Cities worldwide are hoping to use connected devices to better track and manage everything from traffic to pollution to disaster response. But those plans face the same security challenges as any connected project, and the Austin-based data-security startup Factom is proposing a unique solution: using the digital currency network Bitcoin to reliably date-stamp and authenticate records.
Factom has recently inked two development deals that will help it secure data for cities. One, announced last week, will see Factom working with the Chinese notarization service Ancun Zhengxin to build a data verification back end for companies. The second deal is with technology consultancy iSoftStone, which will work with Factom to directly apply Bitcoin-based data security to smart cities, also starting in China.
According to the company, the need for its solution is particularly high there.
“The thing to understand about China,” says Paul Snow, Factom’s chief architect, “is they have larger data integrity and trust issues than we have.” He points to the risk that contractors required to meet closely tracked goals could fake data in their reports to cities, a digital version of the kind of corruption that has led to a wave of infrastructure failures across