US communications giant Verizon has filed a Blockchain patent for its digital media rights following three years of investigative research.
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Verizon: Patent for ‘Passcode Blockchain’
Verizon, the largest communications company in the US, made the application in May but has declined to comment on its plans behind the move.
The patent, a copy of which was obtained by Business Insider, makes reference to a “passcode blockchain,” which would “store a sequence of passcodes” related to users of digital content.
“The DRM (digital rights management) system may maintain a list of passcodes in a passcode blockchain. The passcode blockchain may store a sequence of passcodes associated with the particular digital content and may indicate a currently valid passcode,” the published except states.
For example, a first passcode may be assigned to a first user and designated as the valid passcode. If the access rights are transferred to a second user, a second passcode may be obtained and added to the blockchain, provided to the second user, and designated as the valid passcode. Thus, the first passcode may no longer be considered valid.
The idea appears to hinge on giving rights to users to access digital content as part of a subscription, for example, assuring customers do not manipulate contracts or engage in fraud. At the same time, smart contracts would allow fair distribution of royalty payments, Business Insider reports.
“Furthermore, the expiration date associated with the key may continue to be in effect with respect to the second user and/or any subsequent users,” the patent continues.
Thus, if access rights for a particular digital content are associated with a rental period, or a subscription period, users may continue to transfer the rights to other users during the rental period.
A Year of Telling Signs
Verizon is said to have been researching the material behind the Blockchain for up to three years.
The company also has a recent history in Blockchain investment, with its venture capital branch Verizon Ventures pumping funds into decentralized IoT devices startup Filament, whose technology utilizes both Blockchain and Ethereum.
Verizon Ventures Director Ed Ruth at the time praised Filament and co-founder Eric Jennings for its disruptive angle.
“What’s so interesting about what Eric and his team are building is how the combination of end-to-end encryption with private-key crypto hardware shows great potential for generating revenue from transactions…in effect, monetizing the internet,” he wrote in a press release accompanying the investment confirmation.
Verizon’s own plans for the future using the Blockchain meanwhile remain uncertain, with the company and Ruth keeping silence on the matter.
Meanwhile, users are already able to top up their Verizon contract with Bitcoin using services such as Bitrefill, which credits funds to their account in USD following payment.
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