Intriguing Use Cases of Cryptographic Location Technology
Smart Contracts, like those used by Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies, will fundamentally change the way we interact and do business by streamlining processes, reducing risk, and cutting out middle men. One thing all Smart Contract platforms lack, however, is a definitive way of proving that something or someone was in a given location at a specific time. An authoritative, trustless, and decentralized proof of location oracle is essential for the idea of Smart Contracts to be adopted by the mainstream world.
The XYO Network will be the definitive location oracle because of two core concepts it introduced: Proof of Origin and Bound Witnesses. The concept of Bound Witnesses guarantees that two different components of the XYO Network were in the same location at the same time. Proof of Origin ensures that the information a component provides is valid and resistant to falsification. Detailed information on both of these concepts is available in the XYO Network white paper.
Providing authoritative proof of location has the potential to change the world. Here are just a few ways the XYO Network will disrupt existing industries.
1. Implementing a Pay-on-Delivery eCommerce system using Smart Contracts and the XYO Network
The XYO Network incentivizes the reporting of locations and archiving of ledgers by awarding XYO Tokens to nodes within the web. For example, when a last-mile courier like a UPS driver encounters an XYO Network node on their route, the node will record their XYO Network ledger to be archived. Leveraging cryptoeconomics in this way takes advantage of a key feature of blockchain technology — it’s a trustless, decentralized system. This means it can offer third-party verification and a degree of reliability that current tracking systems simply can’t provide.
According to a recent study released by Comcast, more than 30% of Americans have had a package stolen from their porch or doorstep . As the market share of eCommerce continues to grow, this problem will only become more prevalent. Megasites like Amazon are experimenting with different solutions to offer confirmed secure delivery as a premium service to their customers.
By utilizing the XYO Network and XYO Tokens, companies can offer an independently confirmed ledger to track every step of a shipment’s progress, starting at the fulfillment center and ending with the package’s secure delivery within the customer’s home. As a trustless and decentralized system, the XYO Network provides independent confirmation not only of a package’s delivery, but of its entire shipping history. This also allows a retailer or eCommerce site to offer payment upon delivery, utilizing an Ethereum smart contract to protect the merchant from fraud or loss.
How it Works
When a customer finalizes an order, an Ethereum smart contract is created which will release payment to the merchant upon successful delivery of the purchased product. The shipment will include an XYO Network Sentinel, a low-cost electronic device that records its interactions with other devices on the XYO Network on its blockchain ledger. Other XYO Network devices will likewise record their interactions with packages being shipped. Every one of these interactions will be independently verifiable, asserting a web of locational certainty that stretches all the way back to the shipment’s point of origin. When the shipment reaches its destination, as confirmed by its interaction with XYO Network devices within the buyer’s home, the smart contract will be fulfilled, and payment will be released. Should there be a dispute, the ledger will provide a history that can confirm the delivery of the shipment or show where it went off track.
The terminal point of the transaction — the point where the package is delivered and payment is released — will be determined at the time the order is placed. Amazon has experimented with multiple secure delivery systems, including lockers in public places like convenience stores and even electronic locks that give their delivery team access to customers’ homes. XYO Network devices within these secure locations will confirm delivery. In an Amazon locker, the shipped package will interact not just with its locker, but with XYO Network devices in other lockers and the customers that use them. In the customer’s home, the XYO Network nodes could include the customer’s phone, IoT devices, and even the Amazon Echo that was used to place the order.
2. Protecting public safety and privacy by creating a universal location protocol for automated drones
There has been significant buzz recently around drone technology and the role it will play in our future. From emergency medical supply delivery to one-hour eCommerce delivery, advancements in drone automation bring these applications closer to reality each day. This raises very valid and practical questions for both the entities that will use drone technology and those affected by it. Where will the drones be able to fly? How will accidents be prevented? How will package delivery be confirmed? The XYO Network can provide independently verified location data that can help keep drones within approved flight paths, avoid collisions with both moving and stationary objects, and report package location at key points. According to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the platform’s current plans for delivery confirmation require the customer to print out their own pre-generated symbol from a physical printer. The XYO Network provides trustless location verification that eliminates this requirement, making the overall process and user experience smoother for the customer. The integration of the XYO Network’s unique blockchain technology will maximize the efficiency of the implemented drone systems, which is imperative for all newly-established industries to thrive and scale.
