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Experiment with Blockchain Tech - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 7
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 8
Demo Software was of good quality: 10
Product was easy to use: 10
Support materials were available: 8
The price to performance ratio was good: 7
TotalScore: 50 / 60
  • RoadTest: Experiment with Blockchain Tech
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: finding a nfc reader that would read the cards properly. would have been nice if infineon actually produced one for their kit.

  • Detailed Review:

     

    Well, where to start..........  

     

    First off thank you Element14 and Infineon for choosing me to take part in this wonderful roadtest.

     

    Secondly, for those of you wondering about blockchains and how they can be incorporated into real world scenarios lets take a moment to go over a few of them and then we will get on with running the demo as well as starting our own project with the Infineon Blockchain 2 go.

     

    I remember back in the day when blockchains were more used for more scientific use then it was for the more well known crypto currency of today with Bitcoin and Litecoin being the more stable and bigger guns over the years.

     

    From the start I really should have taken the opportunity to buy bitcoin when it was a dollar a coin woops guess live and learn eh?

     

    So taken from Experiment with Blockchain Tech

    What is Blockchain and How Do I use it?

    Blockchain technology is perhaps the most talked about topic in the tech world today. The buzz about it started with  cryptocurrencies, but the use of blockchain technology for IoT security has a lot of potential for many industry verticals and counteless number of applications.

     

    If I am New To Blockchain Technology, How Do I Get Started?

    In a nutshell, blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that manages a continuously growing list of data points (chain of blocks). Every block is cryptographically linked to the previous block. The ledger records all transactions which are used to send assets (e.g. crypto currency) from one account to another. Each transaction is protected by a digital signature. To create such a digital signature, a secret private key that corresponds to the public key of an account is needed.

     

    Why is Blockchain so important to security?

    The private key of a user plays a critical role. If the private key is lost, all assets are lost. Moreover, if the private key is stolen and hacked, the attacker has full access to all assets which allows the creation of seemingly valid transactions. Private key storage requires best possible protection! Hardware-based security tokens are the most effective way against attacks and unauthorized access.

     

    An Easy way to Experiment with Blockchain Technology

    Infineon’s Blockchain Security 2Go starter kit features hardware-based protection mechanisms to generate and store private keys in a secured way. The starter kit is a fast and easy way to design of Blockchain applications.It supports an evaluation environment for many different kinds of Blockchain technologies. It provides a lean feature set as well as open source application examples, which enable new ideas to flourish and to generate a secured physical link from the digital to the real world.

     

    The Blockchain Security 2Go starter kit includes:

    • Five ready-to-use NFC cards, supporting basic blockchain functionalities such as secure
    • key generation, signing methods, pin protection and many more
    • On-card software that supports commands for key-management, signature creation
    • and PIN authentication
    • Access to Infineon’s blockchain git hub: Open source example application code, such as
    • a smartphone app operating with the card

    Also make sure to check the link above for more reviews and tests with the Infineon Blockchain Security 2Go starter kit.

    I am pretty sure I will be all over the place when it comes to this roadtest and sorry for that there is tons of information and things that I would like to get out in the process of this so lets hope I get it all in order to some degree.

     

    For the most part I hope everyone has a basic understanding of what a blockchain is or a slight idea of how crypto currency works.

     

    If anyone would like a better outline of what a blockchain is and more about it lets go over to https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/blockchain.asp  to learn everything we need to about blockchains.

     

    Over the years I will have to say tho that the technology and the advancements in blockchain technology has been pretty amazing to see.  But as a miner and hobbyist in the crypto world there was a lot of things that happened that caused some not so good times but that's just the way it goes unfortunately.

     

    So on to using blockchain tech in other ways besides just for cryptocurrency and paying for things at places that accept it and exchanges we can sell off our hard work of mining.

     

    Now I have a few ideas that I really thought would be a cool idea of ways we could incorperate it into our daily life routines and help make things more simpler.  Now one of the methods I won't mention right away will be a project idea. So that will be near the end here and will hopefully work but if not its at least and idea that hopefully someone else can see another possibility for blockchain tech with the Infineon blockchain security 2Go.

