#SmartCities Hack Winner Showcase Team Torus #1

This is the final piece in a six-part series which will showcase the projects built by the Top 6 teams of the #SmartCities Hackathon. The Smart Cities hack was a two event hackathon organized by Hackmakers dedicated to finding innovative solutions to generate more awareness, stronger communications and quicker responses for tomorrow’s smart cities.

Team Torus

Amir Kashapov, Abdulqader Atiya, Philip Zlatkovic, Abdullah Al Khayat

The team has come up with a solution to make truly smart cities with smart services by leveraging the power of an optionally privacy-preserving programmable blockchain. The team ranked #1 among all the participants in the hackathon.

Challenge

Smart Administration

Citizens’ are increasingly expecting higher quality services and responses to their needs; be it smarter governance, intelligent mobility or an overall safer city to live. The Smart Administration Challenge category can cover solutions that help cities manage public administration issues. 

Safe Cities

Safe Cities requires an understanding of the need for security to evolve from a reactive to a proactive approach, with integrated response. The Safe Cities Challenge category can cover solutions that help cities to manage public security issues as a city population and urbanisation grows.

Smart Transportation

A functioning transportation and logistics system, with the right accompanying infrastructure, is the backbone of a strong economy. The Smart Transportation Challenge category can cover solutions that help megacities help manage their public and private sector mobility more effectively. 

Problem Statement

  • Good blockchains have proven that it is nearly impossible to break them by withstanding the tests of time. However they are: 

    • Not secret if they are programmable, 
    • Not programmable for extensibility, if they are secret, and
    • Not portable, scalable, cheap, or universal and if so usually lacking one of the former 

    All three are necessary for smart cities unless today’s blockchains are not a sufficient solution for adoption.

Motivation

To determine the need for a blockchain problem, Team Torus analyzed a 2016 survey conducted in Southern Australia examining the availability of digital services to the public and the likelihood of various age groups to use them. 

It was found that substantial demand among the youth for all digital services declines with each. It was also found that the vast majority of traditional services are accessible online and becoming increasingly digitized, and the trend is likely to continue.

In order to adopt such services online in a convenient and a centralized manner, smart cities of the future will likely leverage the security of blockchains. But how do we reconcile the need for optional privacy, programmability, portability and scalability, since these features were always thought to be mutually exclusive.

Solution

  • The Torus Protocol unifies the above factors. It features: 

    • Inherent Security due to good blockchain design 
    • Optional Privacy by leveraging homomorphic encryption in addition to secure multi party computation (SMPC)
    • Scalability with the help of proof-of-stake consensus and directed acyclic graph implementation
    • Programmability & Portability through a hardware wallet called Torus Ring

    The Torus Protocol is an all encompassing solution which integrates features which are expected from any smart city blockchain protocol. 

Proof of Concept

In the context of smart cities and administration, optional privacy is an essential feature that will allow users to remain law-abiding yet invisible. Torus Protocol’s Proof of Concept demonstrates optional privacy as follows: 

  • A Party, Alice, submits an encrypted smart contract to another party, Bob, who then chooses to sign and submit the encrypted smart contract
  • These centralised parties compute the results and post it to the blockchain, whereby separate results for Alice and Bob are decryptable only by them
  • Alice and Bob can later choose to reveal the contract and their individual results 

Illustration – Proof of Concept

The proof of concept features the wallet system storing user parameters of blockchain and decryptable smart contracts. The user wallets have associated tiers which specify individuals legal authority from one upwards. 

In the given illustration, four simple transactions are conducted. The first and third are publicly visible transfers. 

    • Office Alice submits an encrypted smart contract to Bob, asking him to verify his age
    • Bob signs the encrypted smart contract and in return requests verification that Alice has the authority to check
    • The results of this computation are encrypted and only available to Alice and Bob
    • Bob later chooses to decrypt his prior transaction to prove that he has already signed. He reveals the query and has resulted a blockchain but cannot reveal Alice’s result

Access Portal – Web Version

  • Upon Entering the Torus website, the user is greeted with six panels with each displaying the user’s – Identity documents, Transportation credit, Wallet balance, Health information, Access keys and recent transactions
  • All the cards of the users can viewed as NFTs as well as viewing the currencies in their wallet balance or transportation credits
  • In the recent transaction panel, the user can see the exact time, date and location of their last transaction along with the transaction confirmation time in seconds and whether the transactions were encrypted or decrypted

Torus Ring

  • The Torus Ring is the team’s proposed fingerprint based hardware word for the protocol. It would be a sandbox, will only store keys and will support NFCs and remote destruction.  

Application of Torus Ring

  • The Torus protocol would require a government-issued patent for cryptographers to build the torus ring and blockchain personalized to the city
  • An experimental period with the launch of the testnet server to test protocol functionality 
  • The mainnet of the Torus blockchain would launch 
  • An official introduction into the smart city  
  • Reaching full smart city adoption with time
  •  

Tools Used

Data Analysis with:

  • Python
  • Minitab

Prototyping with: 

  • Python
  • Javascript
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Wix
  • Moqups

Others:

    • AutoDesk AutoCad
    • AutoDesk Inventor
    • LucidChart

What did you think of this project? Do share your thoughts and ideas with us on Hackmakers LinkedIn Page.

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Don’t forget to check out our Previous Winner Showcase Blogs for the Smart Cities Hackathon 2021: 

  1. Team Parkwhere – 2nd Position in Smart Cities Hackathon 2021
  2. Team GTPLUS & WYHIL – 3rd Position in Smart Cities Hackathon 2021 
  3. Team Sheldonopolis – 4th Position in Smart Cities Hackathon 2021