Nodle: Connecting and Securing the Next Trillion Things
Nodle (Sp 20) aims to equip every Internet of Things (IoT) device, shipping pallet, shipping container, electric scooter, and much more with the ability to connect to the internet without the need for wifi or cellular connection. They achieve this by leveraging existing smartphones, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) enabled routers, and blockchain technology to create a network of secure, privacy-first online devices that are able to tunnel the traffic for devices that cannot connect to the internet themselves.
Micha Benoliel, Nodle’s Co-founder and CEO, is taking lessons from his previous ventures Open Garden and FireChat, by setting out on a mission to bring the next trillion IoT devices online, securely and at low-cost. Through the use of a custom protocol they developed in-house, known as Rendez-Vous, they are able to tunnel traffic securely and efficiently through multiple devices acting as routers. To ensure these requirements, Rendez-Vous is deployed on Nodle’s own chain, built on Substrate, to handle certificates,authorization, and authentication.
This new technology enables Nodle to offer 3 types of services to their customers. First, they offer a smart-asset API, which is aimed at large scale operations such as consumer electronics manufactures or smart cities that may need to collect data from sensors. Physical assets or goods can be efficiently tracked and located with the use of very small and cheap Bluetooth stickers (receivers) Second, Nodle offers security certificates on their platform. Compared to HTTPS on the web, Nodle is able to verify the identity of a device and encrypt all traffic flowing out of the device. This is done using their distributed infrastructure of keys on-chain. Thirdly, in the near future Nodle will use the data that it has collected for good by offering services to build smarter cities, better trade routes, as well as for hedge funds, and more accurate advertising.
In order to incentivize the growth of their global wireless network, Nodle has deployed an eco-friendly cryptocurrency remote-mining solution called Nodle Cash. Nodle Cash is the reward that pays out the carrier of the data traffic, whether that be your own smartphone running the Nodle Cash app or a Bluetooth-enabled IoT device carrying another device’s data traffic. Any device running Nodle’s SDK that is connected to the internet can also earn Nodle Cash.
Since Nodle is software-only and uses low energy Bluetooth, it does not follow the traditional, wasteful mining techniques, which are detrimental to the environment and have unfortunately earned the crypto mining space a bad reputation over the years.
Nodle is truly leveraging blockchain technology for the betterment of society. While chatting with Micha, he said one of his goals was to create a technology that enables everyone to access the internet for free. This has been his life’s passion, and the root inspiration for a majority of his work; Nodle seems like the closest realization of his dream to date. The idea that you can have an app running in the background of your phone that’s not distracting (I can personally attest to this), and earns you money in real-time, may sound too-good-to-be-true — but it’s a reality.
Nodle has launched its own blockchain network, Nodle Chain, which leverages the Polkadot Network and the Parity Substrate. Why? Why differ from the norm of building on top of an existing chain and go through the expensive and timely process to create their own? We consider these questions and the challenges Nodle faced with existing technologies: scalability and security.
The Nodle network as of 2020 has processed 1.3 million transactions per day. Comparing this to a technology such as Bitcoin which sees traffic in the 300,000 transactions per day with noticeable problems, it is obvious that Nodle’s team needed to consider the bigger picture as their network continues to grow. Having a network that is in-house will allow Nodle to gradually scale up Nodes as they see fit as well as monitor traffic more closely to avoid congestion, allow for faster lookup, and monitor the network more closely.
Nodle handles personal data that is transmitted through foreign devices. This raises many security concerns as if the data is not properly secured the routing device may have access to the data. Using a third party chain raises issues due to the fact that even though Nodle uses a proprietary security protocol, Rendezvous, the owner of the Node can still see the traffic being transmitted over it. The only way to completely mitigate all attacks and have a lockdown of the network is to control it end to end. This is a huge step forward for Nodle as it means that they have deployed the first security-first blockchain for IoT devices.
In their pursuit to create the most robust network for IoT devices, Nodle Chain is one step forward to a secure and decentralized Internet. With the launch of Nodle Chain, Nodle is positioning itself as the one-stop-shop to bring devices online without the need for them to have an Internet connection.
“The launch of [Nodle Chain] is a leap forward for the IoT and Blockchain ecosystems. It represents the first public version of a central component of The Nodle Network that will be in charge of securely and privately maintaining IoT data transmitting through the network.”- Eliott Teissonniere