Amazon Awarded Patents For Cryptography And Distributed Data Storage


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has published two patents awarded to E-commerce and cloud computing giant Amazon.

The two patents, one in digital signatures and another in distributed data storage, were published on November 13, 2018.

Signature delegation

The first patent focuses on a signature delegation technique that creates a cryptographic system that protects encrypted communication.

Amazon Awarded Patents For Cryptography And Distributed Data StorageFiled in April, the patent describes a Merkle-Tree based system on the generation and distribution of one-time-use cryptographic keys.

“Merkle trees” represent paired hash associations used in cryptocurrencies when confirming and verifying datasets in peer-to-peer networks.

The system spotlights a signature authority in which master seed value generates a ‘seed tree of subordinate nodes’ via cryptographic hashes.

The ‘Merkle Tree’ structure is a vital component of the blockchain system, primarily enabling systems to efficiently and securely verify data. It summarizes data from correlated transactions, thus helping in maintaining its integrity.

As Hackernoon puts it:

“Using a Merkle tree allows for a quick and simple test of whether a specific transaction is included in the set or not.”

Amazon’s patent system aims at taking the signing authority from a centralized entity to subordinates, with the ‘the signature authority’ providing for the distribution of “blocks of cryptographic keys to authorized signing delegates.”

The patent notes that the system allows an authorized subordinate to contact the signature authority and request for the cryptographic keys, sign on its behalf and safeguard data integrity.

In order to sign the message in the data set, the signature authority first needs to select a one-time-use key that enables it to generate the digital signature.

The key revocation service works when cryptographic keys become invalid. In this case, the service “queries the Merkle tree of delegable keys to acquire the hashes,” that enables the requester access to the revoked cryptographic keys.

The delegate is then able to replicate the signature authority’s public key, and as the Amazon document claims, it is possible to implement the revocation database on the blockchain.

Data distribution

Amazon filed for the second patent that relates to distributed data storage in December 2015.

In the filing, Amazon proposes an encoding technique that seeks to expand distributed storage via “grid shards.” The system aims at improving stockpiling proficiency with each shard a representation of data in a grid.

Amazon Awarded Patents For Cryptography And Distributed Data StorageThe intention is to minimize storage redundancies, while providing for maximum durability and availability of a network, including the internet, intranet or an internet service provider (ISP).

Efforts towards enhancing distributed data storage have been espoused by several blockchain based startups, including platforms like Filecoin, Storj, and Sia. Such efforts have also combined the related field of cloud computing and storage solutions.

Is Amazon entering the crypto space?

Amazon’s move towards securing crypto-related patents has seen several speculations surface about its intention in the blockchain industry.

Before the latest two recognitions, the company won another patent in April relating to a streaming data marketplace, a system that makes it possible for real-time viewing of transaction data.

Similar patenting strategies have been filed by big-name institutions like IBM, Bank of America, and Mastercard.

This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.

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