IBM Envisions App Testing Powered By Blockchain

A recently released patent filing shows that IBM has dreamed up a blockchain-based system for distributed software application testing.

AccessTimeIconApr 5, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:47 a.m. UTC

IBM may one day be testing software applications on a blockchain system, public filings show.

In a patent application released Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the company describes a "blockchain test configuration" that could provide a "simple and secure infrastructure for testing applications" by allocating testing tasks to "miners" who could be rewarded with bitcoin or another cryptocurrency upon completing a given task.

Such a system could reduce the amount of money and resources that current cloud-based test infrastructures require, IBM says.

"Software automation testing has become more hardware intensive as the complexity and requirements of new software applications continues to increase," the filing reads. "To run automation test cases at a needed frequency requires a large hardware pool of resources which can exponentially increase as the test cases and number of applications increase."

The document, which was filed in December 2016, presents a three-fold proposal. It first details a method by which a request to test a "package associated with an application" could be submitted to a network of nodes and executed via a "contract document," like a smart contract. The smart contract would provide "all the information that is required to execute the test cases and the reward."

More general information about the application test package could be published to "an entire P2P network in a ledger," the filing says.

The method could also include receiving results based on the test and recording those results on a blockchain.

In connection with this, IBM envisions an apparatus that would include a transmitter that would send the test request to a network of nodes, a receiver configured to receive results of the test and a processor, which would then record those results on the blockchain.

Finally, the filing describes a "non-transitory computer" for storing instructions prompting the processor to transmit a test request, receive test results and/or record the test results on the blockchain.

As far back as 2013, IBM filed a blockchain-related patent that proposed a system to track the value of digital currencies. The blockchain would "track the life cycle of any individual e-currency token" both to detect its use in illegal activities and allow for a more accurate estimation of its worth, the document said.

IBM image via Shutterstock

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