Numerous entities are very close to implementing automated drone services, from eCommerce giants like Amazon and Walmart to Google/Alphabet’s Project Wing to the numerous drone mapping services already in operation. Ensuring public safety, securing personal privacy, and maintaining compliance with FAA regulation will become increasingly challenging as guidelines are altered and skies become more crowded.
By utilizing the XYO Network, automated drones operating independently of each other will be able to communicate their relative and absolute locations using a universal protocol. Drones that are not inherently able to communicate with one another can take advantage of the XYO Network and still interact through third-party intermediaries, including independent devices or other drones. Interactions between devices on the XYO Network are also recorded on the blockchain, a decentralized ledger. This means that all automated drones are held publicly accountable in the event of an accident, regulation infringement, or breach in safety or personal privacy through the availability of a permanent and unalterable record of all device interactions.
How it Works
Every drone that is connected to the XYO Network will include a device called a Sentinel. Sentinels record and transmit heuristic data like time, location, speed and temperature. They also communicate with other Sentinels and keep a record of these interactions. This history is transmitted to the blockchain via an XYO Bridges, which can either be included on the drones themselves, or as independent devices. The entire history of heuristic data and device interactions is archived on a decentralized, publicly accessible blockchain.
Drones operated by different companies or produced by different manufacturers may very likely lack a universal standard of wireless communication necessary to communicate directly with each other. The XYO Network is platform-agnostic and is not tied to any one radio broadcast band or communication protocol. This means that Bridges can act as middlemen between devices that would otherwise not be able to correspond with each other. Devices on the XYO Network can help improve each other’s data, allowing for greater accuracy among all drones. For example, if one drone uses GPS for location calculation, and another triangulates off of cell towers, comparing their data at the time of interaction will independently verify both devices’ histories. A device on the XYO Network that doesn’t have an independent geo-positioning system will also be able to use the drones’ heuristics to confirm its own location.
3. Reducing medical errors and increasing hospital accountability using the XYO Network
Hospitals are among the most demanding and perilous establishments in the medical field. From medical equipment to identification of both patient and staff, a single misplacement or mistake could mean the difference between life and death. The XYO Network can provide trustless, verified location reporting that is critical in such a sensitive environment. The feasibility of error reduction and increased efficiency in hospitals is made possible with the XYO Network’s unique blockchain technology. The implications could reduce prescription dosage errors, prevent unnecessary procedures, and ultimately, save lives.
Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to a study released by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Many of these preventable deaths are a result of operational or record-keeping errors, including adverse drug interactions, improper medical records, and even unnecessary surgeries. In a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study’s author, Dr. Martin Makary, stated:
“It is time for the country to invest in medical quality and patient safety proportional to the mortality burden it bears. This would [include] research in technology that reduces harmful and unwarranted variation in medical care.”
— Dr. Martin Makary
By tying the XYO Network into the operational frameworks that are already in place in hospitals, care providers can significantly reduce failures in communication and record keeping that result in patient injury and death. Utilizing the XYO Network and XYO Tokens can provide a trustless, decentralized, and independently verifiable record of all patient interactions with any staff as well as a log of relevant patient data such as the patient’s vitals, treatment details, and test results for the duration of their stay.
How it Works
The XYO Network is a web of devices that record and archive heuristic data using a blockchain ledger. Whenever a device on the XYO Network interacts with another XYO device device, it logs this interaction. By reviewing this ledger of interactions and the additional data it provides, it’s possible to verify with a high degree of certainty that a specific interaction happened at a specific time in a specific location.
For example, imagine a patient, John Doe, who is admitted to the E.R. John is given an identification bracelet that is also an XYO Network Sentinel, which keeps a record of any XYO Network devices John interacts with. The monitor that reads John’s vital signs is also a Sentinel. It logs John’s vitals as heuristic data, and the communication between the two devices eliminates the potential for human error in record keeping. The monitor also serves as an XYO Network Bridge, reporting and archiving the blockchain ledgers of any Sentinels it interacts with.
