Forgetting your house keys at home, or leaving them on the door, or having your keys break could all soon be a thing of the past. The future is digital, and our current door keys are definitely heading toward extinction, just like CDs, walkmans and BlueRay DVDs. Read on to learn about the history of keys and how blockchain technology could help to keep our valuables safe.
Keys have a colourful past that dates back over several thousands of years. Just like today, people in those days wanted to safeguard their personal items and keep them away from invaders. The first keys were made from wood and other readily available materials. Perhaps they did not offer a lot of protection, but they did show the homeowner if someone had been trying to get into their home.
The first wooden keys, dating back to Ancient Egypt, were built using bolts and pins that opened once a key was turned. From there, the Romans improved on the lock design to make them stronger and more resistant to tampering. Keys started to look much like they do today since they were made from metals like bronze, iron and even gold and silver. Keys like these were a sign of wealth since they and the safes and locks that accompanied them were a costly commodity at that time.
That brings us to the modern-day, where metal keys are now for the first time being replaced by chips; think of your car’s key fob. Soon, will keys be a thing of the past? It makes sense. So what can replace them?
Your Voice “Open Sesame”
“Open Sesame.” Voice-activated technology is not that new. We have it on our mobile phones; however, can we rely on it to open our doors? Can someone mimic our voice to gain access to our domain? Potentially, this makes our voices not the strongest contenders for opening doors. But, on the other hand, hackers can easily phone us, record our voices and use them on the voice-activated sensors.
Another technology that is currently being used across our smartphones is retina detection. Ever had a situation where your phone did not recognize your eyes? Unfortunately, this happens a lot, making this technology potentially not the top candidate.
As it is officially known, the transponder key consists of a microchip embedded into the head of the key, which is why they are popularly known as chip keys. The term transponder is an abbreviation of transmitter and responder, and it was invented to wipe out car theft. They work with a built-in code signal that is unique to your car. However, many car thefts nowadays are conducted by thieves interfering with the signal from your key fob. This allows them to automatically open your car door if the key fob is within a few metres of your car. So let’s rule this option out.
Blockchain Lock Technology
The blockchain holds many secrets and many future functionalities that we haven’t even conceived of yet—the blockchain stores data in a very different way from our typical use of computers today. Rather than data being stored on one computer server that is easily hackable to cybercriminals, blockchain data is distributed among many computers or nodes, making it a harder proposition for thieves.
We could use blockchain technology to replace keys by proving your identity, say, with a chip or certificate that is uniquely linked to a token. One token, one identity, could be easily linked to the keyholder through a chip card or any other piece of technology.
QANPlatform, as an example of a company working in this field, allows you to keep your data safe with the quantum security add-on. This type of cryptography secures your data transactions even against quantum computer attacks. That way, if the future is without keys, your sensitive data can be stored safely on the blockchain to match your own personal means of identification, whether that may be from a fob, a password, a watch or simply a card.
Watches and Smartphones
We can now pay for stuff using our watches and our mobile phones, so perhaps the next step is opening our doors with them? Perhaps a combination of a device like a watch or mobile and the security of the blockchain to store the data securely is the way forward? One thing is certain, if you are wearing your watch, you’ll never forget to take it out with you, meaning no more accidental lockouts (unless your battery dies).