Verizon, a telecom conglomerate, has received a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office to develop virtual SIM cards underpinned by blockchain tech.
The filed patent describes how a physical SIM card can be replaced by a software equivalent – a virtual SIM (vSIM) – that is secured with blockchain-based encryption. A device on the mobile network would create a user account for storing one or more vSIMs and a selection of network services to be associated with the account.
The network device then creates a blockchain record including a vSIM certificate for the network services and an International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) – a number that uniquely identifies all users of a cellphone network. The vSIM certificate is then linked to the user account and can be activated on a client’s mobile device, according to CoinDesk.
Participating nodes on the ‘distributed consensus network’ would maintain a list of records that Verizon calls a vSIM blockchain. The vSIM can be assigned any of multiple mobile devices linked to the user account and transferred between the devices. It could also be temporarily assigned to other users, says Verizon.