US20170046693A1 - Systems and methods for detecting and resolving data inconsistencies among networked devices using hybrid private-public blockchain ledgers - Google Patents

Systems and methods for detecting and resolving data inconsistencies among networked devices using hybrid private-public blockchain ledgers Download PDF

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US20170046693A1
US20170046693A1 US14/936,812 US201514936812A US2017046693A1 US 20170046693 A1 US20170046693 A1 US 20170046693A1 US 201514936812 A US201514936812 A US 201514936812A US 2017046693 A1 US2017046693 A1 US 2017046693A1
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data
portion
user
rules
identifying
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US14/936,812
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Perry Haldenby
Rajan MAHADEVAN
John Jong Suk LEE
Paul Mon-Wah CHAN
Orin Del Vecchio
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Toronto-Dominion Bank
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Toronto-Dominion Bank
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Application filed by Toronto-Dominion Bank filed Critical Toronto-Dominion Bank
Priority to US14/936,812 priority patent/US20170046693A1/en
Publication of US20170046693A1 publication Critical patent/US20170046693A1/en
Assigned to THE TORONTO-DOMINION BANK reassignment THE TORONTO-DOMINION BANK ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: HALDENBY, PERRY AARON JONES, CHAN, PAUL MOH-WAH, DEL VECCHIO, ORIN, MAHADEVAN, RAJAN, LEE, JOHN JONG SUK
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    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y04INFORMATION OR COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES HAVING AN IMPACT ON OTHER TECHNOLOGY AREAS
    • Y04SSYSTEMS INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO POWER NETWORK OPERATION, COMMUNICATION OR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES FOR IMPROVING THE ELECTRICAL POWER GENERATION, TRANSMISSION, DISTRIBUTION, MANAGEMENT OR USAGE, i.e. SMART GRIDS
    • Y04S10/00Systems supporting electrical power generation, transmission or distribution
    • Y04S10/50Systems or methods supporting the power network operation or management, involving a certain degree of interaction with the load-side end user applications
    • Y04S10/54Management of operational aspects

Abstract

The disclosed embodiments include computerized systems and methods that generate secured blockchain-based ledger structures that facilitate event-based control of tracked assets. In one embodiment, an apparatus associated with a centralized authority of the secured blockchain-based ledger may detect an occurrence of a triggering event, and may access and decrypt a set of rules hashed into the secured blockchain-based ledger using a confidentially-held master cryptographic key. The apparatus may identify a rule associated with the detected event, and perform one or more operations consistent with the rule. In some aspects, the detected event may correspond to a dispute involving one or more terms or conditions of a contractual agreement between a first party and one or more second parties, and the performed operations may resolve the dispute.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/204,768, filed Aug. 13, 2015, which is expressly incorporated by reference herein to its entirety.
  • DESCRIPTION
  • Technical Field
  • The disclosed embodiments generally relate to computerized systems and methods for securing data, and more particularly, and without limitation, computerized systems and methods that generate secured blockchain-based ledger structures that facilitate event-based control of tracked assets.
  • Background
  • Today, virtual and crypto-currencies, such as Bitcoin™, are gaining acceptance as viable mechanisms for performing purchase transactions and other financial services transactions. The transfer of units of these virtual and crypto-currencies between owners, which is essential to the ultimate success of these virtual and crypto-currencies, relies on a robust blockchain ledger structure that, due to its public nature, redundant verification, and resistance to fraudulent activity, offers advantages over existing centralized server systems. Despite its many advantages, conventional systems exhibit significant flaws, especially when used to track assets in secure, high-risk, and/or sensitive applications and when used to resolve inconsistencies within data associated with the tracked assets.
  • SUMMARY
  • The disclosed embodiments relate to computerized systems and methods that generate secured blockchain-based ledger structures that facilitate event-based control of tracked assets.
  • In an embodiment, an apparatus includes at least one processor and a memory storing executable instructions that, when executed by the at least one processor, causes the at least one processor to perform the steps of accessing data corresponding to at least one blockchain ledger, obtaining notification data identifying a dispute involving a contractual agreement between a first party and one or more second parties, and decrypting (i) a first encrypted portion of the blockchain ledger data using a first cryptographic key and (ii) a second encrypted portion of the blockchain ledger data using a second cryptographic key. In some aspects, the decrypted first data portion may identify a plurality of triggering events controlled by a rules authority, and the decrypted second data portion may identify a plurality of rules associated with the triggering events. The executed instructions may further cause the at least one processor to perform the steps of establishing that the identified dispute corresponds to at least one of the triggering events, identifying, based on the detected second data portion, at least one of the rules that exhibits a causal relationship with the detected first event, and generating an electronic command to perform one or more operations to resolve the identified dispute consistent with the at least one identified rule.
  • The disclosed embodiments also include a computer-implemented method that accesses, using at least one processor, data corresponding to at least one blockchain ledger, that obtains, using the at least one processor, notification data identifying a dispute involving a contractual agreement between a first party and one or more second parties, and using the at least one processor, decrypts (0 a first encrypted portion of the blockchain ledger data using a first cryptographic key and (ii) a second encrypted portion of the blockchain ledger data using a second cryptographic key. In some aspects, the decrypted first data portion may identify a plurality of triggering events controlled by a rules authority, and the decrypted second data portion may identify a plurality of rules associated with the triggering events. The method may also include establishing, using the at least one processor, that the identified dispute corresponds to at least one of the triggering events, identifying, using the at least one processor, and based on the detected second data portion, at least one of the rules that exhibits a causal relationship with the detected first event, and generating, using the at least one processor, an electronic command to perform one or more operations to resolve the identified dispute consistent with the at least one identified rule.
  • In further embodiments, a tangible, non-transitory computer-readable medium storing instructions that, when executed by at least one processor, cause the at least one processor to perform a method that includes accessing data corresponding to at least one blockchain ledger, obtaining notification data identifying a dispute involving a contractual agreement between a first party and one or more second parties, and decrypting (i) a first encrypted portion of the blockchain ledger data using a first cryptographic key and (ii) a second encrypted portion of the blockchain ledger data using a second cryptographic key. In some aspects, the decrypted first data portion may identify a plurality of triggering events controlled by a rules authority, and the decrypted second data portion may identify a plurality of rules associated with the triggering events. The method may also include the steps of establishing that the identified dispute corresponds to at least one of the triggering events, identifying, based on the detected second data portion, at least one of the rules that exhibits a causal relationship with the detected first event, and generating an electronic command to perform one or more operations to resolve the identified dispute consistent with the at least one identified rule.
  • It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only, and are not restrictive of the disclosed embodiments as claimed. Further, the accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate aspects of the present disclosure and together with the description, serve to explain principles of the disclosed embodiments as set forth in the accompanying claims
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a diagram of an exemplary computing environment, consistent with disclosed embodiments.
  • FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating a conventional blockchain ledger architecture.
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram illustrating a hybrid, public-private blockchain ledger architecture, consistent with disclosed embodiments.
  • FIGS. 4 and 5 are flowcharts of exemplary processes for performing event-based operations on assets tracked within a hybrid blockchain ledger, consistent with the disclosed embodiments.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Reference will now be made in detail to the disclosed embodiments, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. The same reference numbers in the drawings and this disclosure are intended to refer to the same or like elements, components, and/or parts.
