Two new blockchain patents filed by Microsoft suggest the company is looking to implement Trusted Execution Environments to boost its blockchain security.
On Thursday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published several patent applications from various companies including IBM, Microsoft, and JPMorgan, some of which were connected to blockchain.
Microsoft had two new patents in the series related to blockchain security. The Washington state-based software giant is investigating the use of what is called trusted execution environments, or TEEs, as it relates to blockchain offerings. Both patent submissions outline several ways that TEEs would improve security within the blockchain network consortium. The network requires that specific nodes are marked as validator nodes on the blockchain.
Both patents are now viewable on the US Patent and Trademark Office website (Patent 1 and Patent 2).
Microsoft writes in its first patent filing that TEEs can boost the security of blockchain networks in this way:
“In one example of the technology, a first node is endorsed. During endorsement of a first node, a pre-determined type of blockchain or other security protocol code to be authorized and a pre-determined membership list may be stored in a trusted execution environment (TEE) of the first node.”
Additionally, according to this first patent filing, a list of agreed aspects could be stored in the TEE. Use of such a system with TEE assestations would help to ensure the verification of all new members on the system who have the same matching information stored in the first node’s TEE.
The second patent filing from Microsoft shows the ways a TEE will handle the verification process for blockchain transactions inside of the blockchain consortium network. The same TEE attestation system would develop a trustless environment so that other VNS on the same network would “not need to do re-computation for verification.” The updated transaction would then be processed automatically.
The company writes in its filing statement, “In some examples, the entire network accepts the transactions, including chaincode transactions, and blockchain states are directly updated. In some examples, there is no need for a copy of the transaction in order to confirm a block.”
Microsoft filed applications for three connected patents: establishment of consortium blockchain network, consortium blockchain network with verified blockchain and consensus protocols, and transaction processing for consortium blockchain network. All of the applications were filed on June 29, 2017.
Microsoft is not new to blockchain technology. It integrated and upgraded its blockchain services on the company’s cloud platform, Azure. Additionally, it announced a Proof of Authority Consensus for Ethereum. With the TEE, the potential exists to create consortiums of a broad range of companies using the flexibility of consensus protocols and members.