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24 February 2024
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IOTA: Freighter enters proof of concept phase, release in 2021

  • The Freighter project based on IOTA’s Distributed Ledger technology has reached its second major milestone with the release of a proof of concept.
  • While the market-ready product is expected to be released in 2021, a proof of concept with a still secret “big partner” is planned.

The secret of the IOTA based project Freighter was revealed a bit more yesterday. After the first milestone of the Freighter project was made public in mid-April, the second milestone has now been reached, providing new information on the project’s development status. As Chris Mueller exclusively announced at HelloIOTA, the project has now entered the Proof of Concept phase

Freighter is a second layer protocol for IOTA, which allows sending larger amounts of data, better than IOTA Streams, over secure channels. By using parallel data streams that can come from multiple IOTA nodes, Freighter can handle the potentially very large amounts of data in the healthcare sector. The data is sent over channels based on Masked Authenticated Messaging technology (new IOTA Streams).

So far it is also known that the project is part of a larger project of the Dutch research institute TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) and aims to establish a decentralized platform for health data. However, exact information about the TNO project are still secret. The first milestone of the team was to decouple Freighter from the SKALY platform and rebuild it as an open source project.

IOTA based project Freighter will be released in 2021

The proof of concept announced yesterday is publicly available and can be tested by anyone to build their own “vault of health data” by storing all sensitive data. However, since the data is only useful when it can be used by doctors and hospitals, a standard is needed, which is also known as FHIR in the health industry. Freighter is building on this standard to achieve broad acceptance.

In order to achieve this acceptance, however, a few obstacles still had to be overcome in recent months. According to the latest status, one channel was open for the entire life cycle. A key, once hacked, allowed access to all sensitive data. However, this is not acceptable within the healthcare industry, which is why the SKALY team developed the Freighter Private Channels (FRPC).

The idea behind FRPCs is that even if the data were to be intercepted, hackers would not be able to use the data because the relevant data is hashed. As long as the private key is not affected by the hack, the sensitive data is safe.

Another problem that the SKALY team had to solve was the General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR). According to this regulation, all data must be able to be deleted by a company, for example the hospital, if a person, the patient wishes so. However, in a decentralized network, where all data is stored practically forever, this is a big challenge.

SKALY’s solution for this is simple, but effective. The patient can simply ask the hospital to close the channel by deleting the private key and thus losing access. The data is then effectively deleted and the principle of trust is ultimately as currently regulated, where the patient must also trust that a company will delete his data. With the proof of concept published yesterday, this principle can be tested by anyone.

As Mueller also explained, Freighter could be an ideal combination with the IOTA Foundation’s Selv project to provide secure channels to third parties. In addition, Freighter’s team is said to have already established contacts with pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and universities. The next step will be a proof of concept with a yet secret “big partner”. The market-ready product is expected to be released in 2021.

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