‘Internet of Value’ is the buzzword which is living out on the blockchain hype cycle. To fathom the impact of ‘Internet of Value’, we first need to understand the meaning of the word ‘Value’. The dictionary meaning of this word, if used as a noun, is: –
“the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.”
e.g. “your support is of great value”
To enable a ‘Value transfer’, it is important that the subject under consideration has significance to 2 or more parties simultaneously. Further, as we are dealing transfer of value, the “value” needs to be quantifiable. Let us now focus on the other part of the phrase – ’internet’.
Internet was designed for information exchange. Hence, Internet Protocol is designed only for identifying participant of the information exchange. There is no information on what the participant values. The protocol for “Internet of Value” requires more than just identification of the participant. It requires ability to understand what a participant of this internet holds in “value”. For example, this might be privacy rules that the participant has to abide by (GDPR) or its most frequent interactions (e.g. social groups, work groups, family etc.) or its various currencies of commerce.
To understand how it plays out in real world let us take an example.
You and your friend visit a noisy club and like everyone, both of you get on the club’s free wifi network. As it happens through the evening, you get separated in the chaos of the club and now can’t find one another when heading out for dinner. You try your messaging application like “WhatsApp”, but internet is not connecting so you are left to look for your friend the old- fashioned way.
Have you wondered, while a very high-speed network infrastructure created by Wi-Fi connects your phone with your friend’s phone directly, still your messaging application will hop to the web and go to the server of your WhatsApp and then come back to your phones to connect the two of you. The connection latency is mostly because a lot of people in the club are trying to get on to the limited bandwidth that the club provides and or the limited coverage of your cellular services.
In the world of ‘internet of value’, your application will act as a node which connects to another peer node irrespective of what kind of network you leverage. Once it discovers the application instance of your friend’s phone, it establishes a peer to peer connection. The data is individually encrypted and readable between you and your friend. With identification and security ensured, there is no need for the data to go through a centralized server. Meanwhile if any other instance of the application in the Wi-Fi is able to connect to the WhatsApp server, then it automatically triggers syncing all of your communications to the WhatsApp’s infrastructure.
The protocol that enables the “internet of value” will be able to identify the footprint of your friend’s WhatsApp instance to connect with it. Once you try to message your friend, it will broadcast a “trace” to identify your friend’s application footprint over the web as well as the local Wi-Fi network. If it finds a match of your friend’s footprint on the Wi-Fi network, it will initiate a peer to peer connection.
Further, the protocol will have the ability to identify that the messages that are happening over the Wi-Fi network are not yet updated to the WhatsApp infrastructure. If any of the application instance within the Wi-Fi is able to infer, that it has footprints of communication that does not match with what it sees on the WhatsApp infrastructure, it will initiate a sync. In this way, the WhatsApp infrastructure will be a catalyst as well as a participant to the network rather than being the only source of action.
This will have a deeper impact on communication infrastructure and will improve network performance drastically without the need of any extra infrastructure. This might also lead for us to revisit how communications are currently designed, as most of our interactions are repetitive and with limited number of participants, who are mostly spread over a limited geography.
This is one of the many examples of how ‘Internet of Value’ would impact our future. While security and new addresses are a reason for adoption of IPV6 over IPV4, with the advent of blockchain, DLT and ‘Internet of Value’, these protocols are bound to change at a very foundational level.