IBM Files Patent for Blockchain-Based AR Helper System

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IBM has filed a patent for a blockchain-based system which will prevent players of augmented reality games entering physical spaces that are undesirable.

They cite as examples “high-risk locations, culturally sensitive locations, locations marked by property owners.” Augmented reality is a technology which adds layers to physical reality. An example is Zombie GO, an AR game which places zombie in real life or perhaps the most famous example, Pokemon Go. AR can have other applications than games, however, such as displaying historical views of locations.

The aim of the technology IBM seeks to patent is to improve the political and actual use of AR in physical space, in an effort to prevent collisions of AR with locations that are not desirable by either party. An attack vector in location-based AR games is when “actors or users may maliciously profile a location for different purposes (e.g., misleading game players by falsifying the profile of a location where the ARC can be placed).”

IBM Uses Blockchain to Keep AR Players Out of Trouble

Blockchains will be used in the patented system to accurately document information about locations used in such games and systems.

Thus, it is important for the system to verify/validate any location related transaction. Accordingly, the method 300 includes tracking 310 or verifying recommended locations, labels, or tags using a location/label/tag blockchain-based system.

The blockchain system securely tracks, stores, and maintains location related transactions along with other location metadata. A blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of data records hardened against tampering and revision. It consists of data structure blocks–which hold exclusively data in initial blockchain implementations, and both data and programs in some of the more recent implementations–with each block holding batches of individual transactions and the results of any blockchain executables. Each block contains a timestamp and information (e.g., a hash of a previous block) that links it to a previous block.

The system will also include a neural network which will learn the results of interactions in various locations and record the data in the blockchain used.

Thus, risk prediction can occur based on rules learned by the cognitive neural network from past transactions in the blockchain, for example, a pattern of many user movements combined with discrete results such as incident reports, complaints against users, etc. By running the learned rules on more recent patterns of user movements, it is possible for the cognitive neural network to identify potential risks to users with varying degrees of confidence.

The patent process can be lengthy and it could be years before IBM releases a product based on the new patent. IBM has for years been involved in the blockchain space to varying degrees, targeting mostly enterprise clients, but its involvement in entertainment has been rare.

Recent times have seen banks hedging their bets or even fully integrating cryptocurrencies. The acquisition and filing of patents is how large organizations truly express their interest in a given field, and Bank of America continues to lead the way, now having secured its latest patent in the blockchain and crypto space, one for “tamper-responsive” remote storage of private keys.

Digital Safe Deposit Box?

According to the patent filing, which was finalized and entered into the record this week but initially filed two years ago, the problem with existing storage methods for private crypto keys is “such devices do not provide for real-time response to such breaches, such that misappropriation of private cryptography keys is prevented.” The patent notes that the vast majority of private keys are stored in regular consumer-grade devices and “susceptible to being misappropriated by an entity that desires to usurp a user’s identity.”

In essence, Bank of America wants to serve as a bank for private keys — a digital safe deposit box, of sorts, with the requisite insurance and backing of a major banking corporation. Such a product is certain to find a gracious market in quick order, and that they have a patent on the idea means they might for an extended period be the only game in town — if they commercialize it.

Novel Tampering Detection

bank of america crypto

The last bit is the novelty of the device or system, whatever form it takes. Bank of America wants to offer clients the ability to know in real-time when their private keys are being tampered with and to have some method to deal with such events. This invention can serve all types of clients, but one imagines exchanges and other larger clientele who are most frequently the target of hack attempts being the biggest beneficiaries.

The patent describes a system of redundant keys in which the system automatically responds to tamper attempts by deleting the key from the potentially compromised device.

“In specific embodiments of the system, the storage device further includes one or more sensors in communication with the first processor. In such embodiments of the system, the first processor is further configured to, in response to receiving the tamper-related signals from the one or more sensors, delete the one or more private cryptography keys from the first memory.”

It can also perform this function if physical tampering is detected, say a device is stolen:

“In other specific related embodiments of the system, the one or more sensors further comprise at least one of a shock sensor, an acceleration sensor and a temperature sensor, In such embodiments of the system, the first processor is further configured to, in response to receiving the tamper-related signals from at least one of the shock sensor, the acceleration sensor and the temperature sensor, delete the one or more private cryptography keys from the first memory.”

A third such instance where it might ghost a protected key off the client device is when a virus or malevolent code is detected:

“In other specific embodiments of the system, the first processor is further configured to receive the tamper-related signal, from the computing node. In such embodiments of the system, the tamper-related signal indicates that a user has exceeded a predetermined number of attempts of inputting user authentication credentials to the authentication routine.”

According to the patent, users will be required to configure what tamper signals are and how they are processed.

