Amazon is advancing leaps and bounds above its competition when it comes to cryptography and distributed data storage solutions. The influential e-commerce site revealed that this week, it won not one, but two patents for methods to safeguard digital signatures integrity and optimizing distributed data storage.

Both patents were published by the USPTO, which is the United States Patent and Trademark Office, this Tuesday. The USPTO is the organism in charge of dealing with permissions and patents.

Protecting Digital Signatures and Encrypted Communications

One of the patents was filled seven months ago and it sketches a tool for delegate signatures with the intention of “protecting the integrity of digital signatures and encrypted communications,” while fostering the “creation, distribution, validation, and revocation of one-time-use cryptographic keys,” according to a piece of news published in Cointelegraph today.

The approach proposed that these cryptographic keys in the form of a “Merkle Tree” structure, known within the industry as a binary tree of hashes that is built starting from the bottom and going up.

According to Hackernoon, the Merkle Trees are a vital part of how blockchain solutions work, as, by nature, they facilitate the verification of big portions of data in an efficient manner.

The system works like this: the Merkle Root is the entity in charge of summarizing the transaction-related information, which is then saved, or stored, in the block header, which will safeguard its integrity. The Root will be modified if any detail, as small as it may be, changes in the operation. Therefore, the Merkle Tree will allow the system to test if a particular transaction is part of the set.

Amazon’s Version of the Merkle-Tree Model

The Merkle Tree-based model that Amazon proposes intends to determine how to delegate signing power or authority from a central entity to the myriad of agents that have the authorization to do it on its name. “The signature authority provides a key-distribution service that distributes blocks of cryptographic keys to authorized signing delegates. An authorized signing delegate contacts the key-distribution service and requests a block of cryptographic keys” can be read in the patent document.

Amazon’s service has the ability to verify the entity with a revocation value “associated with the revoked cryptographic key” if the cryptographic key happens to be flagged as invalid “after a key revocation service queries the Merkle tree of delegable keys.”

The other patent was filled almost three years ago, precisely in December 2015, and it has more to do with distributed data storage, proposing a grid encoding system that implements groups of “shards”, each one playing the role of logical distribution of data items stored in a given grid.

Amazon has long been in a quest to expand outside of its comfort zone, successfully venturing in world technology, data storage, cryptocurrency, and blockchain. The American e-commerce giant won a patent to build a streaming data marketplace to let users receive immediate crypto transaction information back in April.

By Andres Chavez


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