There have been many suggested applications of blockchain technology over the last few years, especially within the financial industry. However, a recently published patent by AT&T is perhaps the most relevant yet for the broader public and help raise awareness of the technology to new levels. The new patent proposes a subscriber home server, that is, a home content delivery device that both verifies subscriptions and delivers content, like a cable box, using the distributed node network model. The blockchain powered entertainment delivery is designed to add security and stability over existing systems.
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AT&T filed an application for a patent on a blockchain powered home subscriber server on 6th April this year, that has recently been published, on the 6th October. The filing describes the new device as a “decentralized and distributed home subscriber server”, and suggests a massive new market for blockchain technology could be opening soon.
A home subscriber server describes the authentication and delivery technology used for home subscriptions, most commonly for TV. That could be a cable box or similar that we are familiar with today. The move by AT&T details a device that uses distributed nodes to hold and transmit the data, in order to increase the security of content delivery. Blockchain is the platform that provides the distributed nodes and transmission system.
The patent, if granted, would apply to both the device itself as well as the way it is used, essentially taking control of the distributed node delivery model for media subscriptions. What is notable is that the patent suggests a preference for using the Bitcoin Blockchain itself, rather than a private network using a proprietary code, although the patent outlines both scenarios as part of the design.
The patent application also describes how the distributed node model would allow the system to continue to function even during an overloading attack as other nodes would continue to provide service if one were attacked. With high numbers of nodes, it would be practically impossible to attack enough simultaneously to disrupt the entire network.
The application is interesting for a couple of reasons, it is the first-time a AT&T has sought to make use of blockchain technology, and it is a blockchain application that truly demonstrates the power of the distributed node network approach. Because subscriber based entertainment is such a huge market, the possibilities for the cryptocurrency industry in the technology being adopted, for which it is clearly well suited, are vast. Successful use of blockchain technology here could normalize the idea of blockchain to a massive market, many of whom will have never heard of the technology before.