     

     

    The Idea in a real world situation:

    Campus Pass

    So lets go for a ride in the day in the life of using blockchain in a everyday use on a school campus.  So the way it would go is each day your allowed amount is deposited into your account verified by multiple miners both onsite and offsite making sure that your account is locked to your card aka the ledger which then can be used through out the day and then can be used for other things such as extra food or events or other campus life events.  Lets say you pay your tuition fees and your allowed so much per day in living expenses on site.  This would then take care of parking, food, activities and books for purchase and to borrow.  This would allow for other opportunities for schools with a campus to have student stores to purchase good and other things like laundry services and so on.

     

    Now onto story time.

     

    Joe arrives at his first day of school he receives a welcome package along with that a campus card which is linked to the schools crypto coin.  Joe is quite excited to get started with his new school year as he has been eager to start the next adventure in his life.  He has just enough money for his day to day that is provided and a few dollars that his parents give him every so often so he has some "spending cash"

     

    Arriving in his dorm room he settles down and gets unpacked after a adventurous afternoon of walking the campus to find his way around reading maps and bumping into people.  At the front counter he remembered he had to set the pin for his card so it was all setup for him.  he was also informed there was an app so he could see his current balance on the card at anytime going forward so he got that setup as he realized he had not had anything to eat yet today.  So checking on the app he showed he had his daily funds for the first day.  This was great! he didn't have to worry about not being able to get any food the first day.  He headed off to the cafeteria looking up at the board he noticed there was nobody behind the counter so was unsure of what to do he stood in the corner to see what would happen when someone walked in and got food from the displays that were nicely stocked and ready to go.  All of a sudden a small group of people came walking in they grabbed a tray each and started putting things on their tray and there it was everything had a code on it so you could scan it at the end. He watched as people scanned then tapped their card on the screen entering their code and away they went.  This was perfect! but wait what about getting a drink he though to himself?  he looked over to the right a bit and there was another counter where you grab your cup or use the one you had brought with you you would select what you wanted pop, water, coffee, hot water and so much more.  This seemed like double the work but quickly seeing the benefit to it.  If I was only in here doing some reading and wanted a coffee or water I would only be going to the one counter not needing to go to the food counter.  This made sense now why there would be two points of payment.  So with food on the tray and drink pouring  into his cup. Joe was quite happy with this experience that he could just use his daily amount for whatever he wanted there was such a selection.

     

    So lets have a look at Joe's Bill from the first day

     

    1 - Sandwich      4 coins

    1 - Bag of chips  1 coin

    1 - Cup of coffee  2 coins

     

    Total                    7 coins

     

    Ok so lets put an actual dollar figure on to the coins so 1 coin = 1 USD so in total Joe's lunch cost him 7 dollars.  So on average in 2017 schools would give students their fee for food of $7,442 per year, or almost $12 per meal. That’s almost three times more than the money spent by the average American cooking at home. When we take that into consideration that now there is not another worker standing behind a counter or serving drinks there is certainly options to grow and make things more worth while for campus life.  So lets say he did get his lunch for 7 coins what if Joe decided to go to the local campus store to buy something like a movie ticket for 5 coins or now spend more on other activities.  Some people don't eat breakfast and maybe just want a coffee instead. so where does that extra money go?  Well right into the schools pocket for the most part since they paid a yearly fee for their food and drinks.  Now I must say that I do know that yes they do budget their food accordingly to what they assume will be in there to eat everyday they have their daily budget as well.  So what would this do with them having the blockchain transaction results in front of them to be able to view to see what people are purchasing and when.  Well that's pretty much it,  allowing them to see how many students actually eat which meals and which time of day based on the transaction times.  This would then help them cut costs even more so if they knew that 20 less people eat on Mondays then on Fridays and so on.  Or when coffee gets consumed the most or any other item within the times they are open.  Lets say one item doesn't get used or nobody ever buys the jalapeno egg salad sandwiches wouldn't it make sense to take it off the menu if they are not being scanned and bought.  Once again finding the out more through their processing system as well as the payment system of whats actually going on and being consumed when.  Like I was saying now Joe just saved himself $5 dollars on his lunch, now he has more options to be able to do other things with what he has saved.  Or maybe he wants to get a more expensive dinner later that night or cram some reading in with a bunch of coffee and water. Now the extra's are there for him to be able to spread his daily allowance for food even further never leaving him without through out the day/night.

