IBM working on a blockchain-based DNS system
IBM working on a blockchain-based DNS system
Blockchain

IBM working on a blockchain-based DNS system

By Matteo Gatti - 16 Aug 2019

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On August 13th, IBM employees registered a new patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office concerning a blockchain-based DNS (Domain Name System).

IBM has already been active in the blockchain field for some time. A few days ago, alongside Tata Communications, they joined the board that manages the governance of Hedera Hashgraph, a public blockchain for companies.

The company also worked with Walmart, Hyperledger, VeChain, Ethereum and many other companies on blockchain-based solutions.

IBM would not be directly involved in the patent, but usually, such major companies hold all patents registered by their employees. The name of the company’s 20 employees appears in this patent, as confirmed by their LinkedIn profiles, as well as several other researchers from various institutions, including universities.

DNS blockchain-powered system

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a system used to sort network node names into IP addresses. The service is implemented through a distributed database, consisting of DNS servers.

The DNS has an inverted tree hierarchical structure and is divided into domains (com, org, it, etc.). Each domain or node corresponds to a nameserver, which keeps a database with the information of some domains for which it is responsible and addresses the next nodes when it needs to find information that belongs to other domains.

The patent states that the existing DNS system is not completely secure. The current system is technically decentralised, but it does not work on a shared or encrypted registry in the same way as a blockchain-based version would. The document mentions that using a DNS lookup on the Bitcoin network would be too expensive and a possible solution is the use of Proof of Stake.

This is not actually a new solution. Handshake is an existing project that aims to address this problem in a similar way to what IBM intends to do. Another competitor in this area is Blockstack which has already received approval from the US Securities and Exchange Commission to sell its tokens to investors.

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