Intel cools down crypto mining with new patent

Intel was born by being on the cutting edge of technology, so it’s no surprise that the tech giant would continue to ensure that it is able to be an influencer. The company already has a number of patents related to cryptocurrencies and blockchains, but just added another to its growing binder. The latest could go a long way to countering all of those obtuse individuals who believe that cryptocurrency mining is bad for the environment.

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has awarded Intel a patent for a crypto mining processor that allows for “energy-efficient high performance bitcoin mining.” The patent filing specifically refers to the SHA-256 algorithm, which is the most common algorithm used by Bitcoin Core (BTC).

According to the patent, “Dedicated Bitcoin mining ASICs [application-specific integrated circuits] are used to implement multiple SHA-256 engines that may deliver a performance of thousands of hashes per second while consuming power of greater than 200 [watts]. Embodiments of the present disclosure employ micro-architectural optimizations including selective hardwiring certain parameters in Bitcoin mining computation.”

By hardwiring the parameters, the number of computations needed would be reduced. This would allow the mining system to also rely on a decreased amount of power, possibly as much as 15%. The chip could also be made smaller than current chips, which would result in a smaller footprint for the mining equipment that doesn’t have to incorporate a significant amount of cooling devices.

The processor would include additional characteristics that could even further lower the power needs. The patent discusses that, by changing the amount of 32-bit nonce that is used to verify validity, there could be a further reduction in power usage. Intel states in the patent, “Instead of comparing the final hashing result with the target value, [the] bitcoin mining application may determine whether the hash out has a minimum number of leading zeros.”

Intel obviously has a strong history – and a great deal of expertise – with computer processors. In addition to crypto patents the company already holds, it was also the chip manufacturer for 21 Inc., a crypto mining operation. 21 Inc. was later renamed Earn.com and subsequently purchased by Coinbase.

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Salesforce new patent kills email spam with blockchain

San Francisco-based B2B software company Salesforce has been awarded a patent for a blockchain application aimed specifically at spam email.

The blockchain platform will filter spam emails more effectively than existing spam filters, by matching up sent and received messages to records stored on a distributed ledger.

The patent was revealed in documents published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week, which described how Salesforce intends to leverage blockchain technology for detecting emails that have been intercepted or otherwise tampered with between sender and receiver.

Compared to existing spam filters, the blockchain dimension allows for more accurate detection of spam, as well as reducing instances of ‘false positives,’ where genuine emails are inadvertently flagged up as spam.

The Salesforce concept takes a sample of emails being sent and writes the content to a blockchain, where it’s stored for reference. Received emails are then automatically referenced against the stored content, to determine whether the email is a match.

Non-matching emails can be automatically labelled as spam, solving the problem of messaging systems that are “abused and used to distribute unwanted or undesirable messages (or other network traffic), which are commonly referred to as spam.”

The patent described how messages are rendered impenetrable by the immutability and distributed construct of the blockchain platform.

“The [system] can also better identify legitimate (wanted) messages and distinguish them from illegitimate (unsolicited) messages. Used properly, the immutability and distributed nature of the blockchain can make it impossible to modify information once it has been committed to the blockchain,” according to the patent filing.

The document describes other applications for this kind of system, citing examples of patient medical records or property deeds, which could be reported and referenced through the same blockchain system.

The patent seems to be a good fit for Salesforce’s cloud email business, although the firm is known for its investigation applications of blockchain tech across other areas of their business.

Back in March, CEO Mark Benioff indicated there were further blockchain projects on the horizon for Salesforce, as the software giant looks to capitalise on the opportunities in blockchain tech.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Bank of America secures yet another patent, this time for storing private keys

Bank of America has secured its latest cryptocurrency patent, in the form of a hardware device designed to securely store cryptographic keys offline.

Awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week, the patent suggests how the technology could be used for securing cryptocurrency wallets and transactions, as well as in a number of other blockchain use cases.

The patent describes a hardware device that stores private keys without an Internet connection, solving one of the key vulnerabilities in private keys, which are often stored on Internet-connected devices and protected only by a password.

According to the filing, “In specific embodiments of the system, the authentication routine is conducted as part of a crypto-currency transaction, a blockchain transaction or the like…[private keys] are continuously susceptible to being misappropriated. Therefore, a need exists for a secure means for storing private cryptography keys.”

It noted, “The desired storage means should reduce the risk of misappropriation of keys due to the keys being stored internally within a computing node that is frequently or, in some instances, continuously accessible via a public communication network, such as the Internet. Moreover, the desired storage means should provide for real-time responsiveness to tampering, such that misappropriation of the private cryptography keys is prevented.”

