Multinational technology conglomerate Cisco has filed for a patent incorporating blockchain technology with a group chat format.
Cisco notes in the publicly available patent filing that its innovation would make confidential group messaging easier and more secure than formats currently available. The application from Cisco describes the benefits of blockchain technology in this area, recounting it as enabling users to form groups of multiple individuals both quickly and easily, allowing them to share files with each other while keeping track of both membership and those involved in the conversation.
Details of the patent filing suggest that the proposal can provide solutions to several problems commonly associated with group chat messaging. The application outlines a new process for “how group membership is established, communicated, updated” while creating a network secure from tampering.
Group chat via the blockchain
Cisco offers that the unique selling point of a blockchain-based group chat technology is the decentralized system. The patent proposes using cryptographic keys to be shared among group participants, establishing a peer-to-peer network only accessible to those authorized to join. The initiators of the chat would create the genesis block automatically via their device, with participants generating their own blocks as they join.
Here, the blockchain would be explicitly enrolled to record group chat members, although Cisco did propose a secondary way it could be utilized.
The blockchain could otherwise be used to enable secure file sharing or instant messaging, ordering the list of data blocks to represent a tamper-resistant chronological account of group membership updates. The patent filing states the benefits of this as ”enabling end-to-end encryption of instant messaging, content sharing, and streamed media”.
In a patent filing released October 2017, Cisco looked to copyright the use of blockchain in tracking Internet of Things devices. The technology, in this case, was described to be used to identify different connected devices, monitor their activity and evaluate how trustworthy the device is when connected to a network.
Cisco’s blockchain group chat patent application was filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office in December 2017. The application was made public on 29 March 2018.