How Could IBM-designed Smallest Blockchain Computer Thwart Counterfeiters


A bombshell announcement was unveiled in IBM’s Think 2018 conference: The world’s smallest blockchain-ready computer has been created. Coming at the size of 1 square millimeter, this tiny device was born to challenge the counterfeiters.

Smaller than a grain of rock salt, what empowers the micro-computer to complete such a big mission?

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Image Source: IBM

The Tiny Size Computer Could Easily Squeeze into Any Device

Its slim figure is probably the most evident advantage. A salt grain-sized computer will cost less than ten cents to manufacture, which means it can be embedded in every product shipped without occupying more space and storage.

When we’re still shocked by this wave of innovation, IBM said it’s just a beginning: “Within the next five years, cryptographic anchors — such as ink dots or tiny computers smaller than a grain of salt — will be embedded in everyday objects and devices,” says IBM head of research Arvind Krishna. If his plan goes right, we’ll see more micro-computers designed for various solutions in the coming five years.

Let’s lift the veil of this tiny machine via the 3D computer-generated rendition video below.

“Crypto-anchors” Technology Makes Blockchain Application More Secure

The cryptographic anchors technology created by IBM is aiming at authenticating anything from pharmaceuticals to luxury goods. While uniting the power of blockchain’s distributed ledger technology, the accuracy to trace the provenance and goods quality will be greatly improved.

Everyone hates knockoffs. However, we haven’t seen an effectual solution to thwart the frauds. According to IBM: Almost $600 billion of global economy was wiped by frauds every year, in some countries, you can’t imagine nearly 70% of certain drugs are counterfeit.

By leveraging several hundred thousand transistors built inside, the micro-computer can monitor, analyze, communicate, and even act on data.

“These technologies pave the way for new solutions that tackle food safety, authenticity of manufactured components, genetically modified products, identification of counterfeit objects and provenance of luxury goods,” said IBM research chief Arvind Krishna in IBM blog.

A New Future Shaped by IBM

In the “5 in 5” technology predictions this year, the blockchain-ready micro-computer seems only an appetizer. Another edge technology – a lattice-based cryptography is developing to keep the pace of quantum computers. Henceforth, no hackers can crack it, not even future quantum computers.

Considering the marine environment, IBM scientists are researching on an approach that uses plankton, which is natural, biological sensors of aquatic health. AI microscopes can contribute to predicting ocean threats such as red tides by concealing in the natural environment to track plankton movement in 3D.

We’ve seen different blockchain & AI application deployed in diverse industries, in services or tangible goods. Such innovations like the tiny computer will be soon used in mobile devices, and other technologies will also be more accessible and affordable to us, just like what IBM said, they’re changing the way the world works.


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