In an application released by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, Apple details a prospective system for creating and verifying timestamps that relies on combining aspects of Blockchain technology with Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) tools.
The use case involves linking a particular piece of information to a particular transaction taking place on the blockchain, which establishes the state of that data at that point in time. If that information changes, additional transactions can be created that will show the changes that have been made to the data.
The patent application describes 3 possible methods for establishing timestamps, and one of these methods is a system centered around a blockchain platform. The system would be part of what Apple calls “multi-check architecture”, meaning that another system needs to confirm the timestamp in order to add a block to the existing chain. The system would generate a block containing a timestamp, with every subsequent block being added as miners verify each transaction conducted on the chain.
According to the application, Apple is seriously considering the blockchain possibility due to the decentralized security features involved.
As the document notes:
“If any party attempts to alter a node some time earlier in the blockchain, each hash puzzle solution for block subsequent to the altered block becomes broken or incorrect. Each participant can see that such a broken blockchain does not agree with their own copy of the blockchain. The broken blockchain is thus not recognized by the nodes.”
The application claims that there would be two main benefits of using a decentralized ledger to store the timestamps – proper timing could be maintained permanently and the network is also protected from corruption if a single node is compromised.