Microsoft Files Patent Application for Crypto Mining System Powered by Human Activity

A Microsoft patent application details a human-powered crypto mining project by collecting data as people exercise and watch ads.

Mar 30, 2020 at 7:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:23 a.m. UTC

Microsoft has proposed a system that can mine cryptocurrencies using data collected from humans as they exercise or read an advertisement.

In a patent application filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Thursday, the American computer giant said sensors could detect activity associated with specific tasks – such as time spent viewing ads – and convert it into computer-readable data to solve computational problems, in much the same way as a conventional proof-of-work system.

"Instead of massive computation work required by some conventional cryptocurrency systems, data generated based on the body activity of the user can be a proof-of-work, and therefore, a user can solve the computationally difficult problem unconsciously," the patent application reads.

The system could use physical exertion to mine cryptocurrencies: sensors could detect when the body is doing a physical task, such as a faster pulse, and use that data to unlock blocks. Scanners connected to the head could even use brainwaves, signals sent out during mental exertion, to mine for cryptocurrencies.

Microsoft says the system could be used to incentivize users to perform certain tasks. Scanners can detect activity from certain kinds of tasks, such as mental concentration when reading an advert, that can verify blocks and reward the user with cryptocurrencies.

In late 2017, a Netherlands-based company explored whether humans produced enough energy to mine cryptocurrencies. Their test results found body heat from 37 people, collected over a couple of hours, produced enough energy for a computer to mine continuously for just over eight days.

Although Microsoft designed the system, it is unclear whether the company is moving forward on actually creating it. It is also not clear whether the protocol would run off a fork of an existing protocol, or based on a whole new blockchain entirely.

Microsoft suggested in its patent application that the system would be fully centralized.

The Festival for the Decentralized World
Thursday - Sunday, June 9-12, 2022
Austin, Texas
Save a Seat Now

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
Avalanche Submits Subnet Proposal for ApeCoin DAO’s Metaverse Migration

The proposal comes weeks after Otherside faced issues on Ethereum.

The proposal comes weeks after Otherside faced issues on Ethereum.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2
CoinDesk - Unknown
Soona Amhaz’s Volt Debuts $50M Crypto Fund Backed by Marc Andreessen, Chris Dixon

The VC firm will continue to focus on infrastructure, DeFi, NFTs and DAOs.

The VC firm will continue to focus on infrastructure, DeFi, NFTs and DAOs.

CoinDesk - Unknown
3
CoinDesk - Unknown
Associations for Blockchain Technology, Digital Assets Adoption to Merge

The combined entity, to be named GBBC Digital Finance, will be based in the U.K. and have teams across EMEA and APAC.

The combined entity, to be named GBBC Digital Finance, will be based in the U.K. and have teams across EMEA and APAC.

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
DeFi Platform Lido Votes Against Supporting New Terra Blockchain

Terra's revival plan was approved by network validators earlier Wednesday.

Terra's revival plan was approved by network validators earlier Wednesday.

CoinDesk - Unknown