Blockchain Technology: Making Smart Guns Smarter

Blockchain Technology: Making Smart Guns Smarter

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Smart Gun Blocksafe

Bitcoin.com spoke with Blocksafe CEO Kevin Barnes, whose startup brings blockchain and P2P networking to smart gun technology. This solution has the potential to eliminate unauthorized gun access, track missing firearms, and more importantly, reduce overall violence.

Also read: Peter Todd Urges Boycott of Bitcoin ‘Deterioration’ Proposal BIP75

Blockchain Meets ‘Smart Gun’ Technology

kevin Blocksafe
Kevin Barnes

Kevin Barnes is a military veteran and blockchain developer who saw a problem in nascent “smart gun” technology.

Specifically, this is the disconcerting possibility that government could eventually monitor and control guns remotely. Instead, he hopes to provide an opt-in alternative that would enable gun owners to choose whether they want to make their firearms “smart,” automatically blocking access to unauthorized users.

For example, Blocksafe could be used by police to manage, locate, control, and view activities of their officers’ firearms in real time, 24 hours a day. Firing range instructors could use it to train in safer environments, analyzing shooting patterns and tracking inventory. Any gun owner could use Blocksafe to locate stolen guns, access a real-time count of how many rounds are left in a magazine, and protect themselves from being overpowered.

This solution has received strong interest from blockchain and gun industry leaders, according to Blocksafe, and is currently embarking on a crowdsale to raise a goal of $55,000 USD to build the first phase of this technology.


Interview with Kevin Barnes

Bitcoin.com (BC): What is Blocksafe and what type of blockchain does it use?

Kevin Barnes (KB): Blocksafe is a p2p network that provides the infrastructure for smart devices for firearms. Blocksafe uses lisk +  bittorrent + telehash.

BC: Why not the Bitcoin blockchain?

KB: The [Bitcoin] blockchain is not built to be the foundation of an IOT decentralized solution. We are choosing a foundation that we feel has the features and focus needed as a foundation for an IOT network.

Smart gun lockBC: Can you give an example of how this can be used for a gun smartlock?

KB: When setting up a smart device initially, Bluetooth authentication is setup via the Blocksafe app by the owner and all authorized users are added by the device owner and stored on the local ledger. Authentication method varies upon the device and manufacturer.

Let’s say your smart magazine has one round left and has an authentication feature that enabled rounds to be fed to the chamber. The round count and authentication attempt parameters are stored in real time along with other data that the device owner chooses to be recorded such as date, time, and location using encryption onto the local ledger of the device.

So if the authentication is successful, the magazine would allow the last round to be chambered for the user to discharge the weapon. The authentication attempt and all related activities that the device owner chooses to have recorded are stored on the local ledger.

We must have infrastructure in place dedicated for successful implementation of smart gun technology.

When the device has internet access the ledger is synced to the network and the device owner receives notifications such as push, sms, or email as configured by the owner’s chosen device settings. The data is encrypted via a data key on the network. So, only those who have the data kept from the device owner will be able to view the actual device activity.

BC: Would this system store personal information or would it be pseudonymous and used for messaging, data storage only?

KB: Just pseudonymous and used for messaging, data storage only. This information is encrypted and only available for viewing by those who have the device data key.

BC: Guns are 15 times more likely to be used against a gun owner or accidentally discharged (often by children) than used in self-defense. Would Blocksafe eliminate this risk and would you support making this type of system mandatory for all gun owners?

KB: Yes, the Blocksafe network would greatly reduce those risks, though I do not support making the usage of the network or smart device mandatory. We feel that gun owners globally should be able to keep the liberty to use their firearm as they wish and should not be mandated to use a product or service.

gun controlBC: Regulations are being fiercely debated in America following the Orlando shooting. Do you see “smart gun” technology as a potential solution?

KB: Yes, we see smart gun technology as part of a combined solution. I see an infrastructure to support smart gun technology as the first step to reducing the need of regulations in various areas in the world. We have phone lines in place to create the phone system, faxes, and dial-up internet. We also have towers as an infrastructure for cellular phones. We must have infrastructure in place dedicated for successful implementation of smart gun technology.

BC: What other smart gun technologies are emerging today? What makes your blockchain solution better?

KB: Most technologies we have seen have no real infrastructure behind it keeping them limited in some ways and higher risk in others. Higher rate of hacking or electrical interference is a major issue.

“Smart gun devices are going to be a huge market as gun owners realize they have the liberty to make choices to anonymously make their firearms smart when they want them to be.”

A blockchain network will enable data to be stored and transmitted securely without any centralized risk, downtime, and provide complete privacy. We believe that creating a network for smart devices and firearm manufacturers is an essential first step to provide the infrastructure for these other hardware technologies to improve their product and service to gun owners.

Smart gun devices are going to be a huge market as gun owners realize they have the liberty to make choices to anonymously make their firearms smart when they want them to be. Phones went through a similar evolution as they became smarter. We did not see mandates to use cell phones. Free market and liberty gave customers choices and that is what this is about.

BC: What kind of feedback have you received from gun industry leaders, legislators etc.?

KB: We have received great interest in the network once it is understood. Like anything new, understanding it is the biggest hurdle.

[Blocksafe is] an alternative [against] a centralized, hackable network mandated […] used as a Trojan horse to compromise our human right of defense.

Many fear governments around the globe are itching for smart gun technologies to take over our means of self defense. In essence that is why we are building this network: to create an alternative as quickly as possible to not only enjoy our liberty to use smart gun technology for its huge benefits, but also keep from having a centralized, hackable network mandated and used as a Trojan horse to compromise our human right of defense, while reducing gang violence and saving lives.

