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Amazon, a kingmaker of e-commerce and shipping, has patented a distributed ledger-based (DLT) system for proving the authenticity of consumer goods.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved the Seattle tech giant’s nearly three-year-old “Distributed ledger certification” on Tuesday. The patent describes using DLT to infuse “digital trust from the first mile of an item’s supply chain” to the last.
Amazon’s system compiles data from distributors, manufacturers and shippers on an “open framework” that builds a product provenance across information silos. This data could be neatly packaged for the consumer, as shown in the patent drawings.
In a brief that waxed unusually philosophical for dry patent filings, Amazon derided the “proliferation” of “systems and databases that can often lack transparency, coherency, referential integrity or security” – all potential eroders of trust.
These “patchwork” technologies also fail to encompass the global supply chain, Amazon wrote. Amazon is growing ever more critical to that chain: Its 3.5 billion packages last year,
Against those existing tech deficiencies, Amazon argued distributed systems offer a compelling solution. It said DLT can protect data from alteration, remove single points of failure and avoid the managerial problems of centralized authority, like bottlenecks.