     

    So a bit on security now.  Lets say Joe was doing some late night study work he ended up calling it a night late at night but didn't realize that he had left is card near the coffee machine. Joe goes to his room and then the next morning he wakes up and its under his door or waiting at lost and found or something like that.  Now why would it most likely be returned to him well first off it does has his photo on it and name like you know a student card would look.  And here is the great thing if you do not get the code right after one fail attempt it locks the card.  Or whatever you might have setup, so this would prevent others from attempting and if you had just used it in there chances are you  might not have anything on there and you could even lock your card from your phone app so that it wouldn't be able to process any payments going forward until you unlocked it if it was stolen. Now to get a new card it would cost you lets say 20 coins so now the old card gets deactivated and a new one issued right away.  your same pin and amount are now on your new card.

     

    I will say that I am just touching on just one possibility here so lets move on to something else Joe might do.  Joe decides he needs to buy some books for his course and its already been paid for by the school so the teacher transfers each student that is enlisted in the course their book fee's.  They go to the library to purchase their books and use their card at the end of the course or the books are not needed anymore he returns them to the library the person there verifies its in great shape and hasn't been marked in since Joe uses sticky notes and his laptop for his work instead of highlighting it.  Joe then puts the book on for consignment.  Now once the gets purchased at a discounted price the school takes a fee of lets say 40% so now the 100 coin book they re-sell it for 75 coins and the school takes a fee of 30 coins. Joe still makes 45 coins off his book that he might not use again ever. But some people decided they want to hold on to their books and that's just fine as well.  But Joe decided that on winter break he would bring his car back from his parents place and student parking needs to be paid for him to have it there.  So this is where Joe would be able to use his card to purchase his parking spot on either a daily/weekly/monthly rate.

     

    So what if Joe needs more coins going forward what can he do?

     

    Well its all up to the schools to implement other options but lets say Joe was big on Yoga and Joe was getting people asking him if he could teach them in the mornings.  Joe decides sure 2 coins a morning or whatever they agreed on.  Then Joe could give them his wallet address to be able to send him coins every morning they showed up.  all they would have to do would be to tap their card on his phone and enter their code or setup an auto transfer on their phone app.

     

    Or lets just say Joe helped someone move some stuff and they where like let me give you some coins for helping me move from one room to another once again they would be able to transfer the coins over to him quickly and easily.  Using the coins for a random acts of kindness would also be a great addition to the campus life giving the control to the people living there.

     

    We have now gone over some of the implementations of being able to use the blockchain in the daily life on campus not a bad start and this could certainly be incorporated into many other things when it comes to campus life.

     

    So on top of that what else would be useful to them well if you have a miner you could make extra coins as well with POW  (proof of work) or you could do it as POS (proof of stake)

    Bitcoin is based on a POW (Proof of Work) system where the probability of mining a block is dependent on how much work is done by the miner. A proof-of-stake (POS) systems varies in that a person can “mine” depending on how many coins they hold. Simply put, a person owning 5% of a coin based of proof-of-stake can mine 5% of the blocks in the same way that a person owning 5% of the bitcoin mining network will theoretically mine 5% of the blocks. There are fears that POW systems can lead to low network security, due to the Tragedy of the Commons, and this has led to some coins adopting a POS system.

     

    So where would this extra money come from when it comes to the schools?  well for starters it could be donated, it could be a fundraiser, or a transaction fee on certain amounts. or even unused money in the schools accounts that generate profit like a savings account or similar.

     

    I should state that I could think of many many more ideas when it comes to using blockchain security on just a campus let alone the rest of the world its abilities are pretty endless when you get down to the brass tax.

