Verizon taps blockchain technology to replace SIM cards

Robert Stevens


The Telecommunications beast Verizon was awarded a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO) on September 10, for a system that uses blockchain to create virtual SIM cards.

According to the patent, the system’s blockchain would associate a virtual SIM card, or “vSIM”, with a particular user account and then activate the SIM card on a device. The device on which the vSIM card was activated would then send a signal back to the blockchain, confirming activation.

Virtual SIM cards are nothing new. For example, WorldSIM offers localized virtual SIM cards to add the ability to make calls like a local. The idea is simply to do away with the pesky square-centimeter bits of plastic and just do the whole thing online, transmitting a user’s identity through the internet or via radio waves. It means that you don’t need a physical SIM card, but rather “log-in” to your mobile service provider.

Verizon’s blockchainification promises the usual stuff, namely increased security and speed. Blockchain encrypts a user’s data, and only one copy of the vSim can exist on any one device at any one time. If it works, blockchain’s ‘killer app’ would be less “financial liberation” and more “we help phones use less plastic”. What a world we live in.