  • In this application, the use of the singular includes the plural unless specifically stated otherwise. In this application, the use of “or” means “and/or” unless stated otherwise. Furthermore, the use of the term “including,” as well as other forms such as “includes” and “included,” is not limiting. In addition, terms such as “element” or “component” encompass both elements and components comprising one unit, and elements and components that comprise more than one subunit, unless specifically stated otherwise. Additionally, the section headings used herein are for organizational purposes only, and are not to be construed as limiting the subject matter described.
  • I. Exemplary Computing Environments, Networks, Systems, and Devices
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary computing environment 100 consistent with certain disclosed embodiments. In one aspect, computing environment 100 may include client devices 102, 104, and 106, system 140, peer systems 160, and a communications network 120 connecting one or more of the components of environment 100.
  • Consistent with the disclosed embodiments, one or more of the components of computing environment 100 may be configured to address problems inherent to conventional blockchain-based ledgers by embedding a private-master encryption key architecture into a conventional blockchain architecture (e.g., a blockchain-based architecture associated with the public Bitcoin™ ledger). In some aspects, the resulting hybrid blockchain architecture may facilitate a selective encryption of information by client devices 102, 104, and 106, system 140, and/or peer systems 160, thus providing a technical solution that protects sensitive and/or confidential instructions sets and event triggers and corresponding confidential instructions sets.
  • a. Exemplary Client Devices
  • In one embodiment, client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 may include a computing device, such as, but not limited to, a hashing computer, a personal computer, a laptop computer, a tablet computer, a notebook computer, a hand-held computer, a personal digital assistant, a portable navigation device, a mobile phone, a smart phone, a wearable computing device (e.g., a smart watch, a wearable activity monitor, wearable smart jewelry, and glasses and other optical devices that include optical head-mounted displays (OHMDs), an embedded computing device (e.g., in communication with a smart textile or electronic fabric), and any other type of computing device that may be configured to store data and software instructions, execute software instructions to perform operations, and/or display information on a display device(s), consistent with disclosed embodiments. In certain embodiments, at least one of client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 may be associated with one or more users, such as users 108, 110, and/or 112. For instance, user 110 may operate client device 104 and may do so to cause client device 104 to perform one or more operations consistent with the disclosed embodiments.
  • Client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 may include one or more tangible, non-transitory memories that store data and/or software instructions, and one or more processors configured to execute software instructions. Client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 may include one or more display devices that display information to a user and one or more input device(s) to allow the user to input information to client device 102, 104, and/or 106 (e.g., keypad, keyboard, touchscreen, voice activated control technologies, or any other type of known input device).
  • In one aspect, client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 may store in memory one or more software applications that run on client device 104 and are executed by the one or more processors. In some instances, client device 104 may store software applications that, when executed by one or more processors, perform operations that establish communications with one or more of peer systems 160 (e.g., across network 120) and that obtain, from peer systems 160, a current version of a hybrid blockchain ledger generated and maintained in accordance with the disclosed embodiments.
  • In other instances, and as described below, one or more of client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 may execute the one or more stored software application and to obtain data from the hybrid blockchain ledger that includes, but not limited to, data identifying one or more tracked assets, and/or a public key of one or more users. Further, and as described below, the one or more executed software applications may cause client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 to extract, from the one or more accessed blocks, a copy of an encrypted and/or hashed ownership/rules portion of the transaction block (e.g., including the identification a holder of a master key) and/or a copy of an encrypted and/or hashed master data block (e.g., encrypted using the master key and including rules permitting preconfigured and/or actions involving the tracked assets). In additional instances, and as further described below, client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 may provide information associated with one or more actions or transactions involving the tracked assets (e.g., information identifying the actions or transaction, information identifying the assets, a public key, a digital signature, etc.) to peer systems 160, along with copies of the encrypted and/or hashed rules engines and lists of triggering events.
  • In some aspects, the one or more stored applications may include a wallet application provided by business entity 150 (e.g., a mobile wallet application or an application executable on a desktop computer) and capable of initiating transactions denominated in one or more currencies, including virtual currencies such as Bitcoin™.
  • b. Exemplary Computer Systems
  • Systems 140, 141, and 146 may be computing systems configured to execute software instructions to perform one or more operations consistent with disclosed embodiments. In one aspect, systems 140 and 141 may be associated with business entities 150 and 151 (e.g., a financial institution) that provide financial accounts, financial services transactions, and investment services one or more users (e.g., customers of the business entities 150 and 151). In further aspects, system 146 may be associated with a neutral third party (e.g., clearinghouse entity 152) that, among other things, may resolve disputes regarding contractual terms, conditions, and performance between financial institutions 150 and 151 and between users 108, 110, and 112. In some aspects, systems 140, 141, and/or 146 may be distributed systems that may include computing components distributed across one or more networks, such as network 120, or other networks.
  • In one aspect, systems 140, 141, and 146 may include computing components configured to store, maintain, and generate data and software instructions. For example, system 140 may include one or more servers (e.g., server 142) and tangible, non-transitory memory devices (e.g., data repository 144). Similarly, system 141 may include one or more servers (e.g., server 143) and tangible, non-transitory memory devices (e.g., data repository 145), and system 146 may include one or more servers (e.g., server 147) and tangible, non-transitory memory devices (e.g., data repository 149).
  • Server 142 (and additionally or alternatively, servers 143 and 147) may include one or more computing devices that may be configured to execute software instructions to perform one or more processes consistent with the disclosed embodiments. In one example, server 142 may be a computing device that executes software instructions that perform operations that provides information to one or more other components of computing environment 100.
  • In one embodiment, server 142 (and additionally or alternatively, servers 143 and 147) may include a computer (e.g., a personal computer, network computer, or mainframe computer) having one or more processors that may be selectively activated or reconfigured by a computer program. In one aspect, server 142 (or other computing components of system 140) may be configured to provide one or more websites, digital portals, etc., that provide services consistent with business entity 150, such as a digital banking or investment portal, and services consistent with disclosed embodiments. For instance, server 142 may be configured to provide information associated with a requested web page over communications network 120 to client device 104, which may render the received information and present content from the web page on a display device, e.g., a touchscreen display unit.
  • In other aspects, servers 142, 143, and/or 147 (or other computing components of systems 140, 141, and/or 146) may be configured to provide information to one or more application programs executed by client device 104 (e.g., through a corresponding application programming interface (API)). For example, client device 104 may execute an application program associated with and provided by business entity 150, such a mobile banking application and/or a mobile wallet application, to provide services consistent with the disclosed embodiments. In some instances, server 142 may provide information to client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 (e.g., through the API associated with the executed application program), and client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 may be configured by the executed application program to present portions of the information to corresponding users through a corresponding graphical user interlace (GUI).
  • In further aspects, servers 142, 143, and/or 147 (or other computing components of systems 140, 141, and/or 146) may be configured to provide to client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 (and/or receive from client device 104) information associated with services provided by business entities 150 and 151 and clearinghouse entity 152. For example, client device 104 may receive the transmitted information, and store portions of the information in locally accessible storage device and/or network accessible storage devices and data repositories (e.g., cloud-based storage). In one instance, client device 104 may execute stored instructions (e.g., an application program, a web browser, a mobile banking application, and/or a mobile wallet application) to process portions of the stored data and render portions of the stored data for presentation to user 110. Additionally, servers 142, 143, and/or 147 may be incorporated as a corresponding node in a distributed network, and additionally or alternatively, as a corresponding networked server in a cloud-computing environment. Furthermore, servers 142, 143, and/or 147 may communicate via network 120 with one or more additional servers (not shown), which may facilitate the distribution of processes for parallel execution by the additional servers.
