Today, at the San Francisco Blockchain Week, an 8-day blockchain conference featuring companies with cutting-edge applications based on the blockchain technology, marks the official debut of Blockduino, a hardware and software solution that brings the benefits of blockchain to machines.
"Blockduino is Arduino for the blockchain," told me Marco Graziano, the CEO, and founder of Visible Energy, the startup behind the technology. "With our solution, any device, from electric vehicle charging stations to LED lighting, vending machines or commercial air conditioning systems (HVAC), can now be blockchain-enabled and use trusted smart contracts and cryptocurrency to transact and make new performance-based business models finally viable."
Currently, the hardware-as-a-service model is not economically viable because of the high-cost of micro-transactions, the endless number of intermediaries - each extracting fees - and the lack of trust among them and consumers.
However, if successful, Blockduino could disrupt our entire economy, which is based on production output (GDP) and not performance or utilization, and move it instead to a more virtuous service-based or circular economy: Consumers will only pay for what they use while manufacturers build better and more durable products.
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Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.
Jean Baptiste Su: What is Blockduino?
Marco Graziano: Blockduino is a circuit board and a software layer that let anyone build blockchain and cryptocurrency-enabled hardware products without worrying about the details and set up of an infrastructure to operate them.
JBS: How does Blockduino work?
MG: The Blockduino software development kit (SDK) provides high-level functions to create smart contracts that interact with any Blockduino-enabled devices. The SDK is reminiscent of the way you would write code for the very popular Arduino board. In addition to operating remotely through a connection to the public Ethereum blockchain, Blockduino adopts a Trusted Execution Environment for its software. This allows for the high-level security and protection needed when dealing with a hardware wallet installed in a product in the field, and for value transactions in a public blockchain.
JBS: Why add blockchain, smart contracts, and cryptocurrency to hardware devices?
MG: By enabling the exchange of value provided by a product using the blockchain, smart contracts, and cryptocurrency, Blockduino allows manufacturers, brands, and individuals to reduce costs but most importantly to incentivize companies to build better and durable products.
JBS: Blockduino is open source so what's the business model?
MG: Our business model is to sell the secure hardware module that includes proprietary software with respect to the security of the device, and to assist manufacturers and product companies to enable their products for the blockchain and performance-based business models.