by Nuno Menezes
Blockchain technology is progressively becoming the Holy Grail for disruption throughout many industries. From new financial applications up to new ways of managing and distributing charity funds, the technology underpinning Bitcoin is making its way into everyday life.
Currently, there are a lot of projects in development; some are more concerned with the financial application and the creation the so much needed security protocols of tomorrow while others focus set on the social application of the blockchain technology. One of these new developments is the Air Platform, which has raised more than 2,000 bitcoin (more than $4 million) from more than 1000 participants.
Air is a secure digital identity system that focuses on enabling an enhanced management of a given identity, and a greatly simplified approach to Internet security. The AirPlatform is a highly secure platform for digital identity, built upon the Hyperledger blockchain. It uses an innovative approach to user engagement via the facilitation of user micropayments, thereby allowing or other parties to increase content targeting, and enhanced customer engagement. The process is done through removing the need for knowledge regarding Public key cryptography from a user perspective.
According to the whitepaper, one of the key considerations of the Air Platform system, is its use of Hyperledger’s Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT) consensus model. The development team has adopted this model due to the node and transaction scaling advantage over and above ‘traditional’ Proof of Work consensus models, as found implemented within the Bitcoin and current Ethereum blockchain implementations.
The PBFT consensus model enables each contributing node within the blockchain network to publish a Public key. Any message passing through this node is signed by the node to verify its format. Once there are enough responses that are identical are reached, then the consensus agreement is achieved which is translated into a valid transaction. Just as Bitcoin uses Proof of Work to confirm transactions without the need for a trusted third party, PBFT relies on the sheer number of nodes (at a minimum of four nodes) to confirm trust. As a result, the traditional Proof of Work ‘block mining’ is not required to run the protocol.
To support the operation and user adoption of the Air Platform, a mobile/cell phone application (initially for Apple iOS/Google Android, with other platforms to follow on an incremental basis) will be created for individual use. The application will secure and maintain an individual’s digital identity and is expected to be as ‘lightweight’ and as implicit to use for the individual as possible during operation. However, the application design principles of simplicity and ease of use are to be maintained during the application finalization process.
Air also implements a novel approach to user adoption whereby an individual will receive an XID digital token micropayment to a digital wallet (to be integrated within the Air cell/mobile phone application), upon a successful identity transaction having taken place. Upon completion of the transaction, a targeted advertisement (or other content) based on the user’s interests, will then be communicated via the cell/mobile application.
It is understood that Hyperledger fabric does not natively support cryptocurrency-based implementations. However, the Air Platform will facilitate a micropayment service to support potential consumer based applications using the Hyperledger’s Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT) consensus model.
Blockchain technology is enabling us to build decentralised tools to aiming for flexibility and ease of use. Ultimately, blockchain-based applications like the Air Platform are likely to become a part of our everyday life.