Applications of Blockchains in the Internet of Things: A Comprehensive Survey

Muhammad Salek Ali, Massimo Vecchio, Miguel Pincheira, Koustabh Dolui, Fabio Antonelli, Mubashir Husain Rehmani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

303 Citations (Scopus)


The blockchain technology has revolutionized the digital currency space with the pioneering cryptocurrency platform named Bitcoin. From an abstract perspective, a blockchain is a distributed ledger capable of maintaining an immutable log of transactions happening in a network. In recent years, this technology has attracted significant scientific interest in research areas beyond the financial sector, one of them being the Internet of Things (IoT). In this context, the blockchain is seen as the missing link toward building a truly decentralized, trustless, and secure environment for the IoT and, in this survey, we aim to shape a coherent and comprehensive picture of the current state-of-the-art efforts in this direction. We start with fundamental working principles of blockchains and how blockchain-based systems achieve the characteristics of decentralization, security, and auditability. From there, we build our narrative on the challenges posed by the current centralized IoT models, followed by recent advances made both in industry and research to solve these challenges and effectively use blockchains to provide a decentralized, secure medium for the IoT.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8580364
Pages (from-to)1676-1717
Number of pages42
JournalIEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2019


  • auditability
  • Blockchain
  • consensus
  • cybersecurity
  • decentralization
  • digital technology
  • IoT
  • privacy
  • trustless


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