Latest Patents in Blockchain

This August saw a number of important blockchain applications patented. The names of applicants is impressive: Walmart, Overstock, tZERO, IBM.. and IBM staffers.

Walmart filed a patent for blockchain backed drone communication. The commerce giant filed for an application entitled “Cloning Drones Using Blockchain” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The application is not Walmart’s first foray into blockchain-backed drone tech. In 2017, Walmart sought a patent for a blockchain-based drone package delivery system, among other applications.

According to the patent, blockchain technology is used to transmit information, like drone identification numbers, flight heights, flight speeds, flight routes, battery information, or loading capacity, to other drones. Information can be shared based on the intermediate location between drones.

The benefit of blockchain technology, the patent claims, lies in data integrity:

“A blockchain ledger may store any kind of information that may be stored in any other format or medium, for example, a large list of instructions of different types, navigational information, and maps. In such a way, a same software profile may be deployed across the cloned drones.”

Walmart intends to use the patent in its future delivery service.

Another application by Walmart is crypto patent for a new stable coin. The retail giant Walmart sparked the interests of the crypto community after filing for a blockchain patent in the US. The company seeks to develop a multitude of crypto-related projects based off of a future stable coin. The news followed Facebook’s announcement of a similar strategy (Libra).

The patent’s filing number is 20190236564 and it is entitled  “System and Method for Digital Currency via Blockchain.

Interestingly, the stable coin by Walmart may be pegged to both fiat currencies and other digital currencies such as Bitcoin.

The patent details a payment system in which Walmart employees are able to avoid high banking fees. In this system, employees receive their paychecks in a Walmart stable coin. Employees could then choose to spend their checks via the participating venders, or of course at Walmart. Additionally, they could choose to convert their earnings into fiat currency to spend elsewhere. Employees could also receive interests for keeping their holdings in the Walmart system. In essence, Walmart could become a blockchain-based corporate bank.

One of the world’s largest platforms to issue and trade digital securities tZERO, subsidiary of Overstock.com announced on the 6th August 2019 its receipt of the Time Ordered Merkle Epoch (TOME) patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The new patent will allow data from transactions via traditional trading systems and private blockchains to be immutably anchored on public blockchains.

The technology behind the new TOME patent is expected to integrate blockchain technology with traditional trading systems.

TOME is a base-layer technology that uses digital signatures to record and verify time-series data to include trades, executions, and settlements.

Through the new technology, incoming trades can be recorded quickly and efficiently in a time-series, producing a hash at any time interval, which can then be anchored on a public blockchain.

With a such a capability, tZERO can verify the existence of previous trades and even produce an immutable and auditable record of those transactions., Ultimately, the technology behind TOME allows for low-latency systems, to include both traditional matching engines and private blockchain ledgers, to be immutably anchored to public blockchains.

IBM has received a patent for a blockchain-based web browser, to be backed by a peer-to-peer network.

The browser collects pre-specified information from web browsing sessions, according to the patent. The information is then transferred to a network of peer-to-peer nodes for collection and storage. Information collection depends on the type of browsing experience chosen.

Types of potentially storable session information include what websites one visits, bookmarks, task performance, geolocation, plugin installation, and security patches.

One potential use-case the document includes, among others, is an attack on a computer’s browser. If secured by blockchain technology, a viable backup of all user information is available.

Interestingly, IBM included a token in their model. IBM says tokens will verify a users browser session activities as they are packaged into blocks for the peer-to-peer network.

Also, several IBM staffers are looking to patent a blockchain-powered domain-name system (DNS), according to a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Though IBM itself isn’t named in the patent application, 20 researchers employed there, as well as researchers from a handful of venerable institutions, including Peking University, are behind the latest submission. Many of the researchers’ LinkedIn profiles tie them to IBM.

The application makes the case that the existing DNS system, which routes traffic when users look for websites, isn’t secure. According to the filing, domains would be owned across a distributed network of computers, and run under the auspices of an advanced “governance” structure. The current system, it’s worth mentioning, is also technically decentralized—but doesn’t operate on a shared, cryptographically secure ledger as a blockchain-powered version would. The researchers propose using proof of stake, in which large and long-term holders validate the network.