  • In further aspects, business entity 150 may represent a “rules entity” capable of regulating transactions involving assets (e.g., units of virtual currency, units of various financial instruments, physical assets, connected devices, real estate, etc.) tracked within hybrid public-private ledgers consistent with the disclosed embodiments. Further, business entity 150, acting as the rules authority, may be capable of regulating transfers of ownership of these assets, either singly or jointly through subdivided interests, tracked within hybrid public-private ledgers consistent with the disclosed embodiments. By way of example, one or more computing components of system 140 (e.g., server 142) may be configured (e.g., by executed software instructions) to establish one or more rules that regulate a distributions of and/or transactions associated with the tracked assets, an initiation of transfers of the tracked assets (e.g., a sale, a use of the tracked assets as collateral in a secured transaction etc.), and further, any additional or alternate action involving the tracked assets and/or the hybrid public-private ledger (e.g., processes that generate additional cryptographic key sets for user 110, processes that recover assets tracked in the hybrid public-private ledger, etc.).
  • Additionally, in some aspects, system 140 may establish causal relationships between one or more of the established rules and one or more events that trigger an initiation of one or more corresponding regulated distributions, transfers, and/or other actions involving assets tracked within the hybrid public-private ledger (e.g., “triggering events”). For example, a confirmed loss of a private cryptographic key issued to user 110 may represent a triggering event that causes system 140 to verify user 110's identity, initiate a transaction of the orphaned assets, generate a new pair of public and private cryptographic keys for user 110 (i.e., public and private blockchain keys), and transmit at least the private blockchain key to user 110 through secure, non-accessible processes, in accordance with one or more of the established rules.
  • Further, by way of example, a theft of a portion of user 110's tracked assets (e.g., units of virtual currency specified within one of more blocks of the hybrid public-private ledger) may represent a triggering event that causes system 140 to initiate a recovery protocol to generate a transaction request to recover the value of the stolen assets (e.g., to transfer the stolen assets back to user 110), and further, to generate a new pair of public and private blockchain keys for user 110, as described above. In other instances, a death and/or incapacitation of user 110 may represent a triggering event that causes system 140 to initiate a series of transaction to distribute of at least a portion of the tracked assets (e.g., through corresponding transaction requests consistent with the disclosed embodiments) to one or more additional owners identified by user 110 and specified within corresponding ones of the identified rules.
  • In some aspects, system 140 may be configured to establish one or more of the rules, and further, one or more of the causal relationships and triggering events, based on internal regulations associated with business entity 150. For example, the one or more internal regulations associated with business entity 150 may specify that system 140 verify an identity of user 110 (e.g., based on various forms of multi-factor authentication data) and/or obtain specific elements of documentation (e.g., a police report, etc.) prior to initiating the lost private key protocol and/or the recovery protocols outlined above. In other aspects, system 140 may one or more of the rules and/or triggering events based on information received from user 110 (e.g., as input provided to a web page or other graphical user interface (GUI) presented by client device 104 and provided to system 140). For example, user 110 may specify, as input to the web page or GUI presented by client device 104, one or more individuals that would receive portions of the tracked assets upon completion of one or more tasks and/or in the event of user 110's accidental death. The disclosed embodiments are, however, not limited to the exemplary triggering events and established rules described above, and in further aspects, the disclosed embodiments may be configured to generate any additional or alternate user- and system-specified rules and triggering events consistent with the hybrid public-private ledger and appropriate to the tracked assets, user 110, and/or business entity 150 (i.e., acting as a rules authority for the hybrid public-private ledger).
  • Further, and as outlined below, system 140 may be configured to store the one or more established rules (e.g., as a rules engine) and one or more of the established trigger events (e.g., as an event trigger list) within a portion of a local data repository (e.g., data repository 144). Additionally or alternatively, system 140 may be configured to store portions of the rules engine and/or event trigger list within a secure data repository accessible to system 140 across network 140 (e.g., cloud-based storage).
  • As described above, one or more computing components of system 140 (e.g., server 142) may be configured to generate pairs of public and private blockchain keys for user 110 (e.g., user 110's public/private blockchain key pair), and to provide the generated private blockchain key to user 110 through secure, non-accessible and/or out-of-band communications (e.g., by mail, etc.). In further embodiments, the one or more components of system 140 (e.g., server 142) may be configured to generate and maintain additional cryptographic keys that facilitate a generation and maintenance of portions of the hybrid public-private ledger. For instance, system 140 may be configured to generate a master key, which system 140 may leverage to encrypt the stored rules engine. In certain aspects, system 140 may store copies of the generated master key in a portion of data repository 144 that is not accessible to user 110 (and any other users), thus maintaining a confidence of the generated master key.
  • In additional aspects, system 140 may be configured to generate and maintain a private crypto key on behalf of user 110 (and additionally or alternatively, user 108 and 112), which system 140 may leverage to encrypt the stored event trigger list, and which may be provided to user 110 (and/or to user 108 and 112) through secure, non-accessible and/or out-of-band communications. Further, and as described above, system 140 may store copies of the private crypto keys in a portion of data repository 144.
  • Further, in additional embodiments, one or more computing components of system 140 (e.g., server 140) may be configured to hash the generated (and encrypted) rules engine and event trigger list into a genesis block associated with the hybrid public-private ledger. In other aspects, system 140 may provide the encrypted rules engine and event triggers list to one or more of peer system 160, which may be configured to hash the encrypted rules engine and event trigger list into the genesis block. By way of example, and by hashing the encrypted rules engine and event trigger list into the genesis block of the hybrid public-private ledger, the disclosed embodiments enable an in-band communication of the encrypted rules engine and event triggers from user to user within blocks (e.g., transactions) of the hybrid public-private ledger
  • In additional embodiments, one or more computing components of system 141 (e.g., server 143) and/or system 146 (e.g., server 147) may perform one or more of the exemplary operations described above in reference to system 140, which facilitate a capability of business entities 150 and 151 (and any additional or alternate financial institutions within environment 100) and/or clearinghouse entity 152 to function as a “rules authority” within computing environment 100.
  • c. Exemplary Data Repositories and Stored Data
  • Data repository 144 may include one or more memories that are configured to store and provide access to data and/or software instructions. Such memories may include tangible non-transitory computer-readable media that store software instructions that, when executed by one or more processors (e.g., of server 132), perform one or more operations consistent with disclosed embodiments. Data repository 144 may also be configured to store information relating to business entity 150, e.g., a financial institution.
  • For instance, data repository 144 may store customer data that uniquely identifies customers of a financial institution associated with system 140. By way of example, a customer of the financial institution (e.g., users 108, 110, and/or 112) may access a web page associated with system 140 (e.g., through a web server executed by a corresponding front end), and may register for digital banking services and provide data, which may be linked to corresponding ones of users 108, 110, and/or 112, and stored as customer data within data repository 144. The stored customer data may, for example, include personal information, government-issued identifiers, employment information, and contact information. The stored customer data may also include authentication credentials associated with registered users of the financial institution (e.g., a user name, a user-specified password, a system-generated password, an alphanumeric identification number (e.g., a PIN number) specified by the users or assigned by financial system 140, biometric information, and information facilitating enhanced authentication techniques).
