From blockchain Internet of Things (B-IoT) towards decentralising the Tactile Internet
Today’s Internet powered by decentralised blockchain technology is bringing us a true peer-to-peer platform that has the potential to go far beyond digital currencies. A blockchain technology of particular interest is Ethereum, which provides capabilities that Bitcoin lacked, to enable new models of distributed ownership and help realise future techno-social systems such as the Tactile Internet, the next evolutionary leap of the Internet of Things (IoT), by adding a new dimension to human-to-machine interaction. After explaining the commonalities and specific differences between Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains, we first provide an up-to-date survey on how Ethereum can be used for realising the emerging blockchain IoT (B-IoT), briefly reviewing recent progress and open challenges. We then elaborate on how specific Ethereum blockchain technologies may be leveraged to realise future techno-social systems, notably the Tactile Internet, which at present is yet unclear in many ways how it would work. Towards this end, we explore the salient features that set Ethereum apart from other blockchains, including its symbiosis with other emerging key technologies such as artificial intelligence and robots as well as decentralised edge computing solutions, to let new hybrid forms of collaboration emerge among individuals benefitting from automation at the centre and humans at the edges.