On November 13, two patents related to cryptography were granted to Amazon. While the American pioneer of e-commerce, with a turnover of over 177 billion dollars, did not choose to accept Bitcoin (BTC) and important altcoin as a payment option in spite of the public interest and the experience of competitors, did not ignore the whole topic. In fact, Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company's cloud computing arm, has contributed to the adoption of the blockchain.
Amazon and cryptocurrency: refusing to accept BTC, unsatisfied plans for Amazon Coin
Amazon has a complex relationship with crypts. In April 2014, the e-commerce giant decided not to accept Bitcoin (BTC) citing customer preferences. Payments Amazon head Tom Taylor told Recode in an interview:
"Obviously there is a lot of press and we have taken into consideration, […] but we do not hear from customers that it's right for them and we do not have any plans in Amazon to involve Bitcoin. "
Curiously, the move only came a few months after Overstock.com, one of Amazon's rivals, became the first major retail company to introduce BTC as a payment option and found an initial success, as its CEO Patrick Byrne he claimed that Amazon should "follow the example" ".
Taylor's comment could have meant that the e-commerce giant would turn into cryptocurrency once they saw more exposure. However, the 2014 decision remains up-to-date, regardless of the general improvement in market capitalization and adoption, public petitions addressed to CEO Jeff Bezos, and some companies that have been built to serve as intermediaries for Amazon customers willing to pay with digital currencies.
However, Amazon has not distanced itself from committing to the crypt altogether. In May 2014, not long after it announced that it had no plans for encryption, Amazon obtained a Bitcoin patent for the use of digital currencies as payment for cloud computing services on Amazon Web Services (AWS) . It is worth noting, however, that the patent was filed in March 2012 and the crypt was mentioned as the only form of payment.
In November 2017, the e-commerce giant announced the purchase of a number of cryptographic domain names, including "amazoncryptocurrencies.com", "amazoncryptocurrency.com" and "amazonethereum.com". It was also noted that "amazonbitcoin" .com "redirects to the original Amazon URL.
However, it may have been an attempt to protect the Amazon brand or avoid confusion with Amazon Coin, the company's digital currency that was introduced in 2013 for Kindle e-book holders. The currency has not seen widespread use despite the public documented interest.
In April 2018, Amazon won a patent for a subscription feed system described as a "streaming data market". Basically, the company claimed it could "identify [Bitcoin] Participants in Transactions "for Governments and Forces of Order The document was compiled in June 2014 and showed that while the e-commerce giant could accept the idea of managing cryptography , puts a strong emphasis on the Know the Customer (KYC) side of the company, which, in turn, would overlook an important part of Bitcoin's ideology and design.
Therefore, Amazon has not proven to be exactly a pro-Bitcoin company. However, its relationship with the underlying technology, blockchain, has proven to be much more fruitful.
Amazon and blockchain: important collaborations, contribution to adoption
On December 5th, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced a partnership with R3 – a major blockchain consortium of more than 200 members – to enable its Corda platform to become one of the first distributed ledger technology (DLP) solutions on the AWS market. Corda is an open source DLT platform designed to operate in the financial field to handle complex transactions and limit access to transaction data. Basically, it allowed users to deploy decentralized applications (dApps) on the AWS platform and directly create new apps.
The news came as a shock, given that only a few days before the announcement, Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS, has substantially criticized the blockchain for not having used the cases "beyond the distributed ledger", observing that even those had very limited abilities. Furthermore, he reiterated the company policy of not "building technology because we think it's beautiful".
He added, however, that AWS was interested in ways in which the blockchain could benefit their customers:
"We are very intrigued by what customers will ultimately do there."
However, there were at least three blockchain-based platforms on the AWS market prior to the arrival of Corda and Jassy's speech, which shows that Amazon's initial interest in the blockchain has arisen 39th, beginning of 2017.
On April 19, 2018, AWS's journey into blockchain continued. The cloud platform introduced its blockchain framework for Ethereum (ETH) and Hyperledger Fabric, allowing users to create and manage their blockchain-based DApps. Called AWS CloudFormation Templates, the tool is designed to avoid the time-consuming manual installation of your blockchain network.
Next month, in May, AWS has partnered with ConsenSys, a blockchain incubator initiated by Ethereum's co-founder, Joseph Lubin. Specifically, the e-commerce company collaborated with Kaleido, a blockchain cloud business that aims to help companies accelerate "the whole journey from experimentation and PoC" [proofs-of-concept] to pilots and production "and is based on Ethereum's blockchain.Together, they aim to offer simplified blockchain cloud platforms for their customers so that they can" focus on their scenario, [without having] become cryptographic research doctors ", as Kaleido co-founder Steve Cerveny explained to CNBC.
Since then Kaleido has expanded into a full-stack platform called "Kaleido Marketplace". Reportedly, "eliminates the 80% of the custom code" needed to build a particular blockchain project by providing a set of "plug-and-play" tools and protocols, "Spanning needs from back-end development to app user interfaces" front-end.
Currently, there are about 25 blockchain-oriented platforms hosted on the AWS platform, some of which also report promising results. For example, in September, a blockchain system developed by the Australian National Science Agency (CSIRO) and the University of Sydney claimed to have set a benchmark of 40,000 transactions per second during an Amazon Cloud test: comparison, the BTC infrastructure normally scales up to eight transactions per second, while the capacity of the ETH blockchain is set to 15 transactions per second.
Amazon blockchain experiments have attracted the recognition of key actors: for example, the auditing firm and auditing "Big Four" Deloitte emphasized Amazon's blockchain efforts in its October report, claiming that the e-commerce was helping to stimulate the adoption and contribution of technology to improve the costs of blockchain operations. In addition, the research analyst Bank of America (BoA), Kash Rangan, told CNBC that blockchain is suitable for some of the largest companies in the world, noting:
"Amazon will benefit from the growing demand for cloud services from blockchain implementation, while better supply chain monitoring should make Amazon's retail operations more efficient."
The latest advancement of Amazon: more blockchain patents, encrypted job listings
While Amazon has acquired both cryptocurrencies and patents related to the blockchain, it is fair to take them with a pinch of salt – given that the industry is still young, many players, such as the aforementioned Bank of America (BoA), which currently has most of these patents are simply trying to mark the field before the others arrive. As a result, not all patents (related to the blockchain or not) will soon be used. For example, in 2016 Amazon obtained a patent for a system for delivering goods through a chain of underground tunnels, a very ambitious and expensive goal that is probably not the highest priority of the company.
On November 13, the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office) published two other Amazon patents related to methods to protect the integrity of digital signatures and improve the storage of distributed data, deposited respectively in 39; April 2018 and December 2015.
The first patent document outlines a "delegation signature" method to "protect the integrity of digital signatures and encrypted communications", allowing the generation, distribution, validation and revocation of single-use cryptographic keys. In the proposed system, these keys are arranged in what is known in cryptography as the so-called "Merkle Tree" structure, which is essentially a binary tree of hash built from the bottom to the top.
The second Amazon patent is related to the storage of distributed data. The file proposes a "grid coding technique", using groups of collected "fragments", in which each fragment represents a logical distribution of data elements stored in a given grid. The patent filing suggests that this method can help minimize storage redundancy.
While Amazon may have multiple patents coming soon, the e-commerce giant is nowhere to be seen in the main patent part, occupied by the likes of its Chinese counterpart Alibaba and IBM. However, Amazon will continue to provide explanations on the technology, as the AWS platform continues to offer blockchain solutions and the company is looking to expand its staff with more blockchain engineers.