FAQ

Updated August 18th, 2016
What is the Open Registry for IoE?

The Open Registry for IoE is a blockchain-hosted registry to establish and record a “birth certificate” level of digital identity for physical things, starting with IoE microchips, and extending to sneakers, handbags, wine, drones, automobiles, etc.

Why does it make sense to establish a registry for the identity of things on a blockchain?

We believe a blockchain-hosted solution is best suited to build the interoperability needed for the Internet of Things. While there are many IoE platforms that provide developers with the ability to track smart objects, they do not provide primitives and processes that support identities that can be trusted across IoE solutions. In blockchain jargon, they do not provide identities in a trust-less domain. To visualize the constraints of an IoE world without interoperable identity, imagine an alternate universe where mobile phones can only dial numbers from the same network provider and Internet access points can only connect to Web servers on that Internet provider’s network. Like phone numbers for the phone network and IP addresses for the Internet, interoperable identity is an essential pillar for the IoE. The Open Registry for IoE is the fast track to delivering this essential IoE component. It also delivers a quick win: an authenticity platform.

Who should use the Open Registry for IoE?

Brands and manufacturers can create immutable and interoperable digital product identities on the Open Registry. These identities will help eliminate counterfeiting and fraud, while paving the way for many kinds of new consumer IoE engagement.

Developers can use the Open Registry to power new kinds of user engagement experiences that utilize strong digital identities, so that a consumer can learn about, perform actions on, and engage with physical objects all around them through their smart phones and augmented reality headsets.

Consumers can interact with products in new ways that were previously unimaginable.  

What can a developer do with the Open Registry for IoE today?

A developer can order NFC or BLE identity chips (check-out our starter kit), register the identity chips to the Ethereum blockchain using the Registration SDK (check-out our “try it now” simulation), and then incorporate the Verification SDK into an App.  This enables verification of the unique identity of any physical item and can immediately support applications for authenticity and anti-counterfeiting.

The standard verification protocol also empowers the development of many new kinds of IoE product engagement functionalities.  Over time the collection of available plug-ins will continue to grow as developers contribute to this open source project.

Which microchip vendors and resellers are you currently working with?

  • Silicon Labs
  • NXP
  • Identiv
  • SmartTrac

How does one get permission to register new products on the Open Registry?

The Open Registry for IoE is an open protocol that any company or individual can utilize.

How does the protocol delineate or distinguish authentic products from counterfeits?

Registrants confirm their identity by posting their Registrant ID (i.e. Ethereum public key) to the Physical Address page on their homepage as a public proclamation of their Registrant identity on the Open Registry for IoE. Anyone interacting with a product registered to the Open Registry can use the Open Registry Explorer to cross-check the Registrant ID associated with the product with the published ID on the Registrant’s homepage. In the near future, we expect client-side applications including the Open Registry Explorer to perform this cross-check automatically.

What is your product development roadmap for the next year?

Non-protocol enhancements:

  • Identity confirmation for Registrants
  • Service URL schema build-out
  • Standard registration methodologies for non-crypto IoE chips
  • Integrations with IoE cloud hosting services
  • Plug-ins to support user engagement, i.e. sign the thing, buy-the-thing, proximity based notifications, etc.

Protocol enhancements:

  • Item status, e.g, lost, stolen, recalled
  • Ownership:
    • - Supply chain accounts: transfer chips from silicon chip company to downstream players
    • - Consumer accounts: claim, transfer

Can the data registered to the Open Registry be deleted?

The Open Registry is built on top of Ethereum, a public blockchain protocol. This means that all data published to the Open Registry is stored publicly in the blockchain forever and cannot be removed from the blockchain’s history. Currently this information is accessible to anyone through the Open Registry Explorer, and in the future we also expect it to be available through numerous clients and API’s.

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum (Eth) is a Turing-complete blockchain protocol that utilizes smart contracts.  A blockchain is a decentralized network of computers that are paid fees to come to consensus on the state of a public ledger. You can think of the Ethereum blockchain as a tamper-proof public database that can run smart contracts. Smart contracts are pieces of code that run on the blockchain, execute the logic they are programmed to run, and have a variety of uses. For more information about Ethereum and smart contracts programmed in Solidity (the main programming language of Ethereum), these links will be helpful:

Is Ethereum secure?

We believe that the current maturity of Ethereum’s Solidity programming language and smart contracts framework is suitable for registering and verifying IoE chip and product identities. As a non-monetary use case, the Open Registry for IoE does not depend on function calls or operations that have been problematic in some early monetary use cases.

What is the cost per registration of an item to the registry?

Currently at approximately $12 per Ether, the cost per item registration on Eth is 1 cent to 4 cents, depending on how much data is included. We have an ongoing project to explore how to bring the cost per “thing” registration down to 1/10th of a penny or less.

My current or historical products don't contain secure NFC or BLE chips. Can I add plain-text unique IDs found on many every day products to the registry?

Yes, despite the public nature of the registry, unique IDs can often be partially hashed and uploaded to the Open Registry for IoE without compromising or exposing them. Adding plain-text unique IDs and unencrypted NFC & BLE chips to the registry may not provide the same cutting edge level of counterfeiting deterrence, but there are numerous benefits for consumers. Your customer base will be enabled to leverage the authenticity verification provided by the registry and will benefit from many of the interoperable user engagement plug-ins on the platform. Please reach out to us at support@chronicled.com for more information.

If I am a Brand, and I register all of my consumer products to the registry, are there concerns about publication of business critical data?

No, a Registrant can choose to register things anonymously and use a proxy cloud hosting service for digital content.

Are there consumer privacy concerns, with products being registered to a blockchain?

To use the Open Registry for IoE, no personal data must be stored on the blockchain. The sponsors of the registry believe that blockchains will serve a critical role in protecting consumer privacy in a world of internet connected things.

What is Chronicled?

Chronicled, Inc. is a San Francisco based company with expertise in developing software at the intersection of blockchain technology, IoE and user engagement. In addition to sponsoring the development for the Open Registry for IoE, the company has initially seeded the open registry and the company’s commercial client-side applications with numerous partners in the market for limited edition collectible sneakers.