Introduction to peaq
peaq is the Web3 network powering the Economy of Things (EoT) on Polkadot, the most environmentally-friendly blockchain network. peaq enables entrepreneurs and developers to build decentralized applications for vehicles, robots, devices, and other machines, while empowering users to govern and earn as these connected machines provide goods and services to people and to other machines. Together with leading consortia, including Gaia-X and MOBI, peaq is co-creating the standards that will power the future of mobility and other connected industries while working to democratize abundance in the Age of Automation.
The peaq network is a smart contract platform built with Substrate supporting ink! and Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) smart contracts. The peaq network enables machines to provide and render services and become fully self-sufficient by leveraging peer-to-peer (p2p) technologies such as Machine NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), Decentralized Finance (DeFi), Self-Sovereign Machine Identity (SSMI) and novel economic mechanisms to align the incentives of all Economy of Things stakeholders, namely; machines, machine owners, manufacturers, individuals/users, organizations and investors, while incentivising the deployment of more machines to the network.
The peaq token ($PEAQ) is a native token that has four primary uses: to power Machine DeFi on the peaq network, to generate Machine NFTs, to power the Economy of Things Operations such as transaction fees or governance, and to subsidize the deployment of new machines. More on the PEAQ token can be found below in the Token Utility section.
peaq is powering the Economy of Things. You’ll read this phrase a lot when dealing with anything to do with peaq, so here’s a short guide to the Economy of Things, with some links to our blog to dive deeper if you so wish.
The Internet of Things is the internet as you know and use it — to connect and exchange information — but for things — machines, vehicles, robots and devices. We’ll refer to things collectively as machines. Connected machines save us time and energy by automating processes in life and business and allowing for certain tasks to be done faster and better than we humans ever could. The number of connected machines is forecast to almost triple from roughly 9 billion in 2020 to over 25 billion by 2030.
Machines currently run on Web2 platforms created, governed and powered by large corporations. These machines, the services they provide and the value they generate exist in ‘walled gardens’ — only accessible via the same siloed, corporate controlled platforms. This means that for any machine to provide any goods or services, they must rely on corporate intermediaries, and this extra step has negative consequences for privacy, security, efficiency, availability, functionality and costs.
If you’d like to familiarize yourself with the difference between Web2 and Web3, read this.
If the Internet of Things represents things becoming aware and connected, then the Economy of Things represents things becoming independent and self-sufficient. In the Economy of Things, connected machines make the jump from tools that economic agents (people) use to being economic agents themselves, able to interact and transact with each other and with people.
Vehicles, machines, robots and devices are becoming increasingly able to autonomously provide services and monetize, invest and trade the value they create. This represents a ‘liquification’ of the value of the Internet of Things. Untapped value is being tapped, and novel solutions to new and existing problems are being created. The network enables this value to be traded leveraged instantly and directly across decentralized applications, platforms and markets.
You can read more about the Economy of Things here.
It’s 2030, and the Web2 Internet of Things has become ubiquitous. There are sensors in absolutely everything, everywhere, relaying information to tech giants around the globe. You take a shared car to go to the hairdresser. The car is electric, but more importantly, connected. You unlock it, hop in, drive to the hairdresser and leave it in park mode, before driving home. Pretty average task, right?
Information on which car you used, which route you took, how you drove - i.e how fast or slow you went, whether you stopped at the red light, or even if you took your hands off the steering wheel while driving - was recorded and transmitted to multiple tech companies in real time. All the while, your smartwatch has been tracking the most intimate information imagine-able about what’s going on inside you. Your heart rate, breathrate, blood oxygen levels, blood sugar levels, temperature - the list goes on.
The same holds true for your home, where you’ve got a smart fridge, smart speakers, thermostat, lights and so on, and it’s the same story for every other connected device, machine, vehicle or robot you interact with. And one day, it will be true for brain implants, too.
Let’s put it this way. Would you tell a stranger your medical history? Would you tell them when your next period is due, or the last time you had sex? Would you tell them how much money you owe the bank, or everything you’ve ever ordered online? Would you tell them if you had an affair, or all the promises you texted to your best friend? Your search history? Your route to work? Would you tell this person, all of the above, x1000, all the time? We didn’t think so.