While the system described in the patent isn’t limited to cryptocurrencies, the numerous references to crypto transactions throughout the documentation suggests this may be where Bank of America sees the technology in future.

As one of the more prolific companies tying up patents for blockchain systems, Bank of America has filed over 20 separate patent applications, Fortune  reported in June.

Bank of America is also a member of the Hyperledger consortium, in addition to their ongoing research and development around blockchain tech. CTO Catherine Bessant said that while many of the patents were not yet production-ready, the bank’s strategy was to position early for future deployments of these types of technologies.

“We’ve got under 50 patents in the blockchain/distributed ledger space. While we’ve not found large-scale opportunities, we want to be ahead of it, we want to be prepared,” Bessant was quoted by the news outlet as saying.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Mastercard patent merges traditional banking with cryptocurrencies

Financial services giant Mastercard has snapped up yet another patent, this time for fractional cryptocurrency banking.

According to the document published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Mastercard wants to apply principles of fractional reserve banking to cryptocurrencies. The filing explains how the payments processor will use laws of the fiat banking system to help solve safety problems associated with cryptocurrency transaction. By applying the centralized fiat banking system, Mastercard claims it can create a system that safely stores and protects both consumers and merchants.

Inventor Steven Charles Davis, senior consultant of research and development at Mastercard, claimed the nature of blockchain transactions creates a disadvantage for the consumers, who has to wait for their transaction to be approved by an unknown person. The customer has to “rely on the payer’s good faith that their transfer will be valid,” according to the patent filing, and in some cases, payees have lost their currencies after individuals failed to confirm their transactions.

The filing noted, “…the anonymity of the blockchain may leave the payee at a disadvantage, because the inability for the payee to identify the payer may prohibit the payee from utilizing various risk or fraud detection methods. Therefore, many entities, particularly merchants, retailers, service providers, and other purveyors of goods and services, may be wary of accepting blockchain currency for products and participating in blockchain transactions.”

Mastercard said its new application seeks to solve this problem by managing fractional reserves of blockchain currencies, “specifically the use of centralized accounts to manage fractional reserves of fiat and blockchain currency updated via transaction messages corresponding to fiat- and blockchain-based payment transactions.”

By integrating traditional payment networks with blockchain currencies, Mastercard hopes to “provide consumers and merchants the benefits of the decentralized blockchain while still maintaining security of account information and provide a strong defense against fraud and theft.”

The financial giant has also sought patents for other blockchain-based applications. In July, Mastercard was awarded a patent for a system that reduces the time it takes to complete a cryptocurrency transaction.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Nasdaq scoops patent for newswire service on the blockchain

Nasdaq has been granted a new patent for a newswire service powered by the blockchain, leveraging the benefits of distributed ledger technology to release news in a securely, timely fashion.

The company, which runs stock exchanges in the United States and elsewhere, filed its patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in the latest charge from a mainstream financial company towards blockchain technology.

In the filing, Nasdaq demonstrates a system that handles timed release of embargoed news to selected distribution outlets, in a secure, efficient way that leverages the specific advantages of blockchain technology.

Noting that there are other technologies performing a similar function at the moment, the patent filing said that the newswire platform would ensure no audit trail gaps, through recording each news release within the blockchain.

The system allows for news to be distributed with specific embargo times and dates, as well as ensuring data around each release is written to the blockchain.

With the help of smart contracts, it will also be possible to integrate new workflow and security features automatically, improving the efficiency news distribution.

The patent documentation describes the need for “new and improved techniques and systems for delivering and securing such time-sensitive information,” which it says “are continually sought after” by newswire and distribution services.

Information can be shared through the newswire to specific parties automatically when the news reaches its embargo deadline, with multi-sig requirements for security and verification.

“Access to the sensitive information that is stored on the blockchain may include a multi-signature requirement that is part of the embedded scripts that make up a given blockchain transaction,” according to the patent. “The intended recipients of the information may then directly interface with the blockchain at the scheduled time … to access information that has been securely stored.”

In particular, the platform promises to offer a more robust audit trail, avoiding the gaps or lack of auditing-friendly facilities within existing systems – another feature provided for by the blockchain solution.

The Nasdaq patent is the latest blockchain IP secured by the firm, at a time of increasing development activity in blockchain from the world of mainstream finance.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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IBM secures blockchain network security patent

Tech giant IBM has secured a patent for a blockchain-powered network security system, the latest blockchain IP to be tied up by the firm.

The patent describes how blockchain technology can be used to monitor network security breaches within computer systems, one of many specific use cases filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) by the IT firm.

