Are Smart Cities The Pathway To Blockchain And Cryptocurrency Adoption? (
At the recent Blockchain LIVE 2019 hosted annually in London, I had the pleasure of giving a talk on Next Generation Infrastructure: Building a Future for Smart Cities. 

What exactly is a “smart city?” 

The term refers to an overall blueprint for city designs of the future. Already half the world’s population lives in a city, which is expected to grow to sixty-five percent in the next five years. Tackling that growth takes more than just simple urban planning.

The goal of smart cities is to incorporate technology as an infrastructure to alleviate many of these complexities. Green energy, forms of transportation, water and pollution management, universal identification (ID), wireless Internet systems, and promotion of local commerce are examples of current of smart city initiatives.

The current technology needs of smart cities are served by what is called the “Internet of Things,” a term used to describe an overall network of devices with embedded unique identifiers. Example use cases for these devices include payment for items, and traffic management.

In London, a traffic management system known as SCOOT optimises green light time at traffic intersections by feeding back magnetometer and inductive loop data to a supercomputer, which can coordinate traffic lights across the city to improve traffic throughout.

Barcelona saved €75 million of city funds and created 47,000 new jobs in the smart technology sector by implementing a network of fiber optics throughout the city, providing free high-speed Wi-Fi that supports the IoT and further linking to the integration of smart water, lighting and parking management.

The Netherlands has tested the use of IoT-based infrastructure in Amsterdam, where traffic flow, energy usage and public safety are monitored and adjusted based on real-time data.

Meanwhile, in the United States, major cities like Boston and Baltimore have deployed smart trashcans that relay how full they are and determine the most efficient pick-up route for sanitation workers.

In 2015 India became one of the pioneers to openly enact a smart city mission across 12 of its cities. As governments across the world start to implement these initiatives, blockchain can provide the infrastructure necessary for transaction management.

Transparency and security core fundamentals of blockchain are two very important elements in a smart city implementation.Today, there are over a dozen smart cities, with less than a quarter that have an active large scale implementation of the use blockchain or distributed ledger technology.

The city of Dubai has already planned to become the first blockchain powered smart city by 2021 and the country of Estonia has been using variations of blockchain and distributed ledger technology to keep track of citizens since 2012.

Leading smart city developers like Hancom are already supplying products and services from core hardwares of IOT to actual Smart City development. Gapyeong Malang Malang Smart Ecosystem a 470 acre smart city development project is just one the many initiatives under the Hancom Group that will incorporate blockchain technology as the basis for smart city development.

The most recent project for the Group, is the development of the Atlanta based Augury Square. The Augury Square is a 30-acre project that will incorporate blockchain and the use of cryptocurrency accelerating the concept of digital currency usage into daily life activities for its residents.

Example use cases that will improve resident life across cities when implemented with blockchain are without bounds. Information captured and kept in a cloud a based infrastructure utilized by a smart city can be encoded through a blockchain system to ensure the privacy and security of data. 

The use of blockchain for identification in a smart city can assist with proof of citizenship, voting for public office, and tax data. In addition to security and fraud measures, the elimination of paperwork under such a system connects right with the smart city initiative to manage and reduce pollution and waste.

Other typical services include the use of  internet sensors to detect road maintenance or other general repairs, connection of home utilities and rent to the blockchain and well as healthcare services.

Blockchain healthcare networks which store protected health data information can be useful when considering emergency situations that involve individuals in a crisis, proving beneficial to certified first responders (MFS) in accessing pertinent medical information.

What’s most important to a smart city, however, is integration. None of the services mentioned above exist in a vacuum; they need to be put into a single system.

Blockchain provides the technology to unite them into a single system that can track all aspects combined.The Smart City Expo will take place in Barcelona, Spain, in November 2019. It aims to discuss the growing urbanization of the world with attributes of blockchain.


Chrissa McFarlane

Named as one of the top women, “leaving their mark on the MedTech field in health IT,” by Becker’s Hospital Review, Chrissa McFarlane is the Founder and CEO of Patiento... Read More
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    Francisco Gimeno - BC Analyst Smart cities surely need the blockchain to help with the integration of technologies, services, systems, data handling, etc. We should easily see this. Our worry is how this is going to be used later. In authoritarian countries smart cities systems can be used to control citizens to "behave" accordingly, even if the tech helps to live better. In open political systems, however, both better life and citizen's empowerment will naturally happen.