We assume you’d be even less happy to give it away to a stranger with hundreds of supercomputers storing, analyzing and making predictions about your behavior so accurately that they could know your next moves - inside and out - many times better than you ever could. That’s where we’re heading. That’s why we need the Economy of Things to be built on Web3.
Our vehicles, machines, robots and devices aren’t the problem - the digital infrastructure we’re using is. That’s why we’re building peaq, a Web3 network for the Economy of Things.
So it’s clear the Web2 Internet of Things should give way to the Web3 Economy of Things, but why build it on peaq? Here are some reasons.
peaq’s economic model is designed to align the incentives of all stakeholders in the Economy of Things (EoT) and give them ownership of the economy itself through the ability to vote on the peaq network and receive rewards from it. As more machines join the network, more value is being distributed across the entire community, incentivizing further expansion and the onboarding of more machines. This creates a positive reinforcement loop making peaq’s economic model self-sustaining and capable of expanding to accommodate more stakeholders indefinitely.
peaq’s approach to the Economy of Things, whether it comes to mobility or connected wearables, is fundamentally hardware-agnostic. peaq runs as a digital backbone that’s easy for any connected machine to integrate with. This enables a smooth overall experience for developers and users, and paves the way for a wide array of possible solutions and applications involving IoT manufacturers and the Web3 ecosystem to be created.This digital-first strategy makes peaq inherently versatile. Connected machines are already capable of going online and communicating with others, which is the baseline functionality for leveraging a blockchain network. By creating value and initiating transactions, machines get a whole new level of economic agency, charging both humans and other machines for the services they provide while being able to pay off their own expenses, and even invest their earnings.
peaq works with a vast network of partners, including collaborations with major consortia bringing industry leaders together to hammer out the standards for the EoT. Working with projects such as Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative and GAIA-X’s moveID, peaq helps guide the industry’s arrival into the Web3 era and develops its own software in compliance with these standards – the standards set to be used by top global companies such as Bosch, Ford, and Renault. For people building on peaq, this guarantees their projects will be in compliance with the necessary regulatory frameworks and industry requirements. Builders of dApps can make use of peaq’s support for consortia standards, such as MOBI Vehicle Identity, without having to put months of work into their integration from scratch. Standardization also means higher interoperability within the larger ecosystem and easy integrations with other projects within the network. peaq’s compliance also takes a lot of risk off both the dApp builders and their users, providing them with a high degree of regulatory certainty. It expands the network’s usability and enables it to function as a versatile and reliable backbone for a wide array of EoT use cases.
Self-Sovereign Machine Identities (SSMIs) are digital identities that enable vehicles, machines, robots and devices to identify themselves with each other, with people and with their environment. What makes them special is that they’re decentralized identities; they enable direct, peer-to-peer identification and interaction without being dependent on centralized third-parties.
In case you’re wondering why machines need their own SSIs, check out our article on Self-Sovereign Identity for Machines here.
Self-Sovereign Machine Identities (SSMIs) are the critical first foundation block for a decentralized Economy of Things. The Economy of Things is a fully digital and decentralized economy wherein machines of all kinds provide goods and services to other machines and to people. Before being able to provide or consume any good or service, the interacting entities must first establish mutual trust. SSMIs establish this trust by enabling decentralized identification, authentication and verification, with no corporate intermediaries.
peaq ID enables a machine to operate as part of the Economy of Things and therefore creates the basis for any machine-to-machine or machine-to-person interaction. peaq ID sits beside peaq access (Role-Based Access Control/RBAC) and peaq pay as one of the three core functions that peaq provides for the community and enterprise consortia to create decentralized applications (dApps) for the Economy of Things.
You can read more about peaq ID here.
Machines are on course to replace humans as the primary workforce. We believe that the communities that these machines serve should own the machines. We’re giving everyone from investors to machine manufacturers, owners, users, and even machines themselves the ability to own the machines that drive the Economy of Things, allowing the people to govern and profit directly from the machines that serve them. In making it possible for machine manufacturers, investors, owners, users and machines to own Machine NFTs, we are aligning everyone’s incentives. All of a sudden — everyone is betting on the same horse. Everyone has skin in the game.
