At first glance, they may not seem like they have anything to do with each other. But when technology trends as hot as the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain are involved, you can bet that lots of smart, ambitious people are working overtime to find ways to leverage both at the same time.\n\nThe biggest connection, naturally, revolves around security issues. Many companies and pundits see blockchain as a powerful way to bring scalable, decentralized security and trust to IoT devices, applications and platforms, which are similarly distributed and decentralized.\nEarlier this month, for example, IBM spotlighted blockchain\u2019s \u201cpotential to securely unlock the business and operational value of Internet of Things.\u201d The combination could securely track and register the history of individual items and packages, creating audit trails and enabling new types of \u201csmart contracts.\u201d And blockchain technology could provide a simple infrastructure for two devices to directly transfer a piece of property such as money or data between one another with a secured and reliable time-stamped contractual handshake.\nThe company hosted a panel \u2014 Combining IoT and Blockchain Toward New Levels of Trust \u2014 designed to help customers \u201cunderstand the benefits and constraints of blockchain as a public, decentralized, and autonomous technology that can serve as a foundational element supporting IoT solutions.\u201d\nOne panelist, Michael Casey, a partner at Agentic Group and a senior advisor for MIT Digital Currency Initiative (DCI), called blockchain \u201cthe truth machine.\u201d Economist and MIT professor Christian Catalini was more measured, saying blockchain is using an \u201cecosystem perspective\u201d to drastically reducing the \u201ccost of verification\u201d and the \u201ccost of networking\u201d for all kinds of transactions, including IoT transactions \u2014 without having \u201cto give too much control to one single entity.\u201d That can go a long way towards making IoT networks more resilient to attacks, he said.\n\n\n \n\n\nDell\u2019s Jason Compton, meanwhile, wrote last year that blockchain \u201coffers an intriguing alternative\u201d to conventional IoT security approaches. \u201cBecause blockchain is built for decentralized control, a security scheme based on it should be more scalable,\u201d Compton wrote. But he also warned that solving IoT security issues will be a tougher problem than Bitcoin, for example.\nBlockchain provides more than just security\nBut \u201cblockchain technology can improve not just compliance \u2026 but also IoT features and cost-efficiency,"\u00a0notes i-Scoop. Since blockchain is all about \u201capplications that involve transaction and interactions,\u201d it fits well to monitor IoT processes with \u201csmart contracts \u2026 automatically carried out when a specific condition is met, for instance regarding the conditions of goods or environmental conditions.\u201d\nSpecifically, blockchain can support IoT identity and discovery, facilitate micro-transactions and establish proof of payment among IoT devices.\n4 ways IoT can use blockchain technology\nIn fact, vendors are already working to make the IoT-blockchain connection in multiple ways. A recent whitepaper from Siva Gopal at Tata Consultancy Services suggest four ways IoT can exploit blockchain technology:\n\nTrust building\nCost reduction\nAccelerated data exchanges\nScaled security\n\nBasically, as i-Scoop puts it, \u201cBlockchain technology could provide a simple infrastructure for two devices to directly transfer a piece of property such as money or data between one another with a secured and reliable time-stamped contractual handshake.\u201d\nReal-world IoT-blockchain examples\nAccording to Hackernoon, Korean industrial giant Hyundai is backing IoT blockchain startup HDAC (Hyundai Digital Asset Currency), which is building its own private blockchain designed specifically for IoT.\nAnd Blockchain startup Filament recently announced a new chip designed to enable industrial IoT devices to work with multiple blockchain technologies. The idea behind Filament\u2019s Blocklet chip is to let [IoT] sensor data be coded directly into the blockchain. Again, the goal is to \u201cprovide a secure foundation for decentralized interaction and exchange.\u201d (Emphasis mine.)\nOf course, many operational and compatibility issues remain to be addressed, much less solved. And the legal and compliance issues raised by IoT-blockchain combinations have yet to be sorted out. Still, given the momentum behind technologies individually, and the potential synergies between them, the combination of IoT and blockchain is on track to arrive very soon.