When John is treated by a doctor or nurse, these interactions are recorded on John’s ledger, the monitor’s ledger, and the ledger of a Sentinel embedded in the staff member’s hospital ID. The XYO Network could even keep a log of medications John receives, and because a Sentinel could be linked to the medication itself, it could provide confirmation that the correct dosage of the correct medication was administered, confirming the accuracy of John’s medical record.
4. Implementing a decentralized, universal, and transparent luggage tracking system using the XYO Network
One of the largest fears an airline traveler faces is having their luggage lost or stolen. Accounting for all baggage moving through TSA checkpoints, gates, and airplanes is important not only for travelers’ piece of mind, but to the overall safety and security of airports as a whole. The XYO Network can provide independently verified location data that can help minimize luggage mishandling and can ultimately save travelers and airport staff time and money spent trying to track down missing baggage. Due to its decentralized nature, the integration of the XYO Network’s unique blockchain technology also allows different airlines to access the same data without needing to implement of a unifying system. Usage of the XYO Network’s technology to improve efficiency and safety for airlines has long-term benefits which include increased cost reduction, customer loyalty, and better business reputation.
Lost and mishandled luggage costed airlines $2.1 billion dollars in 2016, according to a study by SITA. While systems are improving, the complexities of air travel still result in millions of angry passengers with lost bags each year. The baggage-handling and tracking systems currently used by airlines is not only error-prone, but also lacks transparency and the proper infrastructure needed to track and verify the location of their passengers’ items.
The XYO Network has implemented a decentralized, trustless system for tracking and locating luggage. Its decentralized nature even allows airlines to utilize each other’s networks without compromising the airlines’ network security or needing to coordinate system updates — this means that if you’re at the United desk in Dallas, but your bag is at the Delta desk at SFO, the bag can still be instantly located by accessing the XYO Network Ledger. Should a bag be permanently lost and a passenger file a claim with the airline, the decentralized and trustless nature of the blockchain ledger allows both parties (the airline and the passenger) to independently verify who had possession of it last.
How it Works
The XYO Network makes use of affordable hardware devices called Sentinels, which record heuristic data like location, temperature, motion and other signals. Each of these Sentinel also share and record the activity of other nearby Sentinel creating a blockchain (decentralized ledger). For example, every bag in a cargo hold would be able to communicate with other bags in the hold, sharing information like when they were checked in, when they were moved, and what baggage handlers or TSA staff handled them. IoT devices called Bridges hand off all of this heuristic data to decentralized nodes. These nodes will be rewarded with XYO Tokens for relaying and archiving the information. This way, a cryptoeconomics-based incentive aggregates within the system to provide accurate and trustless historical data.
The decentralized nature of the XYO Network means that the tracking systems put in place by the different airlines can support each other without the need for the airlines themselves to implement a unified baggage handling system. As in the example above, a Delta-owned Bridge will be able to report the history reported by a United-owned Sentinel, and vice versa. Since the location and tracking information is communicated via a decentralized ledger, there will be no need for Delta and United (nor any other airline) to waste resources building out systems that need to communicate directly.
5. Insurers of high value goods can reduce the risk of fraud and increase the possibility of recovery using the XYO Network
Loss and theft protection is a major feature that many insurance companies offer. From mobile phones to sports cars, owned assets that roam around on a regular basis are prime candidates to be covered under this type of insurance. The XYO Network can report an insured item’s location by providing independently verified and trustless location data. The ability to recover an item that has been reported as lost or stolen satisfies the insured party, and the ability to locate such an item in the case of a falsely reported claim protects the insurer from fraud. The XYO Network’s decentralized blockchain technology thusly gives both the insurer and the insuree access to the same verified data and ultimately establishes unprecedented accountability for both parties.
Insurance for vehicles, modular homes, and other high-value, high-mobility objects can reimburse for theft, but can’t inherently assist in locating the original good. The insurance industry is also susceptible to fraud, especially in the case of insured items that are highly mobile.
XY is already working with an insurance company that covers high value, high mobility goods to help them process claims and recover insured goods. Using the XYO Network, a decentralized and trustless location-based blockchain ledger, the company and its customers have access to an independently verifiable location history in the event of a claim. Additionally, police investigators can access this location history in their attempt to recover stolen goods.
