The TEE, Trusted Execution Environment, is an area dedicated to data protection that, by its design, is safer than the user interface: the components are tested for security level 1 (against software attacks) or level 2 (against hardware attacks) and are accessible only to applications specifically designed for that area. These applications have the ability to fully access the processing potential.
The new patents provide the ability to access TEE areas for blockchain applications.
From what we know, this maximum security area is used for internal storage of a particular type of blockchain or another security protocol, or as a validation node for third-party data.
In this case, the information necessary for verifying the node is contained in the TEE, which becomes central to data verification and storage activities on the blockchain.
The advantage of using the TEE:
- TEE helps the establishment of a “Consortium Network blockchain” by constituting the first node of the blockchain and building the network on the basis of a list of reliable nodes already contained in the data of the secure and verified node;
- TEE could guide how to certify transactions within the blockchain or the predetermined network seen in the previous point. One could, for example, use a pre-compiled attestation template that would allow certain transactions or instructions to be validated automatically, without the need to decode or copy them.
The purpose of these patents, which were registered several months before being made public, is to create a “CoCO”: the Confidential Consortium in which a blockchain can operate in a completely safe way.
Potential applications are huge, ranging from secure financial transactions to the simplest decoding of confidential video and audio formats.
Microsoft has been operating in the blockchain sector for some time and offers solutions on its Azure platform, which has recently updated its section on private blockchain solutions.
IBM has been operational for some time in the field of platform management for private blockchains. They are a partner of the Hyperledger consortium and they have already filed several patents for the management of these solutions in the past. Oracle has also joined the space back in June.