The online retail giant won a patent for a subscription feed which it claims could identify the participants of Bitcoin transactions for government and law enforcement agencies.
The patent was approved this Tuesday even though it was filed two years ago. The participants in Bitcoin transactions have an alphanumeric string as their public ID, these alphanumeric strings are generated using cryptographic algorithms. According to the patent filing the government will be able to tax citizens on Bitcoin transactions by correlating the tax transaction data with Bitcoin data to identify them.
Amazon is planning to acquire the datasets from various companies that accept Bitcoin as a payment method using those datasets to mine the user information. The patented system has been described as a “streaming data marketplace” where various entities provide information into the stream to increase the power of identifying the users from the feed to insights.
“For example, a law enforcement agency may be a customer and may desire to receive global bitcoin transactions, correlated by country, with ISP data to determine source IP addresses and shipping addresses that correlate to bitcoin addresses,” the Amazon patent filing states. “The streaming data marketplace may price this desired data out per GB (gigabyte), for example, and the agency can start running analytics on the desired data using the analysis module.”
Amazon states that this streaming data marketplace will make it easier for different commercial entities to share information and control who they share it with. While a gigantic organization like Amazon identifying Bitcoin users for police is no doubt a disturbing thought for privacy-obsessed cryptocurrency fans, it’s worth stressing that tech companies regularly file all sorts of wild patents that never come to fruition.
That having said there is an immense thirst from the international and domestic agencies to identify the users of Bitcoin for a wide variety of reasons including taxation and money laundering so this patent with it’s keen stakeholders and potential for wider application could well surprise us.
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