  • In additional aspects, and as described above, data repository 144 may store a rules engine identifying one or more rules that regulate a distribution of the tracked assets, an initiation of one or more transactions involving the tracked assets (e.g., a sale, a transfer in ownership, a use of the tracked assets as collateral in a secured transaction etc.), and further, any additional or alternate action involving the tracked assets and/or the hybrid public-private ledger (e.g., processes that generate additional cryptographic key sets for users 108, 110, and/or 112, processes that recover assets racked in the hybrid public-private ledger, etc.). Further, and as described above, data repository 144 may also store information identifying an event triggers list that identifies causal relationships established by system 140 between one or more of the established rules and one or more events that trigger an initiation of one or more corresponding regulated distributions, transactions, and/or assets tracked within the hybrid blockchain ledger (e.g., “triggering events”).
  • In some aspects, system 140 may be configured to establish one or more of the rules, and further, one or more of the causal relationships and triggering events, based on one or more internal regulations associated with business entity 150. In other aspects, system 140 may establish one or more of the rules and/or triggering events based on information received from one or more of users 108, 110, and/or 112 (e.g., as input provided to a web page or other graphical user interface (GUI) presented by client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 and provided to system 140).
  • In an embodiment, data repository 144 may also store a copy of a master key and private crypto keys associated with users 108, 110, and 112 (and additionally or alternatively, additional private crypto keys associated with other users). By way of example, system 140 may be configured to store the private crypto keys in a data structure that includes information that associates the private crypto keys with corresponding ones of user 108, 110, and 112, and further, may be configured to store the master key in a data structure within data repository 144 that is inaccessible to users 108, 110, and/or 112 (and additionally or alternatively, to other users). Further, in some aspects, data repository 144 may be configured to store the rules engine and/or event triggers list in raw, unencrypted form. In other aspects, consistent with the disclosed embodiments, data repository 144 may be configured to store the rules engine and/or event triggers in encrypted form (e.g., using the stored master key), and/or store a hashed representation of the rules engine and/or the event triggers list.
  • d. Exemplary Communications Networks.
  • Communications network 120 may include one or more communication networks or medium of digital data communication. Examples of communication network 120 include a local area network (“LAN”), a wireless LAN, a RF network, a Near Field Communication (NFC) network, (e.g., a “WiFi” network), a wireless Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) connecting multiple wireless LANs, NFC communication link(s), and a wide area network (“WAN”), e.g., the Internet. Consistent with embodiments of the present disclosure, communications network 120 may include the Internet and any publicly accessible network or networks interconnected via one or more communication protocols, including, but not limited to, hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) and transmission control protocol/internet protocol (TCP/IP). Communications protocols consistent with the disclosed embodiments also include protocols facilitating data transfer using radio frequency identification (RFID) communications and/or NFC. Moreover, communications network 120 may also include one or more mobile device networks, such as a GSM network or a PCS network, allowing client device 104 to send and receive data via applicable communications protocols, including those described herein.
  • e. Exemplary Peer Systems
  • Referring back to FIG. 1, peer systems 160 may include one or more computing systems configured to execute software instructions to perform one or more operations consistent with disclosed embodiments. In some aspects, peer systems 160 may include computing components configured to store, maintain, and generate data and software instructions. For example, each of peer systems 160 may include one or more computing devices (e.g., a server, network computer, or mainframe computer) having one or more processors that may be selectively activated or reconfigured by executable instructions (e.g., computer programs) stored in one or more tangible, non-transitory computer-readable storage devices.
  • In an embodiment, one or more of peer system 160 may be configured to receive, from client device 104 across network 120, information associated with a distribution of, transaction involving, or other action associated with one or more assets tracked within hybrid blockchain ledgers consistent with the disclosed embodiments. By way of example, the received information may include, but is not limited to, data identifying at least a portion of the tracked assets, data identifying a current owner of the portion of the tracked assets (e.g., user 110) (or a obfuscated owner identifier), and further, encrypted copies of and/or hash values representative of the rules engine and event triggers list.
  • In some aspects, the one or more of peer systems 160 may be configured (e.g., by the executed software programs) to validate the received information and to generate a new block of the hybrid blockchain ledger that includes the received information, either alone (e.g., using a “one transaction, one block” paradigm) or in combination with information identifying additional distributions, transactions, or other actions associated with one or more tracked assets (e.g., as a multiple-transaction block). The one or more of peer systems 160 may be further configured to generate one or more hashes representative of the new block, which may be appended to a prior version of the hybrid private-public ledger along with the newly generated block. In some aspects, the one or more of peer system 160 may maintain the updated versions of the hybrid private-public ledger (i.e., the latest, longest hybrid private-public ledger), and may provide the updated version of the hybrid private-public ledger to client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 (and additionally or alternatively, other client devices associated with other users) upon receipt of a request across network 120 and/or at regular or predetermined intervals.
  • In certain instances, and in addition to a connection with network 120, peer systems 160 may be interconnected across a peer-to-peer network (not depicted in FIG. 1) using any of the wired or wireless communications protocols outlined above. Further, in some instances, one or more of peer systems 160 may function as a “miner,” where any miner may be compensated in units of a virtual currency (e.g., Bitcoin™) for validating the received data and for generating updated versions of the hybrid blockchain ledger.
  • II. Exemplary Processes for Tracking Assets Using Hybrid Private-Public Ledgers
  • In some embodiments, client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 may execute one or more stored applications that enable corresponding users to track, in conjunction with peer systems 150 and other components of computing environment 100, a disposition and distribution of one or more assets using conventional, publicly available and transparent blockchain ledgers. In some aspects, the use of public blockchain ledgers to track ownership, disposition, and distribution of actual and/or virtual assets (e.g., unit of virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin™, unit of other financial instruments and securities, physical assets, etc.) may present advantages over existing centralized server systems, such as those provided by financial institutions that leverage private ledgers.
  • a. Tracking Assets Using Conventional Blockchain Ledgers
  • FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of an exemplary structure 200 of a conventional blockchain ledger, which may be generated through the interaction of components of computing environment 100. For example, as described in reference to FIG. 2, a user (e.g., user 110) may be associated with a device (e.g., client device 104) that executes a stored software application (e.g., a wallet application) capable of obtaining a current version of a conventional blockchain ledger from one or more networked computer systems (e.g., one of peer systems 160 configured to “mine” broadcasted transaction data and update ledgers). In some aspects, the current version of a conventional blockchain ledger may represent a “longest” blockchain ledger that includes a maximum number of discrete “blocks,” which may identify transactions that transfer, distribute, etc., portions of tracked assets among various owners, including user 110.
  • For example, client device 104 may obtain the current blockchain ledger, and may process the block chain ledger to determine that a prior owner (e.g., user 108) transferred ownership of a portion of the tracked assets to user 110 in a corresponding transaction (e.g., transaction 202, schematically illustrated in FIG. 2). As described above, one or more of peer systems 160 may have previously verified, processed, and packed data associated with transaction 202 into a corresponding block of the conventional blockchain using any of the exemplary techniques described above and/or apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art.
  • In some aspects, as illustrated in FIG. 2, transaction 202 may include input data that references one or more prior transactions (e.g., transactions that transferred ownership of the tracked asset portion to user 108), and further, output data that includes instructions for transferring the tracked asset portion to one or more additional owners (e.g., user 110). For example, input data consistent with the disclosed embodiments may include, but is not limited to, a cryptographic hash of the one or more prior transactions (e.g., hash 202A) and the set of rules and triggers associated with the assets while the output data consistent with the disclosed embodiments may include, but is not limited to, a quantity or number of units of the tracked asset portion that are subject to transfer in transaction 202 and a public key of the recipient (e.g., public key 202B of user 110).
