Patent describes way to use blockchain technology for the sale and transfer of domain names.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted patent number 11,645,370 (pdf) to Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) for “Transferring a domain name on a secondary blockchain market and in the DNS.”
The patent describes a way to transfer domains in both the DNS and a blockchain network when a sale with cryptocurrency occurs. The method can handle the transaction from end to end, including holding cryptocurrency in escrow until the transaction is complete:
The operations include receiving a purchase request message comprising the domain name, at least one purchase parameter, and a second registrant network identifier; and sending a purchase instruction message to an executable program on a blockchain for the blockchain network, the purchase instruction message comprising the domain name and the second registrant network identifier, whereby the executable program writes at least the domain name, the second registrant network identifier, and an identifier of a gaining registrar to a deed contract for the domain name and emits an event representing a request to transfer registration of the domain name.
Verisign has applied for many blockchain-related patents. It applied for this patent in July 2019 and it was granted yesterday.
Blockchain supporters have proposed that the technology could shake up the traditional DNS. However, it doesn’t seem that any of the proposed systems for that are superior to the existing technology. This particular patent is tied more to using smart contracts or other blockchain technology to handle the end-to-end process of selling and transferring a domain name.
If nothing else, this patent move indicates Blockchain domains, and their buying process, have prompted Verisign to reconsider its commitment to the domain “acquisition” process of yesterday. Hopefully this means they (Verisign) are moving toward “allowing customers to actually own domains” at some point as opposed to “renting them indefinitely”.