Insights & Analyses

Sony patent describes using blockchain for multi-factor authentication user logins

October 30, 2017

In a unique implementation of blockchain technology, Japanese tech giant Sony has investigated using a distributed ledger to create a multi-factor authentication system for secure user logins.

Sony’s system would give uses two different credentials to log into a website, such as a username and password alongside an authentication token. Blockchain would actually be used in two ways: To verify the user’s identity, and also to generate the token required for login.

Sony’s interest in the new blockchain use case was revealed in a patent application published this month by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, first discovered by Coindesk. It notes that the system could be used for transferring data, contracts, or money, while the company added in a statement that it could also be used for supply chain and logistics.

Applications for blockchain have drawn the attention of some of the biggest companies in th world, including Microsoft, IBM, and Fidelity.

Blockchain started as a decentralized, secure way of authorizing transactions online with bitcoin. But the underlying technology has been adapted to become more specialized, advanced, and tailored to individual needs.

Its potential uses in the identity space, including systems like the one Sony is pursuing, have generated a great deal of hype. OWI Labs details blockchain’s potential in a more realistic view in the report Don’t Believe the (Blockchain) Hype, which is now available.