  • Further, in some aspects, the transaction data may include a digital signature 202C of user 108 (e.g., the prior owner), which may be applied to hash 202A and public key 202B using a private key 202D of user 108 through any of a number of techniques apparent to one of skill in the art and appropriate to the conventional blockchain ledger architecture. By way of example, the presence of user 108's public key within transaction data included within the conventional blockchain ledger may enable client device 104 and/or peer systems 160 to verify user 108's digital signature, as applied to data associated with transaction 202.
  • In an embodiment, user 110 may elect to further transfer the tracked asset portion to an additional user (e.g., user 112). For example, as described above, client device 104 may execute one or more software applications (e.g., wallet applications) that generate input and output data specifying a transaction (e.g., transaction 204 of FIG. 2) that transfers ownership of the tracked asset portion from user 110 to user 112, and further, that transmit the generated data to one or more of peer systems 160 for verification, processing (e.g., additional cryptographic hashing) and inclusion into a new block of the clock-chain ledger.
  • For example, data specifying transaction 204 may include, but is not limited to, a cryptographic hash 204A of prior transaction 202, a quantity or number of units of the tracked asset portion that are subject to transfer in transaction 204, and a public key of the recipient (e.g., public key 204B of user 112). Further, in some aspects, the data specifying transaction 204 may include a digital signature 204C of the user 110, which may be applied to hash 204A and public key 204B using a private key 204D of user 110 using any of the exemplary techniques described above. Further, and by way of example, the presence of user 110's public key 202B within transaction data included within the conventional blockchain ledger may enable various devices and systems (e.g., client devices 102, 104, and/or 106, peer systems 160, etc.) to verify user 110's digital signature 204C, as applied to data specifying transaction 204.
  • As described above, one or more of peer systems 160 may receive the data specifying transaction 204 from client device 104. In certain instances, peer systems 160 may act as “miners” for the blockchain ledger, and may competitively process the received transaction data (either alone or in conjunction with other data) to generate additional blocks of the ledger, which may be appended to the blockchain ledger and distributed across peer systems 160 (e.g., through a peer-to-peer network) and to other connected devices of environment 100.
  • In some aspects, conventional blockchain ledger architectures described above may enable the public to review content of the ledgers and verify ownerships. Further, the decentralized nature of conventional blockchain ledgers may also enable multiple distributed networks to verify the contents of a single ledger. The resulting redundancy may render conventional blockchain ledger architecture more robust than centralized server systems, and effectively eliminate the falsification of ledger data by malicious parties.
  • Despite these advantages, conventional blockchain ledger architectures may exhibit significant flaws when implemented by secured, high-risk systems. By way of example, unencrypted conventional ledger blocks may represent a security concern for transactions of sensitive nature, and further, may represent a privacy concern for members of the general public. For instance, information indicative of an interaction of a prior asset owner and a corresponding device, as present within conventional blockchain ledgers, may represent private information that should not be available to future owners, let alone members of the public.
  • Further, if an owner were to lose or misplace a corresponding private key, the distributed nature of conventional blockchain ledger architectures, such as those described above, provide little recourse to recover possession of the one or more tracked assets. In certain aspects, the rigidity and inflexibility of these conventional blockchain ledger architectures, and their inability to adapt to changing circumstances (e.g., loss of private keys, theft of tracked assets due to fraudulent or malicious activity), often results in volatility in the usage of the tracked assets and an erosion in a public trust of conventional blockchain ledgers.
  • Thus, there is a need for improved systems and methods that not only enhance the security of blockchain ledger architectures for use high-risk, sensitive applications, but that also provide a framework that provides owners or holders of assets tracked by blockchain ledger architectures with recourse in an event of fraud or malicious activity, while maintaining the public availability and verification characteristic of blockchain ledgers.
  • b. Exemplary Hybrid Public-Private Blockchain Ledger Architectures
  • The disclosed embodiments address these and other problems associated with conventional block-ledger architectures in a technical manner, by providing computer-implemented systems and methods that augment a conventional blockchain ledger with a private-master encryption key architecture that, in conjunction with an owner's pair of public and private blockchain keys, selectively encrypt ledger data to protect both a privacy of owners of tracked assets and a confidentiality of existing instruction sets maintained within the blockchain ledger.
  • Further, by incorporating an encrypted rules engine and corresponding list of triggering events (e.g., an event triggers list) into each block of the conventional blockchain ledger architecture (and thus generating a hybrid, public-private blockchain architecture), computer-implemented systems and methods consistent with the disclosed embodiments may perform operations that provide owners or holders tracked assets with recovery options in an event of fraud or malicious activity, while maintaining the public availability and verification characteristic of conventional blockchain ledgers.
  • In certain aspects, discrete data blocks of the conventional blockchain ledgers (e.g., as outlined above in reference to FIG. 2) and of the hybrid blockchain ledgers (e.g., as described in reference to FIG. 3) may include common elements of data that may specify transactions that distribute, transfer, and/or otherwise act upon portions of tracked assets. For example, these common data elements may include, but are not limited to, input data that references one or more prior transactions (e.g., a cryptographic hash of the one or more prior transactions), output data that includes instructions for transferring the tracked asset portion to one or more additional owners (e.g., a quantity or number of units of the tracked asset portion that are subject to the transaction and a public key of the recipient) and further, a digital signature applied to the input and/or output data using a corresponding public key of a current owner of the tracked asset portion. The disclosed embodiments are, however, not limited to exemplary transactions that include a transfer of tracked assets and to the exemplary data elements described above, and in further embodiments, discrete blocks of the hybrid blockchain ledgers may represent any additional or alternate transaction appropriate to the tracked assets, and further, any additional or alternate data appropriate to the tracked assets and to the transaction.
  • In contrast to the conventional blockchain ledgers described above, the disclosed embodiments may establish a “centralized authority” capable of vetting real-time transactions (e.g., distributions, transfers, and/or other actions) involving portions of assets tracked within the exemplary hybrid blockchain ledger architectures described herein, and further, of establishing and maintaining rules (e.g., through a rules engine and corresponding list of triggering events) that facilitate regulatory-based, policy-based, and customer-specified controls of transactions involving the tracked assets (e.g., units of virtual currency, etc.).
  • For example, and as described above, business entity 150 may represent the centralized authority, and one or more computing components of system 150 may perform operations that establish the rules engine and the list of triggering events, which may be stored within a secure data repository (e.g., data repository 144). In some aspects, the generated and stored rules engine may identify one or more rules that regulate a distribution of the tracked assets, an initiation of one or more transactions involving the tracked assets (e.g., a sale, a use of the tracked assets as collateral in a secured transaction etc.), and further, any additional or alternate action involving the tracked assets and/or the hybrid public-private ledger (e.g., processes that generate additional cryptographic key sets for user 110, processes that recover assets racked in the hybrid public-private ledger, etc.). Further, and as described above, the generated and stored list of triggering events may include information that specifies causal relationships between one or more of the established rules and one or more events that trigger an initiation of one or more corresponding regulated distributions, transactions, and/or actions associated with assets tracked within the hybrid public-private ledger (e.g., the triggering events).