Time will tell what, if any, form this patent will take as a product. Secure storage of private keys remains an important topic in cryptocurrency, especially as the community grows and the number of bad actors increases.

Blockchain technology is probably one of the most impactful discoveries in the recent history. After all, it has a massive potential to change how we handle online transactions. Despite some skeptics, the majority of experts agree that blockchain has the potential to disrupt the banking and financial industry, and many other ones!

But what is this technology exactly? We at CryptoCoinJunky will try to explain that in Layman’s terms, as well as provide you with insights into how different industries can benefit from blockchain.

To put it simply, blockchain enables decentralized transactions across a P2P network. There is no need for a middleman, resulting in almost instantaneous operations and most importantly, low fees. Plus, transactions carried out through a blockchain are much more secure, transparent, and private.

As mentioned earlier, different industries will have different benefits from implementing blockchain technology, and that is what this infographic is all about. For example, the banking sector will get faster transactions, lower costs, improved security, and better record keeping. Also, the blockchain technology can improve electronic voting systems. With this technology integrated into a voting system, governments won’t be able to tamper with votes because blockchain creates publicly viewable and singed transaction that can’t be changed or rewritten.

This infographic will help you understand how the blockchain technology can and will improve 16 different industries, from music to government. So, read on and find out what their future will look like.

Link to source: 16 Blockchain Disruptions (Infographic)

 

Visa is integrating open-source blockchain code from the Hyperledger Fabric ahead of the commercial launch of its own blockchain service for enterprise payments in Q1 2019.

Visa B2B Connect, the payment giant’s enterprise blockchain platform that enables cross-border payments between businesses, is partnering IBM to integrate the latter’s development of the open-source Hyperledger Fabric framework.

As reported nearly two years ago to the day, Visa first announced the blockchain platform co-developed with blockchain industry startup chain Inc.., as an alternative solution to global payments rail SWIFT for making large payments between businesses across borders.

The service tokenizes a participant’s information including account numbers and other sensitive data with a unique identifier to facilitate faster transactions susceptible to fewer fraud. Fundamentally, cross-border corporate transactions sent through B2B Connect are processed from the bank of origin directly to the receiver at the beneficiary bank.

Integrating Open-Source Blockchain Tech

Hosted by the Linux Foundation, the Hyperledger Fabric was first developed by IBM and New York-based industry startup Digital Asset as a blockchain framework and formally released its production-ready software, the Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, last year.

Including the Hyperledger Fabric’s functionality into Visa’s core assets’ will help improve and facilitate financial transactions on a scalable permissioned network to ensure “a frictionless cross-border payment experience with utmost security, trust and transparency,” Visa said in a press release on Monday.

IBM Blockchain Services general manager Jason Kelley added:

“IBM Blockchain Platform and Hyperledger technology are delivering real business value today and B2B Connect is one of the most powerful examples to date of how blockchain is transforming payments.”

Last month, Thailand’s largest bank by market capitalization, Kasikornbank, became the first financial institution in the country to pilot cross-border payments using Visa’s blockchain platform.

 

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A decade on from the launch of the first ever Android phone, Taiwanese consumer electronics giant HTC has taken the wraps off its blockchain-powered smartphone, dubbed ‘Exodus’.

HTC has officially announced the early access release of Exodus 1, the company’s first-ever blockchain phone. Available for preorder on its website, the phone will ship sometime in early December and can only be purchased using  cryptocurrency, specifically bitcoin and Ethereum.

With a 6-inch, QHD+ display at an 18:9 aspect ratio and a Snapdragon 845 processor with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage, the Exodus 1 also packs a 3,500mAh battery with IP68 waterproof rating, comparable to mainstream Android flagships currently sold in the market by Samsung and Google and other mainstream phone makers. The device is being sold at 0.15 BTC or 4.78 ETH, about $960 – also comparable to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or the Google Pixel 3 XL.

Announced with much hype as the ‘world’s first native blockchain phone’ earlier in May, HTC Exodus enables support for decentralized applications (DApps) like CryptoKitties and doubles as a hardware wallet for cryptocurrency adopters.

The phone’s “secure enclave” – a locked area secluded from the rest of the phone and the Android operating system – holds the user’s private cryptocurrency keys, HTC explained. Further, a ‘Social Key Recovery’ mechanism allows the user to regain access to their crypto funds in the event of losing their private keys by picking select trustworthy contacts.

HTC is inviting cryptographers to test the early access version of its device and is also releasing APIs for third-party developers.

Speaking to CNBC, HTC’s decentralized chief Phil Chen stated:

“We believe blockchain is the new paradigm for smartphones and it will form part of HTC’s wider smartphone strategy. This marks a change in HTC, with increased focus on software and IP.”

