Telecommunications and technology company Verizon was granted a patent for a virtual subscriber identity module (vSIM), according to a filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The filing describes how a traditional physical SIM card could be replaced by a software SIM version, which is secured with blockchain-based encryption. The technology would allow for a user to create an account, that is associated with a selection of network services, which will be able to store one or more vSIMs. A network device then creates a blockchain record, which will include a vSIM certificate for the network services and an International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI). Users then link their accounts with the vSIM certificate, and activate it on their mobile devices. The document further explains:
“The vSIM can be retrieved and used by any one of different devices associated with the user account, transferred between devices associated with the same user account, or temporarily assigned to other users.”
Nodes that participate in the “distributed consensus network” will maintain a list of records, which Verizon calls a vSIM blockchain. Time-stamped transactions will also be stored in a cryptographically secured blocks, with the aim of securing the records from tampering. Finally, a hash tree structure will be used to store the records on the vSIM blockchain, in order to improve efficiency, and ensure that blocks are received “undamaged and unaltered”.
It seems that Verizon has been preparing to build a blockchain network for quite a while now, with The Block reporting in July that the company was actively looking to hire new recruits for blockchain-related jobs. According to the report, the company posted five job openings for blockchain developers on 1 July.