You can read more about Machine NFTs, here.
DeFi empowers people to choose how to leverage their assets without any input (or fees) from intermediaries. The Economy of Things aims to give people this same freedom when it comes to machines. It’s widely appreciated that the Economy of Things must be based on the blockchain in order to be decentralized and fair. Permissionless blockchains provide the decentralized infrastructure needed for us to transfer assets and data with near-instant settlement and with high standards of security. Built on top of this, DeFi’s many services offer the necessary technology to build the marketplaces for machines to exchange value and services on. Cryptocurrencies themselves can act as the lifeblood of this system. All of these are essential components of the Economy of Things. By establishing decentralized ownership of a machine that has the potential to earn and move real world value, in the form of data and cryptocurrency, we unlock new earning opportunities for ourselves. The use of DeFi tools is essential to making this advancement a reality.
You can read more about Machine DeFi here.
From the first line of code, peaq was designed with one specific purpose in mind – to power the Economy of Things. While broad enough to cover a wide variety of use cases and sectors, from mobility to wearables and smart power grids, this still amounts to a focused vision zooming in on real-world value and outcomes generated by smart machines. This sharp focus enables peaq to zoom in on its core functionality – enabling the Economy of Things – across the entire stack, fine-tuning its architecture around the needs of this specific ecosystem. While enabling a vast array of use cases in multiple industries and domains, it avoids the problem of stretching too far and too wide, which can result in suboptimal design decisions and a siloed community.
peaq is built with Substrate, the native framework of the Polkadot ecosystem, which puts interoperability at its core. Polkadot’s hub-and-spoke architecture, where multiple parachains are linked with the relay chain, natively enables blockchain networks to communicate with one another, bringing more utility to their users. Furthermore, peaq’s design brings this approach one step further, as it is also compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) – the runtime environment for Ethereum’s smart contracts which converts Solidity code into machine-readable binaries. By featuring EVM support, peaq grants developers maximum flexibility to build either in ink! or Solidity and works as the bridge between the Polkadot and the Ethereum ecosystems.
There are several more bridges planned.
The rise of the EoT opens up a wide array of opportunities for transforming the economy, handing more and more dangerous or boring and routine tasks to machines and robots – but it has an obvious downside, too. While automation does not always have to deprive humans of the financial means to exist, more often than not it does, at least in the short-medium term, since the value created by the machines ultimately ends up with their owners, the large corporations and Big Tech firms. Even if humans upskill themselves, this often takes time, and the rate of advance of technology is only speeding up while our ability to adapt to new jobs remains constant.
Focusing on machine device ownership would do little to alleviate the ills that proliferation of increasingly smart, AI-imbued machines may unleash on the world. It’s easy to imagine robotic manufacturing lines and automated warehouses leaving thousands of manual laborers out of work, but the reality is, automation will cut deeper. Just look at the rise of imagery-generating AIs and imagine the impact they could have on the entire creative industry.
The Economy of Things must represent an entirely new approach to ownership of vehicles, machines, robots and devices. peaq’s Machine NFTs enable fractionalized ownership over machine fleets and the value that they produce, enabling anyone to get a stake in the increasingly automated economy. Inclusivity and community-shared rewards are a crucial part of the tokenomics behind peaq and a central pillar of our vision to make machine-generated abundance more accessible to everyone. In the long run, machines will only grow more intelligent, taking on more and more roles in the economy, and shared ownership is the key to making sure that all humans still have a piece of the pie.
Machines exist in four key domains, land, sea, sky and space. The Economy of Things therefore also exists across these domains. That’s a lot of machines, doing a lot of different things in a lot of different places.
While it is certainly tempting for us to dream of the community building dApps for interplanetary travel, space tourism or asteroid mining, it would go against our pragmatic nature (a tad). Space is, alas, the final frontier. So we’re focusing more on enabling what’s possible today. Check out the Use Cases page on the peaq website for inspiration, or to drop your ideas and inspire others. You can also read more about what you can build on peaq, here.