Slock.it uses blockchain smart contracts to create autonomous locks that accept payment and unlock based on user crypto ID, cutting out third party intermediaries.
Smart contracts are blockchain-based areas of code that activate independently when particular criteria have been met, including financial conditions — payments can therefore be made and recorded autonomously without the need for bank-like third parties. We’ve covered how smart contracts can be used to buy and sell solar energy, and now Slock.it are aiming to bring blockchain into the physical world and are using the technology to literally open doors.
Slock.it’s smart locks, which can be used in any context a lock would normally be found, such as bicycles, storage lockers and homes, are powered by the Ethereum Computer, a decentralized network, that enables the building of smart contracts.
Slock.it are aiming to ‘disrupt the disrupters’, concentrating on, for example, Airb’n’b-type scenarios where the objective is to grant a customer access to an apartment. Slock.it would work as follows: the door to the apartment would be fitted with a Slock. The Slock is itself capable both of identifying the customer – using their smartphone as a wireless identifier – and carrying out the financial transaction, thus removing the need for any intermediaries. Given the transparent open-ledger that a blockchain offers, unfulfilled contracts are traceable, ensuring that trust is itself built into the contract and forever time-stamped.
With bicycle-rental companies already interested in Slock.it’s locks, how else could autonomous smart contract-based objects impact the growing Internet of Things networks?