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“Attesting Witness” for your E-Will?

21 March 2018

U.S. Patent No. 9,811,869 (‘the ‘869 Patent), entitled REGISTRY, was issued to YDF Global Party Ltd on November 7, 2017.  This patent claims priority back to Oct. 28, 2011 & Jun. 18, 2012.

The ‘869 Patent, while assigned to YDF Global Party Ltd, notes inventors Jamie Wilson and Craig Steven Wright.

 

While the patents and applications reviewed here are related to the blockchain technology, I would classify the ‘869 Patent as Blockchain-adjacent.  The ‘869 Patent technology seamlessly integrates into a distributed ledger system.

 

In BlockChain Revolution, the authors note the potential for improving “Financial Services and Insurance” as well as “Document and Other Record Keeping.”  (p. 159).  The ‘869 Patent describes a registry that electronically stores contingent information enabling electronic settlement operations.

 

The ‘869 Patent teaches an electronic registry for storing electronic documents.  While not expressly disclosed in the ‘869 Patent, these documents can provide for contingent transactions.  The ‘869 Patent includes verification and authentication means insuring the reliability of the electronic document.  Blockchain hashing and storage techniques offer this same authenticity.

 

The server processing system 310 includes a data store 315, the registry 317 stored therein.  Fig. 4 shows the example of the registry including “estate data” for an individual.  When the individual dies, the executor receives the registry 317 (e.g. will).

 

“In one example, any document uploaded to the registry 317 will be time stamped and digitally signed to ensure that the document cannot be changed or altered in a manner that could allow fraud.  This can help to prevent external parties from repudiating the document stored in the system.”  col. 20, ll. 11-15.

 

The ‘869 Patent insures the integrity of the document.  Steps 925, 930 of Fig. 9A provide for digital signatures using “secret key.”  Steps 940, 945 of Fig. 9B decrypts using the public key.  While verifying signatures and authenticating the document, the same technique is readily applicable using a distributed ledger.

 

While the general description of the ‘869 relates to an electronic document, it is foreseeable the document being electronic asset transfer instructions.  If you have an electronic title to property bequeathed in the estate, you could electronically initiate title transfer upon document verification and release.

 

 

Which brings up an interesting legal question.  If validating a will requires two witnesses.  In the future, will two different validation technologies suffice?  Can “witness A” be the ‘869 Patent and “witness B” be a public Blockchain?

 

Thus, ‘869 Patent is not expressly Blockchain technology.  But, this technology readily integrate to supplement and improve contract-based Blockchain transactions.

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