Japanese telecommunications giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) may be looking to invent a new contract agreements system based on blockchain technology, according to a patent application published Thursday.
The world's fourth-largest telecom provider details how it could use the application to store contracts without allowing for documents to be tampered with. As outlined, the system would use a blockchain to both encrypt the contract, as well as store it in a decentralized manner, which can simplify the process by which it is verified by removing the need for centralized management.
The "receiver of a transaction on an issued contract" would generate a new transaction able to be linked to an original "contract transaction," written on a block in the chain.
The document explains:
"The present invention uses a blockchain as evidence of a contract made among a plurality of parties. A contract here refers to a sales contract, a deed of transfer, an application, a consent agreement, or the like, and is a document describing the content of a contract made among two or more individuals or bodies."
All parties wishing to be involved in the agreement would link transactions to this principal virtual "contract transaction" that would eventually be returned to "the contract-issuing party to close the chain of transactions."
Once closed, the patent explains there would be an "agreement verification apparatus" to ensure evidence of the contract on the blockchain is correct by comparing the public keys used for electronic signature at the start of the blockchain with the ones used at the end.
The whole system, according to Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, is "a simple method… maintaining the mode of one electronic signature per transaction, and maintaining credibility."
Being the fourth largest telephone operating company in the world with a valuation quoted to be at $94.2 billion by Michigan TechNews, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone did announce in a press release last year that emerging technologies such as blockchain were making information and communications technology needs increasingly "more complex."
NTT public phone image via psgxxx / Shutterstock