The most recent patent filing from UPS suggests they are looking at accepting bitcoin as payment for a new item-exchange locker service.
The locker system would enable a user to lock an item within a compartment, which they can set up to open upon payment of a certain amount. This would be particularly practical for small businesses and freelancers who may not have a physical store front and would prefer a cheaper alternative to shipping for local purchases.
The specific patent filing lists the various payment methods renters can pay with, stating:
“In example embodiments, the locker bank may include a point-of-sale (POS) system for accepting payment from users in the form of: (1) a cash transaction; (2) a credit or debit card transaction; (3) a gift certificate; (4) an electronic payment, such as payment by Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, Bitcoin; and/or (5) any other suitable type of payment.”
The patent also states bitcoin can be used as a way to refund customers. While large corporations have not begun to adapt to cryptocurrency in general, this is not the first patent filing to mention cryptocurrency as a payment method. In 2017 there were over 20 patent filings released by the USPTO that involved bitcoin to some degree.
If this trend continues, we could begin to see more massive corporations accepting bitcoin as a form of payment. While this would be a huge step forward for cryptocurrency in general, it remains to be seen if the bitcoin blockchain could keep up with the amount of transactions that would occur. It may be smarter for large corporations to work on adapting less well-known but more capable cryptocurrencies into their future operations.
Another issue that will need to be addressed is how corporations will store payment information for cryptocurrency transactions. If they keep records of transactions, that may expose many people’s digital wallets for hacking. The corporations will need to create or adopt a highly secure blockchain system to track transaction information, otherwise the whole venture is pointless when they are hacked and millions of users’ information and money is stolen.
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In today’s complex legal cases, evidence is rarely singularly digital or traditional, but begins in one realm and quickly cross over into the other. The days of an investigation involving merely taking statements and photocopying documents are all but things of the past. Modern evidence gathering requires the agility to go where the evidence leads, no matter the source.
This not only means overcoming the challenge of understanding the ever-evolving web of digital evidence, but owning the entire evidentiary space; The nexus of both the digital and the non-digital.
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