Blockchain is the technology that drives cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. But it’s also being used in an increasing number of other use cases, with corporations and governments in particular turning to blockchain for its efficiency and effectiveness.
Now, global software company Salesforce has secured a patent for a blockchain use case, for a system specifically designed to fight email spam and other unwanted emails.
According to papers published this week by the US Patent and Trademark Office, the Salesforce patent covers a system that checks whether emails have been tampered with through a custom matching system, to more effectively route out scam emails.
By leveraging blockchain and the benefits of distributed ledger technology, Salesforce claims the applications work even more effectively than existing spam filter protocols.
The system works by recording a portion of a sent email on a blockchain, before matching this against email received to identify any discrepancies. According to the patent description, this “can help ensure that messages and attachments to those messages have not been modified during transit over a network”, with email that fails verification immediately flagged as spam.
Salesforce said that “messaging systems are often abused and used to distribute unwanted or undesirable messages (or other network traffic), which are commonly referred to as spam.”
By cross-referencing against blockchain records, the system specifically reduces instances of false positives commonly returned by existing spam filters, which Salesforce claims would make the technology more appealing to prospective users.
“The [system] can also better identify legitimate (wanted) messages and distinguish them from illegitimate (unsolicited) messages. Used properly, the immutability and distributed nature of the blockchain can make it impossible to modify information once it has been committed to the blockchain.”
The patent is only the latest example of a global company securing intellectual property around blockchain, far beyond the specific cryptocurrency use cases.
While cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are revolutionizing the financial world, the same underlying technology is being used by companies like Salesforce in hundreds of different applications, to improve on existing technologies and introduce significant efficiency savings.
The product is a particularly good fit for Salesforce’s cloud email service, one of its suite of enterprise software products designed for business customers.