Verizon Just Won a Patent to Create Virtual SIMs on a Blockchain

The company was granted a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the concept on Sept. 10, in which it sets out how it the invention could do away with pre-inserted, branded physical SIM cards.

Telecommunications conglomerate Verizon is eyeing the use of blockchain technology to underpin the dynamic creation of virtual SIM cards.

The patent describes how a physical SIM card can be replaced by a software equivalent – a virtual SIM (vSIM) – that is secured with blockchain-based encryption.

A device on the mobile network would create a user account for storing one or more vSIMs and a selection of network services to be associated with the account.

The network device then creates a blockchain record including a vSIM certificate for the network services and an International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) – a number that uniquely identifies all users of a cellphone network. The vSIM certificate is then linked to the user account and can be activated on a client’s mobile device.

Participating nodes on the “distributed consensus network” would maintain a list of records that Verizon calls a vSIM blockchain. This would be secured from malicious tampering by storing time-stamped transactions in cryptographically secured blocks. Records on the vSIM blockchain would be stored in a hash tree structure for efficiency and to ensure that blocks are received “undamaged and unaltered”, according to the patent.

Notably, the vSIM can be assigned any of multiple mobile devices linked to the user account and transferred between the devices. It could also be temporarily assigned to other users, says Verizon.

Backing it all up would be a vSIM platform hosted by the mobile network provider that stores a user repository of vSIMs using a number of application programming interfaces (APIs).

According to the patent:

“In one implementation, users can accept new vSIM certificates into a user account, transfer a vSIM among client devices associated with the user account, or deliver a vSIM certificate to another user.”

This would appear to suggest that, say, a company could purchase a number of vSIMs, assign them to its staff at will and later re-assign them to other employees using the system.

Verizon has previously backed a $15m funding round for Filament, a firm working on blockchain hardware for the internet of things.

Vertalo to Tokenize 22 Securities Worth $200M on Tezos Blockchain

More than 20 companies expect to tokenize securities on the Tezos blockchain, representing some $200 million in deals, through a new partnership with fintech merchant bank DealBox and software provider Vertalo.

Announced Monday, the partnership will see Vertalo tokenize 22 different securities issued by DealBox’s clients, providing data management services and providing liquidity, Vertalo CEO and co-founder Dave Hendricks said. His firm is also a registered transfer agent with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Hendricks told CoinDesk his company is essentially a technology provider for this partnership, while DealBox is the actual intermediary between the clients and the tech firm. This is preferable, he said, because, while Vertalo can work directly with issuers, the company prefers to work with “channel partners.”

The move more than doubles the number of customers using Vertalo for digital security issuance. The company had 18 customers as of January 2020.

“The private assets are a bigger market than public securities. Because of the antiquated methods for asset management, and for ownership of private assets, owners of private assets cannot obtain liquidity”, Hendricks said, saying tokenizing might be able to boost liquidity.

The move comes a month and a half after Vertalo formally picked the Tezos network as its default blockchain for issuing securities. The company supports securities issued on Tezos and Ethereum, but said in January it would encourage customers to switch to the former when possible.

John Nance, DealBox’s president and chief investment officer, told CoinDesk the partnership would help build out market infrastructure for digital investments.

“This idea of crowdfunding and using online investment platforms is pretty new”, Nance said, adding that more established companies might not have the necessary plumbing to support these types of securities issuance.

DealBox previously saw two securities issued on the Stellar blockchain, but is hoping to potentially migrate to Tezos. “We’re going to be bringing a significant amount of capital to the Tezos platform”, Nance said.

The integration has already begun, according to Hendricks, and is expected to continue through the second quarter.


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