U.S. software company Intuit has been awarded a patent for processing Bitcoin (BTC) payments via text message (SMS), according to a filing published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) August 7.
The patent, which outlines a system through which users can transfer BTC funds via sending an SMS on their cellphones, was originally filed in 2014, the same year that Intuit’s DIY tax solution QuickBooks partnered with BitPay to create a PayByCoin service for business clients to pay their invoices in BTC.
As the patent outlines:
“The invention […] includes receiving, by a payment service from a payer mobile device of a payer, a payment text message comprising a payment amount and an identifier of a payee mobile device of a payee, validating the payment text message based at least on a payer balance of a virtual payer account maintained by the payment service for the payer.”
Intuit’s patent goes on to describe the interaction between virtual accounts created for the purposes of running the system, as well as different possible approaches to validating transactions. One of these would be “receiving an unanswered voice call within a pre-determined time period” after receiving a text message, which would be matched to to the identifier of the mobile device that is extracted from that message.
Another approach would be a password system that would be managed via SMS and the virtual accounts associated with each mobile device identifier.
Using cellphones directly to facilitate crypto adoption has been explored for several years, often considered to be the key to bringing financial inclusion through crypto to unbanked populations in countries where access to the internet or expensive computer hardware might limit people’s ability to transact in crypto.
Electronics giant HTC has meanwhile recently announced it would introduce a smartphone with a native crypto wallet and support for CryptoKitties, the Ethereum-based decentralized application (DApp) game.The firm is even reportedly planning to to issue a white paper on a project to incorporate crypto mining on cell phones later this year.