IBM explains in a patent application published Thursday, "one example method of operation may include determining a proof-of-work via a device and using a predefined set of nonce values when determining the proof-of-work, storing the proof-of-work on a blockchain, and broadcasting the proof-of-work as a broadcast message."
An IoT-focused blockchain network couldn't engage in the kind of competitive "mining" that powers the bitcoin network, largely because a smart toaster or lightbulb can't harness the power of a warehouse full of specialized computers. At the same time, a large-scale blockchain mine could conceivably have an easier time of attacking a network of IoT devices and, thus, potentially compromise it.
IBM's proposed solution wouldn't ditch bitcoin's proof-of-work system. Proof-of-work adds a block of data - transaction data, in bitcoin's case - to the blockchain by running it through a hash function. This is a simple process; the "work" comes from the requirement to obtain a hash that meets certain parameters, which calls for running the hash function again and again.
IBM envisions applying this invention to smart contracts, with use cases such as "peer to peer (P2P) energy networks, logistic networks, crowd-sourced weather networks, and the like."
We have recently reported that IBM cooperate with a consortium of gold and diamond companies in the jewelry supply chain to track engagement rings from the mine to the retail shelf via blockchain.