FBI PhoneBC: Wouldn’t law enforcement seek to gain access to this database as we’ve seen with Apple?

KB: Being that data transmitted and stored is encrypted via a data key, law enforcement would need owner consent to view encrypted data. No personal information is requested, needed or stored by the network. The data key is multilayer encrypted including a quantum encrypted wrapper on phone and device ledgers, so it will not be easy to gain access to the device’s activities. The device records only information the owner chooses. Since devices can be moved from one firearm to another, it only makes sense for the network to record device activities and that is it.

Now, if a gun manufacturer develops a firearm with built-in Blocksafe support, then the purchasing gun owner will be in control of what information is recorded to the ledger. It is up to the owner to abide by any laws that may arise in the future in their jurisdiction relating to mandatory data inclusion.

Do you think a solution like Blocksafe could reduce gun violence? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of recode.netsmartarmorstore.com, nytimes.com, nbcnews.com.

  • Jamie Redman

    Very Interesting topic Allen, and Kevin Barnes.

    • allenscott

      Yea, I’m not sure how much this will reduce overall violence but it does seem like a step in the right direction. Guns can only discharged by their rightful owners seems like a no-brainer just like only you being able to unlock your smartphone.

  • Play_Coin

    The blocksafe network will support a myriad of smart devices for firearms. The other product that (we) will be providing is ‘shotspot’ ,an firearm discharge sensing technology that enables wide area firearm discharge monitoring and response using the blocksafe network.
    Great solution for smart city efforts , school campuses etc as an indoor and outdoor firearm discharge detection and response system.Thanks Allen for your unbiased article , we enjoyed it 🙂

    • Cal S.

      It’s only a matter of time before they get the ATF or FBI to find a way to monitor it. The NSA will have anyone’s information as soon as they join the network (they don’t need personal info, what do you think an IP address is for?). The previous justice department under Holder met with smart gun developers once. What was one of his first questions? How the government could set up a tracking and remote control mechanism. Those smart gun developers were ‘smart’ enough to walk out of the meeting.

      The justified fear of gun owners around the country is as soon as these smart guns hit the market, there will be laws put forth that only smart guns can be owned. We’ve seen it before, and it’s just one executive order or law away from being mandated.

      Besides which, you’re really only putting the burden on lawful gun owners. Is a gang-banger going to get a smart gun? No, he’s not. Meanwhile, it’s the lawless that commit 80% of the gun-crimes. Do something to stop them, instead of targeting the innocent.

  • Ted

    While any “smart” tech could help prevent unauthorized use, somewhere in the mix of technology is a mechanical interface to actually disable the gun. What will prevent a determined person from simply bypassing that physical link? It is nieve to think there won’t be a market for disabled smart guns.

  • TexTopCat

    No network is secure enough to keep “criminals” and our “government” from abuse of the information. The real question is do you want the local drug cartel and the local liberal gun control extremist from this information. Not being involved in drugs and not being involved in any criminal activities, probably not a problem for me. However, when exactly is having that 17 round Glock magazine going to be made into a felony? (as in CA)

  • “Guns are 15 times more likely to be used against a gun owner or accidentally discharge”

    I didn’t know this was an anti-gun site. For your information, that stat is a lie, it was gathered from a debunked study where 500 people, many of them gang members and thugs, were interviewed. That is NOT a true representation of gun owners. So stop asking questions with lies!

    • Do you have a link to that study?

      • I found this.
        http://www.outdoorlife.com/node/1005005221

        Of course, the anti-gunners will always lie. They will say that the John Lott, who wrote “More Guns. Less Crimes” has been discredited. They’ll created websites like ArmedWithReason dot com that are designed to attack guns and gun owners.

        The question you have to ask yourself is: who benefits from gun control? The only people that benefit are the government elite who wants to keep the peasants unarmed and defenseless so they can control them. The history of gun control is racist, google “no guns for negroes,” it’s an excellent video of how racism fueled gun control. Of course, blacks aren’t the only people that have been feared. The Sullivan Act was passed in the early 1900s because of anti-Irish hysteria.

  • LarryEArnold

    I don’t mind you developing the tech, but the article’s projections might be a bit optimistic.
    [When the device has internet access the ledger is synced to the network…]

    And who will guarantee internet access and promise the network will be up and running at speed when I really need my gun right-now? Particularly since when I really need to know my “magazine round-count” my phone will be busy with 911.

    [It is up to the owner to abide by any laws that may arise in the future in their jurisdiction relating to mandatory data inclusion.]

    So much for “an opt-in alternative that would enable gun owners to choose…”

    Blocksafe could be used by police to manage, locate, control, and view activities of their officers’ firearms in real time, 24 hours a day.]
    Don’t hold your breath.

  • Dan Roberts

    This article would be ALOT better if it used actual, objective, verifiable FACTS, instead of regurgitating easily disproved gun control propaganda like the phony stats mentioned about guns being used against their owners vs self defense. Repeating that bullshit stay when it’s so incredibly easy to prove it’s bullshit destroys the credibility of the rest of the article

  • Dan Roberts

    The idea, from the developer and or author that gun owners will flock to ANY kind of so called smart gun technology grossly misunderstands the die hard mindset of most ardent gun owners and 2A supporters. And the same goes for any members of the industry. I AM an integral part of the firearms industry, on many various levels and across a wide spectrum of issues. I speak to gun owners AND industry personnel all around the Country on a regular basis. There is LITTLE interest in this tech for a variety of reasons. Will it possibly entice some fence sitters ? Perhaps. But there is NOT going to be a revolution in the industry and a “huge market” for this tech as the article claims. If anything, it will create a market to hack and or disable the tech, just like people figured out how to jailbreak iPhones within days of their release.