Blockchain over Bitcoin: Did Amazon Choose Distributed Ledger Tech Over Cryptocurrency?
Blockchain Over Bitcoin: Amazon's Choice
Despite customer interest and pro-crypto acts by its competitors, American e-commerce giant, Amazon, still decided not to accept Bitcoin. However, it is still perfectly aware of it, which is why it was granted two crypto-related patents on November 13th. In addition to that, Amazon has clearly decided that the new technologies might have some potential after all. This is clear from the fact that its cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Series (AWS) has contributed significantly to blockchain adoption.
To better understand Amazon, its moves, and its goals, we need to understand how it positioned itself towards crypto and blockchain, but also why.
Amazon vs Bitcoin
Amazon and cryptocurrency have a complex relationship. In April 2014, the company decided to make a pass on accepting BTC for the first time. Back then, Amazon acknowledged the fact that BTC is getting popular. However, they stated that their own customers do not seem to be interested in it.
A curious thing about this is that it came only a few months after Amazon's rival, Overstock.com, successfully implemented Bitcoin, which was a decision praised by many. Amazon was expected to follow Overstock's example, and instead, it went in a completely opposite way. Many assumed that things might change if cryptos gained more exposure, but even now, 4 years later, Amazon stands by its original choice.
Another interesting thing is the fact that Amazon seemingly had interest in cryptocurrencies two years prior to this. Back in March 2012, the company filed a patent for using cryptocurrencies as one of several potential methods of payment.
In 2017, the company started purchasing crypto-related domains such as “amazoncryptocurrencies.com,” “amazoncryptocurrency.com,” and “amazonethereum.com”, which caused many to believe that Amazon might be thinking of accepting cryptos after all. However, since nothing has happened, it is now believed that this was an attempt to protect their brand and prevent confusion.
Finally, in April 2018, Amazon won a patent for a new subscription-based system which they described as streaming data marketplace. They also claimed that the system would make identification of transaction participants possible, which might mean that they are willing to accept crypto, but only with a strong emphasis on KYC.
And that is it, this is all contact with crypto that Amazon has had so far. Additional Bitcoin and crypto ideology and design were not interesting to the company, which doesn't exactly make it pro-Bitcoin. Still, there seems to be a potential interest in crypto, only the company won't act on it until they are in full control of every aspect of it.
Amazon And Blockchain Technology
While mostly unfriendly, or at least uninterested, when it comes to crypto, the situation is different when it comes to blockchain technology. As mentioned previously, Amazon's AWS is a part of the company that is working on adopting this tech, and last December, they partnered up with R3, a 200-member large blockchain consortium.
The partnership likely came so that its Corda platform can become a DLT solution of the AWS marketplace. Corda is open-source, and it was created for the purpose of working in finance. It can perform complex transactions, as well as restrict access to data regarding these transactions. It also allows creating and deploying dApps.
Many were surprised by this announcement, especially since Andy Jassy, the CEO of AWS, criticized blockchain for the lack of use cases only a few days prior. He did add however that the company is interested in using blockchain to help their customers. Then, the journey deeper into the world of blockchain continued in April 2018, when AWS introduced a new blockchain framework for Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum.
Basically, it allowed users to manage their own dApps. The tool was named CloudFormation Templates, and its goal is to avoid wasting time by manually setting up a blockchain network. After that, AWS entered a partnership with ConsenSys in May.
ConenSys is a blockchain incubator, which deals in accelerated growth of blockchain businesses. This is another area that seems to be interesting to AWS, judging from their collaboration with a firm that specializes in this area, called Kaleido.
Right now, AWS platform hosts around 25 blockchain-oriented projects, with a lot of them showing quite promising results. While Amazon clearly has no great interest in crypto. at least not an obvious one, they were praised and recognized for their blockchain experiments and handling of this technology by numerous big players.
What Is Amazon Doing With Blockchain And Crypto Now?
As mentioned earlier, Amazon seems to be interested in blockchain and crypto patents despite the fact that it did not accept cryptos as of yet. Considering how young cryptos and blockchain still are, none of this means anything, and there is definitely no certainty, even when it comes to these experiments. Amazon is the only one who knows what results it is looking for, and while they may find something new along the way if the company's original goal is not fulfilled, it is unlikely that they will delve deeper into this technology.
On the other hand, they seem to be doing alright, so they might be making good progress after all. As for patent obtaining, this is something that a lot of businesses, companies, and even banks are trying to do, hoping to protect its potential interests, and get to things before others, even if they still don't have clear plans to engage in any of it.
Some patents might end up sitting in storage for years, or even decades before their time comes. Amazon likely only wishes to ensure that there is something in that storage when the time comes.
This leads us to the final two patents, obtained only ten days ago, on November 13th. The first one outlines something called “signature delegation”, which is a method of protecting digital signatures and communication. The second one is related to distributed data storage, where a “grid encoding technique” will be used for minimizing storage redundancy.
For now, the company seems to be done with patents, although it is possible that they are planning additional ones, One thing seems to be certain, and that is that Amazon has a strong interest in blockchain, and maybe a mild curiosity towards crypto. Where this stance will get the firm in the future — remains to be seen.