Microsoft has taken the concept of cryptocurrency mining and turned it on its head by proposing a human-powered consensus mechanism. Through a patent filed on March 26, Microsoft is considering powering blockchains by getting people to do certain activities, from watching adverts to physical acts, which would be converted into computer-readable data to solve computational problems.
Brainwave or Physical Activity Tracked
In the patent application, Microsoft explains the approach of the consensus mechanism and how it could be utilized:
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.
This, Microsoft says, is an improvement over the “massive computation work required by some conventional cryptocurrency systems”, and would use scanners to detect when the required work has been carried out – for example, an increase in body temperature as evidence of physical tasks being completed, or brainwave scanners to detect when a visual act has been completed. The resultant mining reward will then be given to the user “whose body activity data is verified.”
Fascinating New Approach
The patent represents a fascinating new approach to cryptocurrency mining, taking the process out of the hands of computers and putting it into the hands of human beings, with a wide variety of potential applications.
For example, individuals could earn cryptocurrency from watching adverts and could get lower insurance premiums by taking part in regular exercise. Of course, less scrupulous individuals could also use the technology to monitor the output of individuals in a work scenario.
Just because Microsoft has filed the patent it doesn’t mean it will actively be worked on, as many companies file patents with the idea of selling them down the line. However, it would be a shame if the idea wasn’t taken further as it has the potential to bring cryptocurrency into the physical realm, and perhaps turn it into a money making enterprise for everyday users.