As the blockchain reform tide sweeps several industries, Sony has been riding the disruptive wave and pushing for blockchain innovation. The Japanese tech giant has filed for two blockchain patents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The submission indicates that the company intends to solidify its footing in the blockchain space by exploring new ways to enhance the blockchain structural design.
Extrapolations from Sony’s patent filings describe applications that will help improve the design and overall architecture of blockchain hardware by integrating new circuitries into the blockchain system and using virtual nodes to maintain system integrity.
The first patent, titled – “Electronic Node and Method for Maintaining a Distributed Ledger,” describes an electrical device designed to maintain a blockchain by utilizing multiple electronic nodes and various blocks. This patent details a method for adding new blocks to the distributed ledger by compressing the data of the block. The technique will help establish competitive nodes working on the mining process, and could potentially allow small blocks produced by these nodes to attain bigger rewards.
On the other hand, the second patent – “Device and System” proposes a bi-functional application for accessing and maintaining blockchains. “Device” functions as an application for granting access to a blockchain by integrating an access point apparatus for the system through one or more virtual nodes, while “System” is described as an application for maintaining a blockchain by utilizing multiple virtual nodes.
Sony believes that the integration of virtual nodes will allow it to preserve the integrity of the blockchain network “where the number of devices is small or becomes small.” The dual nature of these patents will enable them to effectively complement each other since one serves as a method for accessing the blockchain while the other seeks to help maintain it.
Sony’s foray into the blockchain space is not exactly a new development. The tech conglomerate has been involved with several other blockchain developments. In November 2017, Sony teamed up with IBM to pursue a blockchain based project for the educational sector. The company applied for a patent titled “Electronic Apparatus, Method for Electronic Apparatus and Information Processing System” which focused on leveraging blockchain technology to create a range of educational services and help improve data sharing and student data management.
Other Sony blockchain endeavors include a patent using blockchain to securely store digital rights data for all sort of content including medical data, music, games, and TV shows. Sony also filed for another patent application which proposes a blockchain-powered multi-factor authentication system (MFA) to secure user logins. With this approach, the blockchain will serve two primary functions; to verify the identity of users and to generate tokens required to login.
By default, blockchains are open source and free to use, however, due to the wide variety of applications possible with this technology, companies are now working to develop advanced paid applications and derivative technologies based on the original blockchain structure. Sony’s competitors in this space include Walmart and IBM who have also been linked with blockchain patent applications that propose solutions for managing smart appliances and improving supply chain management.