IBM Files Patent for a Blockchain-Based Web Browser

William Foxley
Aug 10, 2019 at 15:34 UTC
Updated Aug 13, 2019 at 19:21 UTC
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A new patent application from IBM describes a blockchain-based web browser.

Published on August 6 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office database, IBM’s patent is for a web browser backed by a peer-to-peer network. IBM’s patent application was first published on September 2018 to the USPTO, although not on its database.

The browser collects pre-specified information from web browsing sessions, according to the patent. The information is then transferred to a network of peer-to-peer nodes for collection and storage. Information collection depends on the type of browsing experience chosen. Browsing on a work computer versus a personal browser would demand different settings, for example. 

Types of potentially storable session information include what websites one visits, bookmarks, task performance, geolocation, plugin installation, and security patches. 

As the company states, a blockchain-based browser “affords a system for storing browsing information such that privacy is preserved and places privacy in the ‘hands of a user’ rather than a third party.”

One potential use-case the document includes, among others, is an attack on a computer’s browser. If secured by blockchain technology, a viable backup of all user information is available.

Interestingly, IBM included a token in their model. IBM says tokens will verify a users browser session activities as they are packaged into blocks for the peer-to-peer network. 

IBM’s blockchain web browser concept is not the only one in the field, however.

Norwegian web browser Opera company recently launched their iOS Opera Touch browser in June. Built for Web 3.0, Opera Touch has a built-in cryptocurrency wallet and connects seamlessly to Web 3.0 applications including ERC-20 tokens.

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