     

    Now that we have that idea out of the way lets move on to actually using and playing with the Infineon Blockchain Security 2Go Starter kit.

     

    Firstly we will head over to https://github.com/Infineon/Blockchain   and read along and see what kind of fun is in our future here for testing out the demo first to see if it in fact will or will not be something we can incorporate into another idea shortly after.

     

    We will do is try this out on our phones firstly we will go to https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.coinfinity.infineonandroidapp    and download the coinfinity app.

     

    Well this is a bit silly, seems the app is not available to be used on my current phone seems it not even compatible with my tablet.  Guess its time to upgrade the phone for now and get things going so from a Samsung Galaxy S5 I have now in my hands that Samsung A70 this should certainly do.... And sure enough now I can finally install the app onto a device. 

     

    Now I will say in the mean time while I was pondering upgrading my phone I did buy some RFID and NFC Readers but didn't really read too much into what I was buying and found that one most certainly would not work but might if I swap the antenna in it that might be a future test for sure to see if I can get it to work but for now it works on the frequency it was meant too on a windows 7 or under computer.  But with some work it will work on my raspberry pi without issues.

     

    So now that we have the app installed lets have a look at the setup on there.

     

    Now presented with the following on the github page.

     

    The Android Demo User Guide provides more details on how to use the app. Have a look at the hands-on video to see how to prepare the cards for usage with the App: https://e.video-cdn.net/video?video-id=7k2xBuhwB8Xsv3C9s6oyJv&player-id=E9W5foaMoUuxrto5-fGaPP

    The source code is available as open source at https://github.com/Infineon/BlockchainSecurity2Go-Android.

    So what I think I will do is go ahead and check out the demo user guide and the video and the source code in a bit here as well.

     

    Out of curiosity before reading I place the card on the back of my phone to see if it would access it.  And this is what I was greeted with.

     

    It's working out of the box and with minimal setup great! I will continue on with the demo here and see what we can do about adding some eth to the card.

    So that was pretty simple install MetaMask in chrome browser as per instructions on github switch to test server and also make sure to switch the network on the coinfinity app sending and reciving was quick and painless.

     

     

    Once I had that setup I sent myself the eth from metamask on over to the card. oh and I did check out the voting that was pretty cool and nice idea which would be great to incorporate into something else.

     

    So basically all I did was the stuff in this video here https://e.video-cdn.net/video?video-id=7k2xBuhwB8Xsv3C9s6oyJv&player-id=E9W5foaMoUuxrto5-fGaPP

     

    Great so now that we have gone through the basic setup and use and checking out the demo now on to what can we do with it?

    Well at this point my project isn't quite going the way I was hoping I was really wishing that I had a lot more information here which I will be updating as my project is moving forward but more slowly then I had expected but then again its been busy this time of year with work and teaching and getting ready for the holiday season here. 

     

    Here is the setup so far but also connected to my Raspberry Pi 4 (not shown)

    Arduino Uno R3 with a PN532 NFC/RFID Controller Shield.  Is going to be my weapon of choice for my project.  I did read through the known working units that work with the cards and no this wasn't on there but still I am cheap and well really wanted to have it connected to an Arduino for the project as it will certainly serve its purpose in more then one way when completed. 

     

    So some final thoughts of anyone wanting to check out theses cards personally I am excited to work with them but its really not something I would have chosen to use if the roadtest wasn't available so that being said its been a eye opener and a learning experience non less.  It certainly is testing me when it comes down to it and I love it.

     

    Who would this be good for?  Well it would be good for anyone that has used or has played with RFID and NFC Tags that wants to learn more on how to add more security by using blockchain technology to do it.

     

    I hope this has been of some use to someone, like I said I might be all over the place with this one.  I am sure a revision is in the future and of course once my project is fully functional  I will get the full process of that posted up on the community and the link to it posted below here as well for anyone new that might be checking it out after the project is completed.  I most certainly tried to leave out some items that were covered on others roadtests because I think you should also check out theirs as well.

     

    Thank you for reading for those of you that made it to the bottom of the page.  Happy holidays and such and will make sure to get the project uploaded here as soon as I can.


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