mining functionIOTW has also developed “Block Witnessing Protocol” which provides extra network security compared to traditional blockchain architecture. IOTW does this by utilizing a witnessing pool, making the network smaller and holding a hundred less copies of ledgers, while providing robust security, thereby significantly reducing the cost of the network.

Fred Leung concluded by stressing that what IOTW differs is its future mass IoT Blockchain deployments via partners and micro-mining capability as mass adoption encouragement.

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