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Amazon Patents Digital Cash for à la Carte Cloud Computing

Mitch Wagner
5/29/2014
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Amazon won a patent for allowing customers to pay for cloud services with Bitcoin or other digital currency, opening the door for anonymous, pay-as-you-go cloud computing, according to a report.

Patent 8,719,131, filed March 21, covers a system for paying for computing resources in a multi-tenant environment. Resources could be allocated anonymously -- not be associated with a specific user account, according to CoinDesk, a digital currency news site. Users would submit the payment as part of the request for resources. (See Amazon Awarded Bitcoin-Related Cloud Computing Patent.)

    Speed is essential, for example, as a user might request access to a server for just two hours and pay for it digitally.

    The patent could be described as enabling an "à la carte" approach to cloud computing -- take what you need for as long as you need it, with no subscription or long-term obligation, no need to plan ahead.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), which runs the largest cloud service in the world, isn't presently interested in digital currencies; payments head Tom Taylor said in April the company has no immediate plans to "engage Bitcoin," CoinDesk says.

The only uses I can think of for this service are illegal. That's not necessarily a bad thing; illegal services include both malware (bad) and anonymous communications hidden from the prying eyes of dictatorships (good).

In other Bitcoin news, Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) announced today it will start accepting Bitcoin payment. (See Dish Says Yes to Bitcoin.)

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to wagner@lightreading.com.


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DHagar
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DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/2/2014 | 12:19:44 PM
RE: Amazon Bit Coins for a lka Carte Cloud Computing
@Susan, that's what I am thinking Susan.  Where you are opening the door to new risks now with secrecy, there may need to be more regulations added for transacting with this currency.  That may limit the risk.

 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/1/2014 | 4:51:00 AM
Non-obviousness???
I am by no means one of those screaming anti-IP people who thinks patent law should be abolished, but I've got to wonder how the heck this is patentable -- unless there's something really unique about the process (and, to be honest, I'm way too lazy to carefully read and examine the actual patent right now).

But at the same time, I see why Amazon did it.  I have a hard time thinking that this is anything other than a "defensive patent."
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Blogger
5/30/2014 | 10:36:31 PM
Re: More Flexible Cloud Computing
Thanks, DHagar. :) 

"As long as individual privacy is protected, that is great, but when secrecy becomes a shell people can hide behind, I think it can create an environment where people can use it for illegal purposes."

And you are right. However, if you have to choose between offering a service that offers benefits for some, or not offering it because there is a percentage of the population who might use your service for illegal purposes, what do you do? 

-Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Blogger
5/30/2014 | 10:23:47 PM
Re: Amazon Bit Coins for a la Carte Cloud Computing
DHagar, 

" ... if they are creating a "shell", that part may be risky in attracting those who want no linkages or transparency."

Unfortunately, there is always a risk in everything. Bad boys will always exist, what you need to do is to create something to keep them in line. 

-Susan
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/30/2014 | 8:12:05 PM
Re: Amazon Bit Cons for a la Carte Cloud Computing
You're very right. Not many people are proactive & want to know how their IT investments are being utilized. Often, it's only a reactive approach when things don't work or break down due to overtaxing systems.
Kruz
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Kruz,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/30/2014 | 7:26:20 PM
Re: More flexible cloud computing
This is great news for bitcoin, as it is gaining momentum recently. This would be the first big player bitcoin has, and it could push others to join.

While this solution might be practical, I beleive it would make anymous or others subject to montioring. Amazon might determine who are its bitcoin Users, and flag these for montiroing and share this info with external 3rd parties. Anymous will not go for it as this will create an identity they want to hide.
DHagar
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DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/30/2014 | 6:43:39 PM
Re: Amazon Bit Coins for a la Carte Cloud Computing
@nasimson, that's what I am thinking as well.  It certainly seems as if it will open the doors to something new, doesn't it?
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/30/2014 | 6:36:33 PM
Re: Amazon Bit Coins for a la Carte Cloud Computing
@DHagar: If they are protecting anonymity, how can they be allowed by regulators? Are there any regulators for the public clouds? If there are not, Amazons move will highlight the need for it, since cyber attacks can be launched from such a platform.
DHagar
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DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/30/2014 | 12:36:18 PM
Re: More Flexible Cloud Computing
@Susan, I like your innovative focus - and fully agree.

Regarding privacy, I fully support privacy - the line I draw is when the focus is "secrecy".  As long as individual privacy is protected, that is great, but when secrecy becomes a shell people can hide behind, I think it can create an environment where people can use it for illegal purposes.
DHagar
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DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/30/2014 | 12:24:51 PM
Re: Amazon Bit Coins for a la Carte Cloud Computing
@nasimson, I share your positive outlook on their innovative business model, and as I stated, they truly lead the way in innovations.  Their "development" of an ad hoc access capability is a great contribution and I share your view.

Where I think it is less positive is the annonymous payment aspect.  Digital payment at large is a great convenience that fits the ad hoc model, but if they are creating a "shell", that part may be risky in attracting those who want no linkages or transparency.

 
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