Cloud computing and e-commerce marketplace giant Amazon has now got an approved patent for a data marketplace technology solution. The data marketplace can live-stream Bitcoin transaction data coupled with information from additional data source.
Data marketplace is an idea that has been around for a while now. Individuals and organizations can put streaming data feeds, and customer can buy them using a subscription model. However, Amazon has conceived a use case for this involving Bitcoin transaction data.
Since the inception of Bitcoin, criminals have used it to finance their illegal activities. There are also concerns that terrorist groups can use it to fund terrorism and other organized crimes. The concern is not just about Bitcoin, rather it stems from the relative anonymity cryptocurrencies offer.
Several countries have fully or partially banned Bitcoin, for e.g. Iceland, Ecuador, Bolivia, Russia, Sweden, China, Thailand, and Bangladesh. India strongly discourages cryptocurrencies, and South Korea had expressed concern over them earlier this year. These governments are wary about the possibility of criminals using these unregulated digital currencies to fund their nefarious activities.
Law enforcement agencies have struggled since long to identify the real users of Bitcoin, in the course of their investigations, due to anonymous and pseudonymous users, and also due to one user having multiple addresses. Amazon believes their data marketplace solution could help the investigating agencies.
The utility of their solution vis-a-vis cryptocurrencies, as explained by Amazon in their patent application, is following:
- There are e-commerce companies or Internet retailers that accept Bitcoin transactions.
- The companies will have shipping addresses corresponding to the transaction.
- The shipping address can be correlated with the Bitcoin address.
- The e-commerce company will be able to combine shipping address and Bitcoin transaction data, and they can put this up for sale, as a data stream.
- Law enforcement agencies can become customer for this data, and they will receive Bitcoin transaction data by country, with shipping addresses correlating to Bitcoin addresses.
- Law enforcement agencies can run their Analytics tools on the purchased data stream and derive information necessary for their investigation.
Amazon Technologies, a subsidiary of Amazon, has been awarded the patent recently by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and the application was filed in September 2014. Amazon, headquartered in Seattle, Washington, USA, isn’t the first company with a solution for the law enforcement agencies in their quest to identify Bitcoin users. Earlier this year, Bitfury, an American Bitcoin mining and blockchain transaction processing company, has launched ‘Crystal‘, i.e. a collection of tools to identify the actual people behind the Bitcoin addresses.