According to a filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Amazon is working on a proof-of-work (PoW) system that will use cryptography.
The patent, filed on May 14, describes techniques for using the generation of Merkle trees as a solution to a proof-of-work challenge. The challenge could be providing a solution to a problem, such that a third party is then able to verify the solution is correct. After verifying the solution, the party may then be able to obtain one or more computing resources.
Amazon and Proof-of-Work
While the filing contains a lot of technical jargon, the type of system described is similar to a PoW cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH). The document doesn’t specifically mention blockchain or cryptocurrency, but it seems that the combination of Merkle Trees with a proof-of-work concept indicates that Amazon is working towards a solution that uses this technology.
In cryptography, a Merkle Tree is a tree where each leaf node is labeled with the hash of a data block and every non-leaf node is labeled with a cryptographic hash of the labels relating to its child nodes. The use of these ‘hash trees’ allows secure and efficient verification of the content of large data structures. Merkle Trees are used in the Bitcoin and Ethereum peer-to-peer networks.
Potential Applications for AWS?
Throughout the document, the usage of the system is linked to authentication and verification concepts, as well as a protective mechanism against denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks. This could find potential applications for Amazon’s AWS infrastructure.
Amazon has already dipped its toes in the world of blockchain, having recently announced the Amazon Managed Blockchain (AMB). The product is designed to allow users to set up their own blockchain networks within their organizations and uses Ethereum and Hyperledger as its open source frameworks.
What are your thoughts on this patent filing by Amazon? Is Amazon building a cryptocurrency-like system? Share your opinion in the comments!