August 24, 2015

Verizon Ventures Helps Filament Enable A Decentralized IoT Economy

Imagine a world where the cloud is no longer the centralized place connecting our fitness trackers or smart thermostats to a distributed network of computers. Instead, these connected objects are able to communicate directly with each other because they are built on blockchain. We've been looking at how startups are adopting blockchain technology and although digital currencies are the first applications of blockchain, we’re beginning to see this platform expand to sectors like digital arts to fight piracy and the Internet of Things (IoT) to share valuable data. In addition to eliminating the cost of storing data in the cloud, blockchain’s network evolution can also enable the smart cities we anticipate in the near future. Exactly how will blockchain’s capabilities help cities operate more intelligently without deploying massive costs? This is where Filament comes in.

Today I’m announcing our investment in Filament, a company that is focused on building IoT applications for industrial settings. Based in Reno, Nevada, Filament’s technologies allow businesses to operate in any environment through standalone mesh networks that connect with sensors. From controlling the outdoor lighting of an entire city, to monitoring soil conditions across farms, Filament can securely collect and consolidate data with its devices called “Taps.” Taps have built-in environmental sensors, a USB port, and are equipped with hardware cryptographic chips for secure accessibility and communication. They remove the need for a central authority and can independently enforce smart contracts to ensure digital trust. According to Filament co-founder Eric Jennings, “A decentralized system of billions of devices – each independently interacting and transacting value with each other – will create a massive opportunity of new business models.”

What’s so interesting about what Eric and his team are building is how the combination of end-to-end encryption with private-key crypto hardware shows great potential for generating revenue from transactions…in effect, monetizing the internet. With Filament’s technology stack, smart factories or smart cities can be enabled in a way that meets the needs of the market for a fraction of the traditional costs. As IoT and the power of embedded computers continue to proliferate beyond wearables and the home, we look forward to working with Filament to explore the full potential of blockchain technology and role it will play in device decentralization. 

To learn more about the protocols Filament is using to build its technology, check out Fortune’s piece, here.

Tags: investing , portfolio , Internet of Things , Ed Ruth , Filament , mesh network