Amazon has been awarded a patent this week that could signal the cloud computing giant’s plans to accept bitcoin for AWS. This is despite earlier indications from company officials that Amazon had no immediate plans to accept digital currencies, including bitcoin.
Filed on Mar. 29, 2012, patent 8,719,131 involves allocating financial risk and reward in a multi-tenant environment, according to a report by CoinDesk.
The patent would open up AWS to customers wanting to pay for cloud services anonymously on a pay-as-you-go basis. The system described in the patent says that the resources do not to be associated with a specific user account, and “can be allocated and available as long as payment has been provided. If a user wants the resource to be available for additional processing, for example, the user can submit another request with additional funding.”
According to a report by NetworkWorld, the patent also describes a system that would be more of an exchange-like marketplace to buy and sell compute resources. The report says that “it basically allows for [Amazon] to set up a marketplace where payments for cloud computing services are bought by one entity and then used by another. Payment for these services can be accepted across a variety of means, including Bitcoin.”
While bitcoins have been accepted by some hosting and cloud providers for some time, large companies like Amazon are a bit more cautious of accepting bitcoins as they allow for anonymous payments and have been the subject of many security issues and fluctuations in price. However, companies operating in the same space as Amazon, at least on the ecommerce side, like eBay, have expressed interest in accepting bitcoin payment.
This week, data center and colocation providers Server Farm Realty and C7 Data Centers announced that they will accept customer payments in bitcoin. Dish Network also said it would accept bitcoins later this year, making it the first TV network to accept the digital currency.
By accepting bitcoins, companies like Amazon can expand their user base, and may be seen as more innovative than competitors. As Amazon continues to lead the cloud price-cutting game, accepting anonymous payments could stand to expand its already enormous customer base.