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Microsoft Seeks Patent for Crypto System Using Body Activity Data

Microsoft is entitled to apply for and be granted a patent for a first claim (claim 1) to use human body activity associated with a task provided to a user for a mining process of a cryptocurrency system. According to the International Application Status Report of the filing, first made in July 2019, body activity data may be generated based on the sensed body activity of the user for a cryptocurrency system that is communicatively coupled to the device of a user that may be used to verify whether or not the body activity data satisfies one or more conditions set by the cryptocurrency system. If confirmed, cryptocurrency would be awarded to the user whose body activity data is verified, the report available on the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) IP portal shows.

It differs from the validation process (or mining) that several existing cryptocurrencies – including a blockchain-based cryptocurrency like Bitcoin – go through to computationally solve a difficult problem sometimes called a “proof-of-work” which may require enormous amounts of computational energy. The cryptocurrency system using body activity data document states:

“For example, a brain wave or body heat emitted from the user when the user performs the task provided by an information or service provider, such as viewing advertisement or using certain internet services, can be used in the mining process. 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 said cryptocurrency system awards the cryptocurrency to the user by generating a block for the awarded cryptocurrency and adding the block to a blockchain stored in the cryptocurrency system, the filing indicates. While the body activity data is generated using a hash algorithm converting human body activity into an encryption output, and the generated body activity data comprises a hash of the sensed body activity of the user.

Each block comprises of data that includes a task provided to the device of the user; information on the awarded cryptocurrency; a hash associated with the body activity; and a hash of a previous block.

However, in what is considered a written opinion by the International Preliminary Examination Authority, with an option for the applicant to reply where appropriate, certain defects were identified in the application. In the opinion, it is noted that the application did not meet international requirements as stipulated in the patent treaty “because the subject-matter of claim 1 is not novel…” based on submitted documents of particular relevance – Neurogress et al, “Mechatronic systems control via neural interface neurogress” and Lisa Barwick, “Researchers help digital currency users get more rewards for exercising” sugget the the claimed invention cannot be considered novel or cannot be considered to involve an inventive step when the document is taken alone.

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