How it Works
Each insured good is equipped with an XYO Network device that serves as both a Sentinel and a Bridge. Sentinels record heuristic data like location, temperature, speed, and other situationally appropriate information. They also record their connection with other nearby Sentinels along with the history of those Sentinels, building a distributed ledger or blockchain. Bridges are IoT devices that report data received from Sentinels to decentralized nodes, creating a decentralized ledger (blockchain). The interaction history between Sentinels and Bridges, combined with the heuristic data that is recorded, allows for a high degree of both accuracy and certainty for each individual Sentinel’s record. Nodes which report and archive highly accurate and certain data will be rewarded with XYO Tokens, which provides a cryptoeconomics-based incentive to expand and grow the XYO Network.
When a claim is made on an insured item that is connected to the XYO Network, the owner and the company can access its Sentinel’s historical data on the blockchain. The decentralized and trustless nature of the blockchain helps prevent insurance fraud, as data archived in the blockchain cannot be altered and can be accessed by either the company or the insured party. The installed XYO Network Sentinel/Bridge will also continue actively reporting, aiding in the recovery of the insured item. Unlike systems like the Lojack, XYO Network devices record location history and can be accessed by the devices’ owners, not just law enforcement.
6. Securing authorized firearms in high risk areas using the XYO Network
The presence of government-regulated firearms in establishments where weapons are strictly prohibited fundamentally introduces a considerable risk. Tightly controlled security is imperative at major transportation hubs (i.e. international airports) where traffic volume is high and potential dangers are inherently evident. Firearms are not only carried by security and police forces on the ground, but also by Federal Air Marshals in the sky. The XYO Network can confirm a weapon is exactly where it is intended to be by reporting independently verified and trustless location data. Through its decentralized blockchain technology, the XYO Network is able to provide an unparalleled element of safety and accountability to arguably the most targeted, at-risk establishments in the world.
In operations requiring a high level of security, it is crucial to ensure that any authorized firearms are strictly and safely controlled. Creating a system that is secure, reliable, and publicly accountable poses an operational challenge.
A high-profile government security agency has contracted with XY to secure firearms in major transportation hubs throughout the United States. The use of XY’s existing technology saves the agency millions of dollars, and the decentralized nature of its blockchain creates a system that is both independently secure and publicly accountable.
How it Works
The XYO Network is a web of devices that record and archive heuristic data using a blockchain ledger. Whenever a device on the XYO Network interacts with another XY device, it logs this interaction. By reviewing this ledger of interactions and the additional data they provide, it can be guaranteed with a high degree of certainty that a specific interaction happened at a distinct time in a precise location.
Each firearm protected by the XYO Network is affixed with a device called a Sentinel which records heuristic data like its location, temperature and movement. The Sentinel also records any interaction it has with other nearby Sentinels, and both devices share their his- tories with each other. IoT devices called Bridges relay Sentinels’ records to decentralized nodes which archives this data on a decentralized ledger or blockchain. These nodes are rewarded with XYO tokens when they archive, process or relay accurate historical data. In this way, the XYO Network leverages cryptoeconomics to create a trustless, decentralized, unalterable location and interaction history for each protected firearm.
In other words, when the firearms are securely stored, they create a record of where they are stored and what other firearms are in storage with them. When a firearm is removed, each firearm’s record is updated, noting what firearm was removed and by whom. The firearm’s Sentinel records where it is taken, when it moves, who interacts with it, and when it is returned. Any other XYO Network Sentinels also record their interactions with the firearm’s Sentinel.
This decentralized ledger serves two important purposes. First, it provides an unalterable, auditable archive of when a firearm was accessed and by whom, where it was taken, and when it was returned. Second, the XYO Network’s decentralized nature means that the information in this archive can be independently audited and confirmed. This feature can also be implemented in other industries where accountability is critical, such as law enforcement, corrections, and health care.
About XYO Tokens
XYO tokens will be distributed through a Token Generation Event beginning in March 2018. We’ll be releasing more details here on Medium and on our website, xyo.network.