  • In some aspects, system 140 may establish one or more of the rules and/or triggering events to reflect regulations and/or policies promulgated by governmental entity, a financial regulator, and/or the centralized authority. For example, system 140 may establish a loss of a private key by user 110 as a “triggering event” that would cause system 140 to perform operations that create a new transaction and generate a new pair of public and private blockchain keys for user 110 in response to a verification of particular authentication credentials. In other aspects, system 140 may establish one or more of the rules and/or triggering events based on information received from user 110 (e.g., as input provided to a web page or other graphical user interface (GUI) presented by client device 104 and provided to system 140). For example, user 110 may specify a particular distribution of tracked assets (e.g., recurring bill payments, distributions to other owners, etc.) in response to an accident involving user 110 and/or user 110's death (e.g., triggering events).
  • In further contrast to the conventional blockchain ledgers described above, one or more computing components of system 140 (e.g., server 142 upon execution of stored instructions) may generate additional cryptographic keys that facilitate the exemplary regulation of transactions (e.g., distributions, transfers, and/or actions) involving assets tracked within the hybrid public-private ledger. By way of example, system 140 may generate a master cryptographic key with which system 140 may encrypt the generated and stored rules engine. In some aspects, system 140 may store copies of the generated master key in a portion of data repository 144 that is not accessible to user 110 (and any other users), thus maintaining a confidence of the generated master key.
  • System 140 may also perform operations that encrypt the generated list of triggering events, either alone or in conjunction with metadata identifying the centralized authority and/or information facilitating a processing of the transaction blocks throughout the hybrid blockchain ledger. In certain aspects, system 140 may also perform operations that generate and maintain additional private cryptographic keys (e.g., a private “crypto” key) associated with each owner associated with the assets tracked within the hybrid blockchain ledger (e.g., users 108, 110, and/or 112) and further, that would enable the owners to decrypt and access the list of triggering events and additionally or alternatively, the metadata identifying the centralized authority. System 140 may store copies of the generated private crypto keys in a portion of data repository 144. Furthermore, system 140 may also perform operations that provide corresponding ones of the private crypto keys to users 108, 110, and/or 112 through secure, non-accessible and/or out-of-band communications.
  • The disclosed embodiments may also be configured to communicate the encrypted and/or hashed rules engine and list of triggering events to owners of and/or user associated with the tracked assets through “in-band” communication processes, such as through an incorporation of the encrypted rules engine and list of triggering events into the transaction blocks of the hybrid blockchain ledger. For example, system 140 may perform operations that hash the encrypted rules engine and list of triggering events into a genesis block of the hybrid blockchain ledger, the contents of which may be incorporated (e.g., by client devices 102, 104, and/or 106, peer systems 160, etc.) into each of the subsequent transaction blocks generated and appended to the hybrid blockchain ledger. In some aspects, by incorporating the hashed and encrypted rules engine and list of triggering events into blocks of the hybrid blockchain ledger, the disclosed embodiments may ensure that the established rules are followed even in an event of actions by malicious parties to disrupt the tracked assets (e.g., instances of Bitcoin™ peeling, etc.)
  • Further, in some instances, the additional private crypto keys held by the owners and/or users (e.g., stored in corresponding ones of client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 and accessible to executable application programs) may enable the owners and/or users to access the encrypted list of triggering events maintained within the hybrid blockchain ledger. The owners and/or user may, through corresponding client devices, view the individual events that, when detected by system 140, could cause system 140 to perform operations that recover, authorize, audit, and/or verify the transaction and/or ownership data included within the hybrid blockchain ledger (e.g., associated with corresponding portions of the tracked assets).
  • In certain aspects, one or more computing components of system 140 may perform operations that modify portions of the stored rules and/or list of triggering events, e.g., in response to changes in regulations and/or policies, in response to additional owner input, etc. In order to access and modify the generated rules engine (and/or the list of triggering events) maintained within the hybrid blockchain ledger, system 140 may leverage the stored master cryptographic key to access and modify the hashed and encrypted rules engine. System 140 may, in certain instances, encrypt and re-hash the modified rules engine and submit the encrypted and hashed modified rules engine to one or more of peer systems 160 for inclusion in a block of the hybrid blockchain ledger. For example, the one or more of peer systems 160 may incorporate the hashed and encrypted modified rules engine into the hybrid blockchain ledger as a special transaction (e.g., a “0” value transaction), such that the hybrid blockchain ledger tracks each change within the modified rules engine.
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of illustrating an exemplary structure 300 of a hybrid, public-private blockchain ledger, which may be generated through the interaction of components of computing environment 100, in accordance with the disclosed embodiments. For example, as described in reference to FIG. 3, users 108, 110, and 112 may be associated with corresponding devices (e.g., client devices 102, 104, and 106), which may be configured to execute one or more stored software applications (e.g., a wallet application) capable of obtaining a current version of a hybrid blockchain ledger from one or more networked computer systems (e.g., one of peer systems 160 configured to “mine” broadcast transactions and update ledgers).
  • Further, in some aspects, and as described above, a system associated with a centralized authority (e.g., system 140 associated with business entity 150) may generate a rules engine that regulate transactions involving the assets tracked by the hybrid blockchain ledger (e.g., distributions, transfers of ownership, other actions, etc.), and further, a list of triggering events that, upon detection by system 140, trigger an initiation of one or more of the distributions, transfers, and/or other actions regulated by the generated rules engine. In additional aspects, and as described above, system 140 may generate a master encryption key (e.g., master key 301 of FIG. 3), and may generate additional private “crypto” keys 302A and 302B, which may be associated with corresponding ones of users 108 and 110. In some aspects, system 140 may maintain master key 301 and/or private crypto keys 302A, 302B, and 302C in a portion of data repository 144 and provide private crypto keys 302A, 302B, and 302C to users 108, 110, and 112 through secure, out-of-band communications. System 140 may, in additional aspects, encrypt the generated rules engine and the generated list of triggering events, and further, perform operations that hash the encrypted rules engine and list of triggering events into a genesis block of the hybrid blockchain ledger (e.g., genesis block 304).
  • In an embodiment, one of the users (e.g., user 108) may own and/or control a portion of the tracked assets. For example, a device associated with user 108 (e.g., client device 102) may execute a stored software application (e.g., a wallet application) capable of obtaining a current version of a hybrid blockchain ledger, including genesis block 304, from one or more networked computer systems (e.g., one of peer systems 160 configured to “mine” broadcast transactions and update ledgers). In some aspects, the current version of a hybrid blockchain ledger may represent a “longest” blockchain ledger that includes a maximum number of discrete “blocks,” which may identify transactions that transfer, distribute, etc., portions of tracked assets among various owners, including user 108.
  • For example, client device 102 may obtain the current hybrid blockchain ledger, and may process the hybrid blockchain ledger to determine that a prior owner transferred ownership of a portion of the tracked assets to user 108 in a corresponding transaction (e.g., transaction 306, schematically illustrated in FIG. 3). As described above, one or more of peer systems 160 may have previously verified, processed, and packed data associated with transaction 306 into a corresponding block of the conventional blockchain using any of the exemplary techniques described above and/or apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art.
