Amazon awarded a proof of work patent for Merkle tree technique

Amazon has previously filed a patent “for various techniques to build” a cryptographic proof-of-work system two years ago in December 2016. Last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) awarded them that patent. The technique involves Merkle tree structures and blockchain technology.

The Merkle tree structure concept dates back to the late 1970s. It was named after a computer scientist named Ralph Merkle, one of the inventors of public key cryptography, and allows for large amounts of data to be mapped and identified for easier indexing and verification.

While the development doesn’t indicate any sort of partnership between Amazon and a blockchain startup – it does show that one of the most powerful and influential online retailers in the world sees value in blockchain technology.

The company made it clear that cybersecurity was important in relation to the patent, stating:

“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.”

This is not the first blockchain-related patent that the E-commerce giant has filed. In fact, in 2014, Amazon received a patent that included Bitcoin as a potential funding source for its cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The company also quietly snatched up domain names related to the cryptocurrency sector in 2017, as well, such as “”, “”, and “” it is still unclear what the company plans to do with these domain names.

AWS also announced a partnership with R3, making it so that AWS can utilize the distributed ledger technology offered by the company’s popular Corda platform. Even with all of these announcements, Amazon still does not accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment.

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