Verizon’s US patent 10123202 allows the company the exclusive right to, essentially, issue SIM cards on a blockchain system.
The company is examining the potential use of blockchain in its massive network, and acquired the patent earlier this month.
The patent describes a “vSIM” issued and maintained with the help of blockchain technology. Now, apparently, Verizon would be the only carrier with the right to do it in quite this manner. Other wireless providers, including AT&T, also have their own blockchain patents and pursuits.
A Blockchain-Powered Cellular Network?
The new implementation of blockchain would use the technology to create and store records, which could create a more resilient and accessible network.
Verizon describes an entire blockchain dedicated to the purpose of maintaining the network of “vSIMs,” which are essentially devices on the network. The blockchain would be kept going by a system of nodes distributed across Verizon’s massive network.
Unlike many companies to float blockchain ideas, Verizon, at a minimum, has ample infrastructure to build anything it has in mind.
The company has the capital, and the bandwidth, to build virtually any size blockchain it wanted to build.
Whether or not the thing needs to be incentivized is another question – if it’s not publicly accessible, then the cost of maintaining it should be calculated differently. A publicly accessible blockchain, for example, should be expensive to attack.
To be clear, Verizon is not actively pursuing any sort of tokenized system or building a decentralized phone service.
Verizon’s Move to Blockchain
Instead, the company is incorporating a data processing blockchain into its existing telephone network.
Verizon competitor AT&T recently started accepting cryptocurrency for bill payments, but the telecom giant and others like T-Mobile have yet to follow suit.
Blockchain has come a long way. Companies like Verizon would not have considered it as an option just a few years ago. But today, virtually every industry is exploring potential ways the technology can save money and increase efficiency.
Verizon envisions a blockchain-powered mobile network, and they probably won’t be the last to build such products out. Other uses might include a blockchain-secured messaging system, powered by the existing SMS protocol, or something along those lines.
Perhaps in the future there will be a master telephony protocol, also run on a blockchain, which all phone companies from around the world plug into. The end result would be cheaper communications, and the upside might even be more security.