  • In some aspects, as illustrated in FIG. 3, data specifying transaction 306 may include input data that references one or more prior transactions (e.g., transactions that transferred ownership of the tracked asset portion to the prior owner), and further, output data that includes instructions for transferring the tracked asset portion to user 108. For example, and as described above, input data consistent with the disclosed embodiments may include, but is not limited to, a cryptographic hash of the one or more prior transactions (e.g., hash 306A), and output data consistent with the disclosed embodiments may include, but is not limited to, a quantity or number of units of the tracked asset portion that are subject to transfer in transaction 306 and a public key 306B of user 108 (Le., the recipient of the tracked asset portion transferred in transaction 306). Further, in some aspects, the transaction data may include a digital signature 306C of the prior owner, which may be applied to hash 306A and public key 306B using a private key of the prior owner through any of a number of techniques apparent to one of skill in the art and appropriate to the conventional blockchain ledger architecture.
  • Further, and in contrast to the conventional blockchain ledger architectures described above, transaction 306 may also include encrypted and/or hashed copies of rules engine 324 and event trigger list 322. In certain aspects, a device of the prior owner (e.g., which may execute one or more software applications) may access genesis block 304 (e.g., from the current version of the hybrid blockchain ledger obtained from one or more of peer systems 160), may parse genesis block 306, and may extract copies of the encrypted and/or hashed rules engine 324 and event trigger list 322. The prior owner's device may transmit to one or more of peer systems 160 along with the hash 306A, public key 306B, and digital signature 306C for verification, processing (e.g., additional cryptographic hashing) and inclusion into a new block of the hybrid blockchain ledger.
  • In an embodiment, user 108 may elect to further transfer that tracked asset portion to an additional user (e.g., user 110). For example, as described above, the one or more software applications executed by client device 102 may cause client device 102 to perform operations that generate input and output data specifying a new transaction (e.g., transaction 308 of FIG. 3) that transfers ownership of the tracked asset portion from user 108 to user 110, and further, that transmit the generated data to one or more of peer systems 160 for verification, processing (e.g., additional cryptographic hashing) and inclusion into a new block of the hybrid blockchain ledger.
  • For example, data specifying transaction 308 may include, but is not limited to, a cryptographic hash 308A of prior transaction 306, a quantity or number of units of the tracked asset portion that are subject to transfer in transaction 308, and a public key of the recipient (e.g., public key 308B of user 110). Further, in some aspects, the data specifying transaction 308 may include a digital signature 308C of the user 108, which may be applied to hash 308A and public key 308B using a private key 308D of user 108 using any of the exemplary techniques described above. Further, and by way of example, the presence of user 108's public key within transaction data included within the conventional blockchain ledger may enable various devices and systems (e.g., client devices 102, 104, and/or 106, peer systems 160, etc.) to verify the user 108's digital signature 308C, as applied to data specifying transaction 308.
  • Additionally, and as described above, client device 102 may also parse data specifying prior transaction 306 (e.g., as obtained from the current version of the hybrid blockchain ledger) and extract encrypted and/or hashed copies of rules engine 324 and event trigger list 322. In certain aspects, client device 102 may append the encrypted and/or hashed copies of rules engine 324 and event trigger list 322 to the data specifying transaction 308 (e.g., cryptographic hash 308A, public key 308B, and digital signature 308C), and transmit the data specifying transaction 308 to one or more of peer systems 160 for verification, processing (e.g., additional cryptographic hashing) and inclusion into a new block of the hybrid blockchain ledger.
  • Further, and as described above, private crypto key 302A may enable client device 102 (e.g., associated with user 108) to access encrypted event trigger list 322 upon extracted from the hybrid blockchain ledger, as described above. In some embodiments, private crypto key 302A may provide client device 102 with read-only access to the encrypted event trigger list 322. In some aspects, client device 102 may obtain private crypto key 302A from system 140 using secured out-of-band communications, and additionally or alternatively, as input provided by user 108 through a web page or other graphical user interface (GUI) presented by client device 104.
  • In an embodiment, ownership of the tracked asset portion may be transferred from user 108 to user 110 upon verification and publication of the data specifying transaction 308 within a corresponding block of the hybrid blockchain ledger by peer systems 160. In further embodiments, and as described above, user 110 may elect to further transfer that tracked asset portion to yet another user (e.g., user 112). For example, as described above, the one or more software applications executed by client device 104 may cause client device 104 to perform operations that generate input and output data specifying a new transaction (e.g., transaction 310 of FIG. 3) that transfers ownership of the tracked asset portion from user 110 to user 112, and further, that transmit the generated data to one or more of peer systems 160 for verification, processing (e.g., additional cryptographic hashing) and inclusion into a new block of the hybrid blockchain ledger.
  • For example, data specifying transaction 310 may include, but is not limited to, a cryptographic hash 310A of prior transaction 308, a quantity or number of units of the tracked asset portion that are subject to transfer in transaction 310, and a public key 310B of user 112. Further, in some aspects, the data specifying transaction 310 may include a digital signature 310C of the user 110, which may be applied to hash 310A and public key 310B using a private key 310D of user 110, as described above. Additionally, and by way of example, the presence of user 110's public key 308B within transaction data included within the hybrid blockchain ledger may enable various devices and systems (e.g., client devices 102, 104, and/or 106, peer systems 160, etc.) to verify the user 110's digital signature 310C, as applied to data specifying transaction 310.
  • Additionally, and as described above, client device 104 may also parse data specifying prior transaction 308 (e.g., as obtained from the current version of the hybrid blockchain ledger) and extract encrypted and/or hashed copies of rules engine 324 and event trigger list 322. In certain aspects, client device 104 may append the encrypted and/or hashed copies of rules engine 324 and event trigger list 322 to the data specifying transaction 310 (e.g., cryptographic hash 310A, public key 310B, and digital signature 310C), and transmit the data specifying transaction 310 to one or more of peer systems 160 for verification, processing (e.g., additional cryptographic hashing) and inclusion into a new block of the hybrid blockchain ledger. In an embodiment, ownership of the tracked asset portion may be transferred from user 110 to user 112 upon verification and publication of the data specifying transaction 310 within a corresponding block of the hybrid blockchain ledger by peer systems 160.
  • Further, and as described above, private crypto key 302B may enable client device 104 (e.g., associated with user 110) to decrypt event trigger list 322 upon extraction from the hybrid blockchain ledger, as described above. In some aspects, client device 104 may obtain private crypto key 302B from system 140 using secured out-of-band communications, and additionally or alternatively, as input provided by user 110 through a web page or other graphical user interface (GUI) presented by client device 104. In other aspects, client device 104 may identify and extract private crypto key 302B from a portion of the hybrid blockchain ledger obtained from peer systems 160 (e.g., as a secure in-band communication).
  • In the embodiments described above, system 140 may establish and maintain rules (e.g., through a rules engine and corresponding list of triggering events) that facilitate regulatory-based, policy-based, and customer-specified controls of transactions involving assets tracked within a hybrid blockchain ledger. For example, client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 may generate transaction data that includes rules engine and list of triggering events, and one or more of peer systems 160 may embed the generated transaction data into blocks of the hybrid blockchain ledger for reference in subsequent transactions. Further, in certain aspects, system 140 may be configured to detect an occurrence of an event (e.g., based on data received from client devices 102, 104, and/or 106, etc.), may determine whether the list of triggering events includes the detected event, and when triggering event list includes the detected event, perform one or more operations consistent with an established rule that references the detected event, as described below in reference to FIG. 4.