The phone is available for pre-order in 34 countries including the US, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and a number of European nations, with the notable exception of China, where cryptocurrency trading and exchanges are effectively banned.

The HTC Exodus already has a competitor in its niche category, with Swiss startup Sirin Labs expected to release its own $1,000 blockchain smartphone Finney – to be manufactured by iPhone-maker Foxconn – before the end of the year.

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Ticketmaster, the major global ticket sales distribution company, has recently acquired the blockchain company “Upgraded”. They plan to utilize their DLT and “smart tickets” technology in order to combat the rising fraud issue within the industry as well as claims that they have been scalping their own tickets .

Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation back in 2010 to form Live Nation Entertainment, which is the music behemoth that you see today. The company currently leases, operates, and has equity interest in many of the entertainment venues sold throughout the US. Ticketmaster also promotes 30,000+ concerts as well as sells hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of tickets annually.

Live Nation Entertainment generates over $10 billion in revenue so the potential for blockchain technology through “Upgraded” will more than validate their results. Live Nation Entertainment has become so dominant within their market sector that their main competitors AEG, accused them of unethical practices which eventually led to the Department of Justice investigating the matter earlier this year.

This acquisition has also come at a pivotal moment due to the fact that Live Nation was recently hit with a class-action lawsuit for allegedly operating their own ticket scalping scam. Only time will tell whether the blockchain company acquisition will help alleviate and reinvent this music giant as a company that prides itself on transparency.

The founder of Upgraded, Sandy Kaund, noted that the partnership between the 2 companies would bring “promise of blockchain to millions of music fans”.

Khaund, who founded Upgraded in 2016, hinted that many more applications for the technology would be released soon, as stated in this Forbes interview. The founder also highlighted that his company was not only useful for preventing fraud but also enabling the tickets to serve as a high-tech marketing tool.

He went on to state that the potential of our blockchain technology allows anyone to set price restrictions and hide their barcode until two hours before the event. The technology also has the ability to reveal the barcode within 1 km of the venue.

The video game console is dying, and AAA game publisher Ubisoft wants to help craft the standards that guide the development of one of the technologies that may one day replace it: blockchain.

Ubisoft Joins Blockchain Game Alliance

Toward that end, the French gaming giant has signed on as a founding member of the Blockchain Game Alliance, whose members will collaborate to develop industry standards and best practices for gaming applications that rely on distributed ledger technology (DLT). The news was first reported by U.K. video game magazine MCV.

From the group’s website:

“Convinced that this breakthrough technology brings numerous new benefits to the whole ecosystem, from developers to players, we provide an open forum for all stakeholders to share knowledge and collaborate on research that foster new ways to create and play games. Our ultimate goal is to help spread the integration of Blockchain by developing common standards and best practices.”

Other notable founding members include ConsenSys, the blockchain development studio founded by Ethereum co-creator Joseph Lubin, as well as Fig, the independent game publisher behind games such as Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire and Wasteland 3 who earlier this year acquired a blockchain development company. These firms are joined by fellow members B2Expand, Alto, EverdreamSoft, Gimli, Enjin, and Ultra.

Earlier this year Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovation Lab had begun to explore DLT development, and the firm has since sponsored several blockchain hackathons and conferences in addition to its new role in the Blockchain Game Alliance

Google, Ubisoft Partner for Cloud Streaming Trial

google

Notably, Ubisoft’s decision to take an active role in creating standards for blockchain gaming development comes amid the firm’s wider belief that cloud gaming represents the future of the industry.

In June, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said the video game console may only survive for one more generation before it is completely eclipsed by streaming services.

“I think we will see another generation, but there is a good chance that step-by-step we will see less and less hardware,” Guillemot said during an interview with Variety. “With time, I think streaming will become more accessible to many players and make it not necessary to have big hardware at home,” he continued, adding that “There will be one more console generation and then after that, we will be streaming, all of us.”

Earlier this week, Ubisoft teamed up with Google for “Project Stream,” a trial run of the tech giant’s ambitious plan to stream AAA games through the Google Chrome browser. During the trial, eligible participants will have the opportunity to stream Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the latest game in Ubisoft’s flagship franchise, for free.

Google, incidentally, has begun to roll out the red carpet for blockchain developers as it seeks to avoid falling behind Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, both of whom have released blockchain products and templates that allow developers to deploy DLT applications without having to write the entire code from scratch.

In July, Google Cloud partnered with Digital Asset — the DLT startup founded by former JPMorgan executive Blythe Masters — to create a software development kit (SDK) for developers, providing them with a “full stack solution so they can unleash the potential for web-paced innovation in blockchain” without the need for specialized training in blockchain development.

