SafeShip @ T-Mobile Hacksgiving

SafeShip uses IoT and Blockchain technology to require a customer's cryptographic key to ensure ownership of goods and prevent potential thieves from using those goods. The SafeShip Box physically locks up until you unlock it using your private key, through your preference of bio-identified phone, implanted technology, or simple RFID tag.


  1. Nearly ⅓ of Americans have had their packages stolen off their front porch [1].
  2. 25.9 million Americans (8%) had a holiday package stolen from their front porch or doorstep in 2017 — up from 23.5 million porch thefts reported in 2015 [1].
  3. Some goods are stolen a lot: ½ of people have had bikes stolen, with fewer than 2.5% being recovered [2]. Items that are not left out as often, such as phones, are still stolen at a rate of 3 million a year, as of 2013 [3].
  4. Alternative security measures haven’t gained traction. “Kill switch” mechanisms have failed to gain traction: A measure in California would have required all phones in California to be preloaded with anti-theft software that would completely shut down a device once it's been reported stolen. California senators shot down the initiative [3].

What it does

SafeShip leverages Blockchain and IoT to ensure asset ownership: unless you can provide the private key for an asset, you are unable to use it. Private keys are transmitted through a personal device, such as an implanted RFID chip or bio-identified smartphone. Each SafeShip device becomes part of an ownership verification network: ownership of assets can only be transferred through the owner’s private key, and transfers are validated and confirmed through the blockchain network to prevent fraudulent transfers of ownership.

How we built it

We used a Raspberry Pi to run a Blockchain node, which helped verify transfer of ownership and user identity. This controls an Arduino and the locking mechanism for the SafeShip Box. The Blockchain verification functions and user controls are controlled through a easy-to-use web interface created with PHP, which is fully responsive to be usable on mobile devices. We developed a full enclosure for the hardware innards of the SafeShip Box to demonstrate how even with a bulky Ardunio, the hardware could easily be added to shipments.

Challenges we ran into

  1. The hardware library didn't have everything we needed to integrate a Raspberry Pi, so there's a laptop in the box instead.
  2. 24 hours isn't quite enough to implement a full, customized Blockchain solution. We got IoT though :)

Accomplishments that we're proud of

This was the first real hackathon for 2/3 of the group, so to churn out a project we all found interesting and loved building is something we can tell our parents about. We also built something that we felt filled a need and helped solve a common issue (or at least make valuable steps to do so). Some of us also found that we were able to thrive mentally despite very little (see: none) sleep.

What we learned

Hardware is hard without a background in it.

What's next for SafeShip

Our solution uses Blockchain and IoT technology in a way that could easily be expanded to other systems:

  1. Physical objects can be disabled. For example, a bike could be locked, similar to how Lime Bikes function when not being used.
  2. Electronics could be rendered useless without verifying one’s identity: currently, simple hardware resets can circumvent passwords on most devices.

We would also like to refine our hardware:

  1. Creating SafeShip for a phone or other electronics - to prevent phone theft both during delivery and through the life of the device.
  2. Creating an actual Box that is tamper-proof, through smart-tape or other package-integrity verification.
  3. Making a smaller device.

Built With

Share this project: