Telecommunications provider Verizon Communications has been experimenting with blockchain technology, which is what powers bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
According to Business Insider, which got ahold of a copy of a U.S. patent filed on May 10 by Verizon Communications, Verizon wants a patent on a passcode blockchain that the telecommunications provider has been developing for three years.
The report highlighted this excerpt from the patent application: “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. 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. If the second user transfers the access rights to a third user, a third passcode may be obtained and added to the blockchain, provided to the third user and designated as the valid passcode. Thus, the first and second passcodes may no longer be considered valid.”
So, why does Verizon care about having digital rights on a blockchain-type system? According to the report, it can allow for pay-per-usage, while smart contracts could provide automatic payment distributions. It could also ensure artists and authors are paid in real time once a consumer listens to a song or reads a story. It’s not only Verizon Communications that is exploring blockchain technology. Banks, startups, companies and exchanges are all getting into the blockchain business, made famous by bitcoin.