No, Amazon is not investing in the rainforest – no pun intended!
The e-commerce giant – not the wild river that is its namesake – is investing in a patent related to something called merkle trees.
Merkle trees don’t involve either paper or pulp – instead, they are a type of digital hash structure set up in what’s known as a tree format. In a merkle tree, every leaf node has a label containing the hash of a data block, and every non-leaf node has a label containing the cryptographic hash of child node labels.
Merkle trees are commonly used in a proof-of-work algorithm that provides the foundation for blockchain technologies like Bitcoin as well as Litecoin and Dogecoin, the famous cryptocurrency with the Shiba Inu face.
Cointelegraph reports this morning that although Amazon has received a patent for generating merkle trees, there’s little information as to what the e-tailer intends to do with it.
“The exact nature of Amazon’s plans remains unclear,” reports William Suberg. “The patent document does not reference specific uses within a cryptocurrency or blockchain, continuing uncertainty over the company’s stance on the wider cryptocurrency phenomenon … rumors Amazon was preparing to take a direct interest in Bitcoin, for example, have repeatedly sparked a frenzy within the crypto community, each time culminating in nothing.”
Suberg also notes the recent launch of Amazon Web Service blockchain technology based on Ethereum and Hyperledger.
The AWS managed blockchain service uses a digital journal to store blocks of transactions.
“If you need a centralized ledger that records all application data changes, and maintains an immutable record of these changes, AWS provides a ledger database,” write Amazonians on a detail page. “This database is high-performance, immutable, and cryptographically verifiable, eliminating the need for building complex audit tables or setting up blockchain networks. If you need the immutable and verifiable capability provided by a ledger, and also want to allow multiple parties to transact without a trusted central authority, AWS provides a fully managed, scalable blockchain service. AWS’ blockchain service makes it easy to setup, deploy, and manage scalable blockchain networks, eliminating the need for you to rely on expensive consulting implementations.”
In general, Amazon’s moves makes sense. First of all, as AWS moves into nearly every area of cloud services, interested parties have been calling for an Amazon blockchain service for some time.
The patent also seems to be a smart decision, as clever investors are working to get involved in secondary blockchain technologies rather than just putting their money into Bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency offering.
In light of Amazon’s enormous market position, though, investors could be forgiven for some speculation on what Amazon intends to do with its technical holdings.
Is the Amazon behemoth preparing to roll out some kind of brand-new in-depth crypto project?
If so, we’ll let you know. Drop us a note and tell us what you think Amazon is up to with its interest in merkle trees.