Is Sony building crypto mining hardware? New patent filings suggest that may be the case. The Japanese technology giant has reportedly filed a patent for hosting, maintaining, and securing blockchain technology.
As spotted by Coindesk.com, Sony has filed two patents, including one for, “Electronic Node and Method for Maintaining a Distributed Ledger” and another for “Device and System”. The filings were made with the US Patent & Trademark Office and published online earlier today.
This is the first time it has been revealed that Sony is working on blockchain technology in any capacity. These filings also suggest Sony could include the hardware in a future product.
Sony has previously filed patents centered on the use cases for a technology, including education data management and security.
How Will Sony’s Blockchain Hardware Works? What do These Patents Describe?
The first patent filing includes two core features, including a hardware node and a method for maintaining the blockchain. Sony repeatedly describes it as a “mining process”. In one application of Sony’s proposed invention, the nodes would operate a network similar to bitcoin: an open-access network with a digital token.
Optimists will point to this information as proof that Sony is launching its own cryptocurrency. Could Sony be launching a Sony Coin? Here’s how the filing is worded:
“The distributed ledger may be a blockchain, which may be based, for example, on the principles used for the bitcoin blockchain or the like. The distributed ledger uses mining and proof-of-work mechanisms and it may use some kind of reward (currency), such as bitcoin as currency and/or as reward for performing mining. Moreover, the distributed ledger may use consensus mechanisms for ensuring that all electronic nodes have consensus about the distributed ledger.”
Sony doesn’t specifically file a patent for its own cryptocurrency, but the patent filing certainly leaves the door open to that possibility. Sony describes a mineable cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology and secured by proof of work mechanisms.
The second application, meanwhile, is for a Device and System. In that patent filing, Sony describes the security risks of a network with a limited number of nodes.
On a blockchain network with few nodes, “the number of devices accessing and contributing to the distributed ledger may be small, such that security issues occur,” explains Sony in the patent filing. Sony, however, suggests getting around this issue by creating a system capable of hosting “a plurality” of nodes, like “10, 100 or even thousands of virtual nodes,” creating a system where the number of virtual nodes is larger – like ten times larger – than the number of devices.
Ultimately, this is the first indication that Sony is actively researching blockchain technology. It should be a surprise to learn that any major tech company is researching blockchain technology – but it’s always welcome news. It remains to be seen if Sony is serious about launching a Sony Coin or a similar blockchain-based cryptocurrency, but the patent filing seems to be suggesting a bitcoin-like product.