IOTA: Chinese elite university applies for patent on cross-chain system with Fabric

  • The European Patent Office has published an application from China’s Xi’an Jiaotong University claiming a cross-chain gateway interaction system between the IOTA Tangle and Hyperledger Fabric.
  • The supply chain data management system uses the IOTA Tangle as the data layer, while Fabric is implemented as the control layer.

The number of patents that reference IOTA or build on the Tangle continues to increase. However, while the majority of patents, according to data from IOTA archives, have so far come from Germany and the United States of America (around 70%), a patent from China has now caused a stir in the IOTA community.

The patent in question was filed on March 16 by the Chinese university Xi’an Jiaotong, an elite university in China, and was already published by the European Patent Office on July 24. Xi’an Jiaotong belongs to the “C9 League”, which is also referred to by China’s Communist Party as the equivalent to the “Ivy League” in the US, which consists of elite universities such as Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

Specifically, the patent applies for a “cross-chain gateway interaction system in the field of supply chain data management”, and combines the IOTA Tangle technology with the Fabric blockchain of Hyperledger. As stated in the patent application, the cross-chain gateway interaction system is characterized by the fact that it comprises a data layer, an extension layer and a control layer.

While the data layer uses IOTA’s Tangle to store the captured data, the control layer uses the Fabric blockchain to receive calls from the application layer, perform access control and calculations through smart contracts, and finally upload the results to the blockchain and return the calculation results to the application layer.

The third layer, the extension layer, implements the cross-chain gateway to route requests from the Fabric blockchain to the IOTA Tangle and requests from the IOTA Tangle to the Fabric blockchain. In other words, the cross-chain gateway performs routing when the state of the Fabric blockchain ledgers changes and the content of the change causes a change in the state of the IOTA ledger. After the IOTA Tangle is changed, the result is routed back to the Fabric blockchain.

This interaction system is implemented via supporting nodes in the fabric network. The consensus procedure is that two thirds of the nodes in the cross-chain gateway must receive the same result in order to reach a consensus.

IOTA Tangle and Hyperledger Fabric within the supply chain

The entire system, as described above, is to be used within a supply chain for data management. Here, the seller uses the application layer to call up the data generated by the Fabric control layer and its smart contracts and to generate the logistics order. Upon receipt, the logistics company attaches a temperature sensor and calls the Fabric control layer to define the logistics order for the transport. Afterwards, cross-chain interaction takes place to control the status of the delivery:

At the same time, it triggers the cross-chain gateway of the extension layer to send the cross-chain transaction to create the MAM channel to the IOTA Tangle network of the data layer. After the IOTA Tangle network of the data layer completes the cross-chain transaction, the cross-chain gateway of the extension layer is triggered to send the cross-chain transaction that saves the key and address of the MAM channel to the Fabric blockchain network of the control layer, and the status of the logistics order Set to be in transit.

When the logistics order status is in transit, the temperature sensor of the perception layer regularly monitors the temperature of the surrounding environment, and uses the MAM channel to encrypt data and store it in the Tangle network of the data layer;

Subsequently, further interactions take place via the gateway to change the order status. Once the IOTA Tangle has completed the data transfers, the cross-chain gateway becomes active to send the IoT data to the Fabric blockchain.

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