Microsoft wants to use your body to process digital currencies

Processing digital currency is one of many ways to get Bitcoin without having to buy them, and technology giant Microsoft appears to have taken an interest in helping onboard more people into this ecosystem. The company applied for a patent application for a unique system for processing digital currencies

In the patent, titled “Cryptocurrency system using data on body activity,” the company proposed a system that processing digital currencies using data collected from people as they exercise or from other human body activities such as regular brain waves related to specific tasks.

Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC filed the patent application with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in June 2019.

Microsoft engineers said sensors could detect activity associated with specific tasks—such as time spent looking at ads—and convert it into computer-readable data to solve computational problems, just like the traditional proof-of-work system. A device can verify if the body activity data satisfies one or more conditions set by the system. At the same time, a server could prompt users to perform specific tasks as a solution to help facilitate the process.

“Instead of massive computation work required by some conventional cryptocurrency systems, data generated based on the body activity of the user can be a proof-of-work, and therefore, a user can solve the computationally difficult problem unconsciously,” according to the patent.

Microsoft said that a user might complete transaction processing tasks without even knowing it. Their system could use physical exertion to mine digital currencies, e.g., sensors could detect when your body is undergoing physical exertion, such as a faster pulse or rise in body heat, and use that data to mine blocks. Scanners could use brain impulses, signals sent out during mental exertion, to process digital currencies. According to the patent, the sensor could detect different brain waves, including gamma and beta waves. 

Microsoft says their system could be used to incentivize people to perform specific tasks. Scanners can detect activity from particular kinds of tasks, then award the digital currency to the user whose body activity data is verified. The software giant also pointed out that the method it proposed may lower the amount of energy required for digital currency processing and speed up the process.

Although Microsoft designed the system, it is uncertain whether the company will push ahead with actually developing it. It is also not explicitly clear whether the protocol would run off a fork of an existing popular protocol, or based on a whole new blockchain entirely. Microsoft indicated in its patent application that the system would be fully centralized.  

This all seems a little sci-fi, and we’re not sure how many people would agree to hand over their brain data to Microsoft. The company remains active to a certain extent in the field of digital currencies. The tech giant is involved in Bakkt, the Bitcoin futures trading platform, and a subsidiary of the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.