Amazon Sees Bitcoin Use Case in Data Marketplaces

Amazon has won a patent for a streaming data marketplace that could allow subscribers to receive real-time cryptocurrency transaction data.

The patent describes a system in which individuals and organizations can put streaming data feeds up for sale, to which customers can then subscribe. It was granted to Amazon Technologies, a subsidiary of the e-commerce and cloud computing giant, on Tuesday.

Adding on to that base, the filing says, developers could "build real-time dashboards, capture exceptions and generate alerts, drive recommendations, and make other real-time business or operational decisions."

Amazon's filing lists a number of potential use cases for the marketplace, including "web site click-streams, marketing and financial information, manufacturing instrumentation and social media, operational logs, metering data and so forth" - yet it includes one notable use case focused on the cryptocurrency market.

It argues that individual data streams may not be so valuable on their own, using bitcoin and cryptocurrency transaction data as an example. Yet by combining this data with information from additional sources, "the data stream may become more valuable."

The patent states:

"For example, a group of electronic or internet retailers who accept bitcoin transactions may have a shipping address that may correlate with the bitcoin address. The electronic retailers may combine the shipping address with the bitcoin transaction data to create correlated data and republish the combined data as a combined data stream."

The filing also mentions the marketplace's potential appeal to law enforcement.

"For example, a law enforcement agency may be a customer and may desire to receive global bitcoin transactions, correlated by country, with ISP data to determine source IP addresses and shipping addresses that correlate to bitcoin addresses," Amazon wrote. "The agency may not want additional available enhancements such as local bank data records. The streaming data marketplace may price this desired data out per GB (gigabyte), for example, and the agency can start running analytics on the desired data using the analysis module."

If Amazon decides to build the marketplace out, the centralized offering could pose a competitive threat to startups who are building similar yet more decentralized marketplaces.

Henri Pihkala, CEO of Streamer - one of the startups in question - told CoinDesk in an email that "data marketplaces aren't a new idea," but that "what is novel, is creating a space that finally gives users ultimate control over the data they create through their actions in the digital realm."

"If that's Amazon's ultimate vision, then bravo, but something might suggest it's not in the company's DNA to think like that," he added.

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