On March 22nd, the U.S. Postal Service filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark office leveraging blockchain for “Methods and Systems For A Digital Trust Architecture.” The goal is to build a more secure and efficient identification system.
Citing the application, “as more of life’s daily interactions move to online activities, it is apparent that the tools that provide trust to the users are lacking in their ability to adequately provide a desired level of security. Tools that have evolved from physical interactions, like face-to-face communication, and the ability to “go there” to resolve issues, are not possible in a digital environment.”
Interestingly, the Postal Service believes that provisioning a secure digital infrastructure will provide a more secure messaging and authentication service. The filing references the use of email as a form of digital signature but recognises the security limitations of these centralised platforms. Thus, they propose a system that leverages the blockchain, public and private identification keys, and email messaging integrated into decentralized systems.
“In some aspects, methods and systems for a digital trust architecture are provided. In some aspects, the architecture includes a user account provisioning process. The provisioning process may make use of in person verifications of some personal information to ensure authenticity of the user information. Once the authenticity of user information is established, an account may be created. The user account may include a user email account, with integrated access to digital certificates linked to the user account. Account creation may also automatically publish the new user’s public key in a publicly accessible directory, enabling encrypted email information to be easily sent to the new user.”
The Postal Service's application also highlights the use of a "special digital token," but it's not clear whether this refers to any kind of scarce form of data that would exist on the aforementioned blockchain.