In brief

  • Microsoft wants to patent a system that uses the human body to mine cryptocurrency.
  • The system will use various body activities as part of a proof-of-work algorithm.
  • This way, Microsoft proposes to eliminate the need for "massive computation work."

American IT behemoth Microsoft on Thursday filed a patent application for a proof-of-work algorithm that uses biometric information, including brain waves, to mine cryptocurrency.

According to the application, titled "Cryptocurrency system using data on body activity," a sensor connected to the user's body would transmit biometric data to a server.

Among examples of “body activity” listed by the patent are body radiation, brain activities, blood flow, organ activity, and movement.

The sensor would also be able to discern between different brain waves, such as gamma (involved in learning or memory tasks), beta (involved in logical thinking), and alpha (related to subconscious thoughts).

Users would receive crypto as a reward for completing tasks, which could include watching advertisements, using chatbots, or uploading things to content-sharing websites.

This, said Microsoft, eliminates the need for "massive computation work" usually required by existing blockchain networks, such as Bitcoin, while still maintaining a semblance of a proof-of-work mechanism. As the company explains, the necessary work will be performed by users “unconsciously.”

Essentially, the system should be able to read anything that can be sensed and represented by images, waves, signals, texts, numbers, degrees or any other form of information or data, the document adds.

Image: Microsoft

As Decrypt reported in early March, Microsoft teamed up with global professional services firm Ernst & Young and Ethereum venture studio ConsenSys (which funds editorially independent Decrypt) to create “Baseline Protocol.” 

This lets large companies transact and communicate privately on the Ethereum public blockchain. Meanwhile, its new patent would have us surrender our deepest thoughts.