According to the preamble to the filing, the system would rely on a distributed network of monitors, recording and writing log data to a blockchain, while providing essential safeguards against hackers who try to cover their tracks.

The patent stated, “The present invention may include configuring monitors in a chain configuration by configuring a network address of a primary monitor to a backup monitor. The present invention may include configuring a sensor to communicate with the monitors. The present invention may include receiving a first set of information from the sensor to a primary and backup monitor and broadcasting the information to a plurality of monitors and logging the information.”

The patent continues to describe how networks can use node consensus to identify irregularities in reconciling data from their network monitors.

“On a computer system or network, data may be monitored for many different purposes. Data monitoring may identify problems, observe conditions or track metrics by logging the events of a given computer system or network,” according to the patent filing. “Having synchronized monitors set up in a blockchain configuration ensures consensus among the monitors. Since one monitor alone cannot alter the event log in the past or cannot fake the event log in the future, if one monitor is hacked, then there may be no consensus among the synchronized monitors and the event may not get written into the log.”

Information detected by the system is passed to multiple monitors, allowing consensus for automatically validating information. In the event of a discrepancy, the system will instantly detect and flag the potential breach.

According to IBM’s filing, this technology would “create a less vulnerable network,” and “may alert the monitor security program of inconsistent data.”

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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IBM files patent for blockchain-based drone fleet security

Tech giant IBM is seeking to patent a system that will utilize distributed ledger technology (DLT) to address security and privacy concerns following the increasing popularity and usage of drones—both commercially and recreationally.

IBM first applied for the patent in March 2017. According to the document published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the patent application is for a blockchain ledger that could be utilized to store information about unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) flights. The goal, according to the patent application, is to ensure that airspace controllers, regulatory bodies and even UAV owners can check and supervise the rising number of drones in the sky.

The blocks will include data points related to drones flight patterns, including UAV location, manufacturer and model number, flying behavior, weather conditions, and even proximity to restricted zones.

According to the patent application, “The data may be managed as part of a secure chain of data blocks (e.g., in blockchain networks) associated with the UAV that chronicles a status path of the UAV through its recent and/or complete history. In this manner, the various characteristics and parameters of the UAV may be securely tracked using the secure chain of data blocks.”

In the proposed system, the permissioned blockchain could incorporate variable block time that can change in response to environmental triggers. For instance, in UAV no-fly or restricted fly zones—national parks, military bases, and a predetermined radius around a major airport, transactions are added to the blockchain associated with the UAV more frequently in response to a triggering event, such as when the risk level is high (e.g., flying near one of the no-fly or restricted fly zones). Additionally, a smart contract may be implemented to determine that a UAV operator is meeting agreements regarding operation of the UAV.

In contrast, drones that transport emergency medical supplies or perishable medication may be granted special permission to fly in restricted airspace without interference from the authorities. Regulators will be able to see from the blockchain data if a particular drone has the permission to fly over the area.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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IBM files patent for blockchain-based drone fleet security

Tech giant IBM is seeking to patent a system that will utilize distributed ledger technology (DLT) to address security and privacy concerns following the increasing popularity and usage of drones—both commercially and recreationally.

IBM first applied for the patent in March 2017. According to the document published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the patent application is for a blockchain ledger that could be utilized to store information about unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) flights. The goal, according to the patent application, is to ensure that airspace controllers, regulatory bodies and even UAV owners can check and supervise the rising number of drones in the sky.

The blocks will include data points related to drones flight patterns, including UAV location, manufacturer and model number, flying behavior, weather conditions, and even proximity to restricted zones.

According to the patent application, “The data may be managed as part of a secure chain of data blocks (e.g., in blockchain networks) associated with the UAV that chronicles a status path of the UAV through its recent and/or complete history. In this manner, the various characteristics and parameters of the UAV may be securely tracked using the secure chain of data blocks.”

In the proposed system, the permissioned blockchain could incorporate variable block time that can change in response to environmental triggers. For instance, in UAV no-fly or restricted fly zones—national parks, military bases, and a predetermined radius around a major airport, transactions are added to the blockchain associated with the UAV more frequently in response to a triggering event, such as when the risk level is high (e.g., flying near one of the no-fly or restricted fly zones). Additionally, a smart contract may be implemented to determine that a UAV operator is meeting agreements regarding operation of the UAV.

In contrast, drones that transport emergency medical supplies or perishable medication may be granted special permission to fly in restricted airspace without interference from the authorities. Regulators will be able to see from the blockchain data if a particular drone has the permission to fly over the area.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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