Seattle-based tech giant, Amazon, has been granted a patent which it first filed for in December 2016. The patent entails various techniques to build a proof-of-work (PoW) cryptographic system.
The U.S. patent was awarded on Tuesday and outlines how Merkle trees can be generated as a solution to a PoW challenge, among other things.
The Merkle tree structure, which dates back to 1979, allows for the verification of data sent between computers, on peer-to-peer networks like those in blockchains, to ensure that data isn’t falsified.
PoW is used to protect networks by asking service participants to do ‘work’. It often involves heavy computational capacity to solve complex mathematical puzzles. The Bitcoin blockchain uses a PoW consensus where miners compete to solve these complex algorithms.
Amazon says in this case that the Merkle tree creation is the work demanded by the algorithm.
The patent explains:
“A proof-of-work system where a first party (e.g., a client computer system) may request access to a computing resource. A second party (e.g., a service provider) may determine a challenge that may be provided to the first party. A valid solution to the challenge may be generated and provided for the request to be fulfilled.”
“The challenge may include a message and a seed, such that the seed may be used at least in part to cryptographically derive information that may be used to generate a solution to the challenge. A hash tree [or Merkle tree] may be generated as of generating the solution,” it adds.
PoW could also help prevent denial-of-service (DoS) and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that frequently hit computer networks, Amazon says, explaining:
“Requiring a valid proof-of-work may mitigate a DOS or DDOS attack by causing the participants of the DOS or DDOS attack to generate a valid proof-of-work solution, which may require the use of computational resources on the attacking systems and dramatically reduce the rate at which entities participating in the attack may send requests.”
The parent also mentions ‘cryptographic keys’, ‘digital signatures’ and ‘public key signing’ among other blockchain and cryptocurrency-related concept. Even though it discusses these terms, blockchains and cryptocurrencies are not explicitly discussed.
Earlier in May, Amazon’s cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services (AWS), launched its Managed Blockchain service for wider use among enterprise clients. The service supports the open-source framework Hyperledger Fabric. The support for the Ethereum network is still in the works and is expected to be made available later this year.