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US Postal Service may adopt blockchain to establish digital trust, back up data

Recently filed patent documents point towards the US Postal Service using blockchain to back up user data and establish digital trust. 

Written by coininsider Published on

Following an initial application in September 2016, the “Methods And Systems For A Digital Trust Architecture” was published on March 22nd and sets out the US Postal Service’s intentions to incorporate blockchain as part of its greater offering to establish digital trust.

It cited the general migration of an increasing number of services to online platforms, and the widespread distrust that exists because “the tools that provide trust to the users are lacking in their ability to adequately provide a desired level of security,” as a primary reason to establish digital trust. It goes on to say that its “methods and systems [would] provide an enforcement trust mechanism that has been missing from previous solutions.”

The application makes provision for several elements including one for email and another for digital signatures using public and private keys. Regarding the former, it notes that “in some aspects, the user email component is further configured to receive input indicating whether information indicating the transmission of the encrypted email body data is to be stored in a blockchain and store the information in a blockchain in response to the input,” pointing to the integration of two or more services.

The possibility of a large-scale adoption of digital identities in this context has almost boundless potential. It would go a long way towards minimizing – if not eliminating – identity fraud, would significantly streamline user verification, and would provide a secure, impenetrable database for user data.

Similarly, a special digital token could have a plethora of applications, including providing access to protected data, as a means of user identification, as irrefutable proof of a transaction, and more. Further details, including how these would be issued, was not available.

Beyond establishing digital trust, if blockchain is adopted there is potential for it to be used in logistics and physical delivery of packages. It would provide a single point for tracking that would be available to all users who have been granted access, and would make package records tamper-proof, which in turn would make it easier to determine accountability.

It seems speculation about applications could continue for some time though as, according to the US Patent and Trademark Office’s official FAQs, “applications filed on or after 11/29/00 will be published by the USPTO 18 months after the earliest filing date claimed”.

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