 

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AT&T has introduced a suite of blockchain solutions to allow enterprises in various industries to track and manage information more efficiently, the telecom giant announced on its website. The solutions include technology from Microsoft and IBM and can benefit users in industries ranging from manufacturing to retail and healthcare.

The company noted it is combining its “edge to edge” capabilities with distributed ledger technology (DLT). AT&T’s Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provide monitoring and automation capabilities to various business processes.

Manufacturing, Retail And Healthcare

For manufacturing companies, AT&T’s blockchain solutions can track the movement of goods through factories and monitor product quality from its creation to its delivery to the end user.

For retailers, the firm’s DLT services can ensure product authenticity by tracking its movement from order to delivery, as well as by reducing waste and unneeded stock.

For healthcare organizations, AT&T’s new products can support secure sharing of up-to-date patient records and directories.

Tapping IBM And Microsoft

AT&T’s consulting team can design and manage solutions utilizing both IBM’s DLT platform and Microsoft Azure.

IBM Blockchain supports a wide range of industry use cases such as logistics, supply chain, and provenance. AT&T Solutions will integrate its AT&T Asset Management Operations Center with IBM’s Maximo Network on Blockchain and its Maximo Health Insights, providing reliable networks to manage infrastructure assets.

Microsoft Azure, built on an open, trusted cloud platform, supports a range of ledger protocols such as Corda, Chain, Quorum, HyperLedger Fabric and Ethereum. The platform also provides topologies for multi-member and single-member consortiums, as well as for testing and development.

“Blockchain is far more than just bitcoin or cryptocurrency. It’s transforming the way many companies conduct business,” Andy Daudelin, vice president of AT&T Business’s Alliances Business Development, said in the announcement. “Blockchain improves security and enables better management of transactions through complex processes. Utilizing our global network and IoT capabilities, AT&T enhances blockchain by providing edge-to-edge solutions that automate the tracking and that can even monitor the environmental conditions throughout the process.”

Retail giant Walmart has a plan to build an army of autonomous robots controlled and authenticated through a blockchain network.

Documents published on Thursday by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) show that the Walmart has applied to patent a system that oversees the “in-field authenticating of autonomous robots.” The Bentonville, AR-based firm submitted the patent application in Jan. 2018.

The patent title immediately conjures up visions from the Terminator franchise, but the retail empire claims it’s not building Skynet.

Rather, Walmart says that it plans to use its legions of autonomous robots to make deliveries, presumably in a bid to compete more effectively with Amazon in a retail landscape that increasingly favors the Bezos brainchild.

The documents detail a system in which multiple robots handle the delivery of a package throughout different legs of the supply chain, using wireless signals to communicate and authenticate the identity of one another.

Such a system would be a high-value target for hackers, which is why Walmart believes that distributed ledger technology (DLT) could help secure it against potential malfeasance.

The authors explain:

“In some embodiments of described above, blockchain technology may be utilized to record authentication signals and identification information to facilitate or resulting from in-field authentication between autonomous electronic devices. One or more of the autonomous electronic devices described herein may comprise a node in a distributed blockchain system storing a copy of the blockchain record. Updates to the blockchain may comprise authentication signals or identification information, and one or more nodes on the system may be configured to incorporate one or more updates into blocks to add to the distributed database.”

It’s not the first time Walmart has sought patents for systems that use blockchain technology to make deliveries more efficient.

Last year, the firm applied to patent a system that would use DLT to manage package delivery hubs (e.g. lockers). The system would automatically reserve locker space for packages, ensuring that orders are only delivered where there is sufficient available capacity.

About the same time, Walmart filed for a patent application that uses blockchain technology to track delivery drones as they transmit packages from physical stores to customers.

UK-based trading platform eToro has signed an advertising deal with seven Premier League football clubs paid in Bitcoin for the first time, the parties revealed Tuesday, August 21.

According to various sources, UK clubs Tottenham Hotspur, Brighton & Hove Albion, Crystal Palace, Cardiff City, Leicester City Football Club, Newcastle United and Southampton announced they had signed up to host eToro advertisements.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency integration in football stadiums and the industry will also form a focus for the partnerships, eToro so far not giving details as to the nature of the “exploration.”

The move marks a fresh milestone for cryptocurrency integration in mainstream football. Sporadic experiments have already come from clubs elsewhere, including Turkey, where Harunustaspor hired a professional player for Bitcoin in January.

“This is very much the first step on a long road to football fully embracing bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology,” eToro’s UK managing director Iqbal V. Gandham meanwhile said quoted by The Drum.

Last week, the Union of European Football Associations, more commonly known as UEFA, confirmed it had deployed a Blockchain-based ticketing system as part of a phased rollout.

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