Blockstack Gets Patent Approval for Single Sign-on For Decentralized Applications (DApp)


Blockstack, the decentralized web development platform has been granted a patent for its method of cryptographically signature which makes it possible to sign on any of their Dapss with a single digital signature without the need for any third-party authentication.

Blockstack got the nod from USPTO on March 24, merely 8 months after it applied for the patent. The 8-month waiting period is quite low when we compare it to the average time period taken by USPTO has been around 32-months. Blockstack first released the developer version of Auth in 2017.

The patent document suggests that Blockstack’s Auth aims to become the one cryptographic password to rule them all in the next generation of internet also known as Web 3.0. The patent document also revealed that the functionality of Auth would be quite similar to current generation social media platforms like Google and Facebook’s one-click sign-in for multiple platforms. However, the execution would be quite different from the current ones.

In the current scenario, a third-party is responsible for authentication who take over the control from the user and manages to scan any possible data from centralized servers without the user’s consent or we can say the policies have been as such that a user has to grant authority to use the service. However, Auth won’t be relying on servers for authentication and instead, it would make use of the cryptographic public key.

How Auth Would Ensure Privacy for the Users

The process of authentication would be carried out by exchanging JSON web tokens between the Dapps and Blockstack browser. At the time of sign-in an “ephemeral transit key” is generated by the Dapp whose public portion is sent to the browser using “authRequest” token. The browser then encrypts the public portion and send back the encrypted public information to Dapp in the form of “authResponse” token.

Although this would be Blockstack’s first patent for its universal login Auth protocol, it has also led to questioning whether patenting was the right way for open source Blockstack Auth and decentralization in general. Muneeb Ali, CEO of Blockstack addressed the issue on a forum after 2 days of patent confirmation. Ali claimed that the main reason for them to patent their system was so that no other big firms file the patent for any similar protocol, which would have negated their work.

Ali also cited that many big firms like IBM, Microsoft and Amazon have been interested in making it big in the blockchain space and have filed numerous patents for the same. Ali also noted that their only intention is to patent core team effort and called it purely for the defensive purpose.

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