Convergence of Blockchain and Edge Computing for Secure and Scalable IIoT Critical Infrastructures in Industry 4.0

Yulei WU*, Hong Ning DAI, Hao WANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Critical infrastructure systems are vital to underpin the functioning of a society and economy. Due to the ever-increasing number of Internet-connected Internet-of-Things (IoT)/Industrial IoT (IIoT), and the high volume of data generated and collected, security and scalability are becoming burning concerns for critical infrastructures in industry 4.0. The blockchain technology is essentially a distributed and secure ledger that records all the transactions into a hierarchically expanding chain of blocks. Edge computing brings the cloud capabilities closer to the computation tasks. The convergence of blockchain and edge computing paradigms can overcome the existing security and scalability issues. In this article, we first introduce the IoT/IIoT critical infrastructure in industry 4.0, and then we briefly present the blockchain and edge computing paradigms. After that, we show how the convergence of these two paradigms can enable secure and scalable critical infrastructures. Then, we provide a survey on the state of the art for security and privacy and scalability of IoT/IIoT critical infrastructures. A list of potential research challenges and open issues in this area is also provided, which can be used as useful resources to guide future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9203896
Pages (from-to)2300-2317
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Internet of Things Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received April 30, 2020; revised July 11, 2020 and August 20, 2020; accepted September 19, 2020. Date of publication September 22, 2020; date of current version February 4, 2021. This work was supported in part by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, U.K., under Grant EP/R030863/1, and in part by the Macao Science and Technology Development Fund under Grant 0026/2018/A1. (Corresponding authors: Yulei Wu; Hong-Ning Dai.) Yulei Wu is with the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4QF, U.K. (e-mail:

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 IEEE.


  • Blockchain
  • critical infrastructure
  • edge computing
  • Industry 40
  • Internet of Things (IoT)


Dive into the research topics of 'Convergence of Blockchain and Edge Computing for Secure and Scalable IIoT Critical Infrastructures in Industry 4.0'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this