  • FIG. 4 is a flowchart of an exemplary process 400 for automatically performing event-based operations on assets tracked within a hybrid blockchain ledger in accordance with disclosed embodiments. In an embodiment, a centralized authority may be assigned to establish regulatory-based, policy-based, and customer-specified control over assets tracked within the hybrid blockchain ledger. In some aspects, tracked assets consistent with the disclosed embodiments may include, but are not limited to, units of a virtual currency or a crypto-currency, units of financial instruments held by one or more owners, and physical assets utilized by one or more individuals and/or entities. In some aspects, a computer system associated with the centralized authority (e.g., system 140 associated with business entity 150) may execute one more stored application programs to cause system 140 to recover, authorize, audit, and/or verify an ownership of at least a portion of the tracked assets and/or transactions involving the tracked assets based on established and maintained rules.
  • In one aspect, one or more computing components of system 140 may generate a rules engine and a list of triggering events, which may be stored within a portion of data repository 144 (e.g., in step 402). For example, the generated and stored rules engine may identify one or more rules that regulate a distribution of the tracked assets, an initiation of one or more transactions involving the tracked assets (e.g., a sale, a use of the tracked assets as collateral in a secured transaction etc.), and further, any additional or alternate action involving the tracked assets and/or the hybrid public-private ledger (e.g., processes that generate additional cryptographic key sets for user 110, processes that recover assets tracked in the hybrid public-private ledger, etc.). Further, and as described above, the generated and stored list of triggering events may include information that specifies causal relationships between one or more of the established rules and one or more events that trigger an initiation of one or more corresponding regulated distributions, transfers, and/or actions involving assets tracked within the hybrid public-private ledger (e.g., the triggering events).
  • In certain instances, system 140 may establish, in step 402, one or more of the rules and/or triggering events to reflect regulations and/or policies promulgated by governmental entity, a financial regulator, and/or the centralized authority. For example, system 140 may establish a loss of a private key by user 110 as a “triggering event” that would cause system 140 to perform operations that generate a new pair of public and private blockchain keys for user 110 in response to a verification of particular authentication credentials. Further, and by way of example, system 140 may deem a documented theft of a portion of the tracked assets a “triggering event” that would cause system 140 to perform operations recover the stolen portion of the tracked assets and generate a new pair of public and private blockchain keys for user 110.
  • In other instances, system 140 may establish, in step 402, one or more of the rules and/or triggering events based on information received from user 110 (e.g., as input provided to a web page or other graphical user interface (GUI) presented by client device 104 and provided to system 140). For example, user 110 may specify a particular distribution of tracked assets (e.g., recurring bill payments, etc.) in response to an accident involving user 110 and/or user 110's death (e.g., triggering events). The disclosed embodiments are, however, not limited to these exemplary triggering events and corresponding rules, and in further embodiments, system 140 may establish any additional or alternate rules and/or triggering events appropriate to the tracked assets, to business entity 150, and further, to users 108, 110, and 112.
  • Further, one or more computing components of system 140 may generate additional cryptographic keys that facilitate the exemplary regulation of transactions (e.g., distributions, transfers, and/or actions) involving assets tracked within the hybrid public-private ledger (e.g., in step 404). By way of example, in step 404, system 140 may generate a master cryptographic key with which system 140 may encrypt the generated and stored rules engine, as described above. In some aspects, system 140 may store copies of the generated master key in a portion of data repository 144 that is not accessible to user 110 (and any other users), thus maintaining a confidence of the generated master key.
  • Further, in step 404, system 140 may also perform operations that generate and maintain additional private cryptographic keys (e.g., private “crypto” keys) associated with each owner of the assets tracked within the hybrid blockchain ledger. As described above, the generated private crypto keys may enable a device of each owner to decrypt and access the list of triggering events and additionally or alternatively, metadata identifying the centralized authority. System 140 may store copies of the generated private crypto keys in a portion of data repository 144. Furthermore, system 140 may also perform operations that provide corresponding ones of the private crypto keys to users 108, 110, and/or 112 through secure, non-accessible and/or out-of-band communications.
  • In step 406, system 140 may perform operations that encrypt the generated and stored rules engine (e.g., using the master encryption key) and further, that encrypt the generated and stored list of triggering events (e.g., using any of the exemplary techniques described above that facilitate decryption using the private crypto keys). For example, system 140 may perform operations in step 406 that hash the encrypted rules engine and list of triggering events into a genesis block of the hybrid blockchain ledger, the contents of which may be incorporated (e.g., by client devices 102, 104, and/or 106, peer systems 160, etc.) into each of the subsequent transaction blocks generated and appended to the hybrid blockchain ledger. In some aspects, by incorporating the hashed and encrypted rules engine and list of triggering events into the blocks of the hybrid blockchain ledger, the disclosed embodiments may ensure that the established rules are followed even in an event of actions by malicious parties that disrupt the tracked assets (e.g., instances of Bitcoin™ peeling, etc.).
  • Further, in some embodiments, one or more computing components of system 140 may detect an occurrence of an event involving a portion of the tracked assets, an owner of a portion of the tracked assets, and/or a transaction involving a portion of the detected assets (e.g., in step 408). For example, system 140 may receive data from client device 104 that indicates user 110 lost a corresponding private blockchain key associated with a portion of the tracked assets. In other instances, system 140 may detect an event in step 408 based on data received across network 120 from one or more systems associated with local, state, and/or federal governmental entities (e.g., data from a law enforcement system notifying business entity 150 of a theft of a portion of the tracked assets, data from a local government confirming a death of an owner of a portion of the tracked assets, etc.). Further, in additional instances, system 140 may detect an occurrence of an event based on one or more sensors and devices communicatively connected to network 120 and capable of transmitting data to system 140. The disclosed embodiments are, however, not limited to these exemplary events, and in further embodiments, system 140 may be configured to detect any additional or alternate event appropriate to the tracked assets and to the components of computing environment 100.
  • System 140 may also be configured to access the stored list of triggering events (e.g., within database 144), and may determine whether the list of triggering events includes the detected event (e.g., in step 410). If system 140 were to identify the detected event within the list of triggering events (e.g., step 410; YES), system 140 may establish the detected event as a triggering event, and may access the encrypted rules engine using the master encryption key (e.g., in step 412). System 140 may further identify, within the accessed rules engine, one or more of the established rules that are causally related to the detected triggering event (e.g., in step 414). Further, in some aspects, system 140 may be configured to perform one or more operations, either individually or in sequence, that are consistent with the identified rules (e.g., in step 416). For example, the accessed rules engine may include information identifying the one or more operations associated with the identified rules. In other instances, at least one of the performed operations may represent a default operation associated with the identified rules (e.g., a specific type of authentication required before performing the one or more operations on behalf of user 110).
  • In one embodiment, one or more computing components of system 140 may also determine whether to update portions of the generated rules engine and/or list of triggering events (e.g., in step 418). For example, system 140 may identify an update or modification to one or more regulations and/or policies promulgated by governmental entity, a financial regulator, and/or the centralized authority. In other instances, system 140 may obtain, from client device 104, information updating a rule and/or triggering event previously established by system 140 based on input received from user 110 (e.g., through a web page and/or GUI presented by client device 104).
  • If system 140 determines to update portions of the generated rules engine and/or list of triggering events (e.g., step 418; YES), system 140 may access appropriate portions of the rules engine and/or list or triggering events in step 420 (e.g., using the master encryption key and/or any of the exemplary techniques described above), and may modify the appropriate portions of the rules engine and/or list of triggering events to reflect the updated regulations, policies, user-specified rules, and/or user-specified events (e.g., in step 422). In some instances, system 140 may modify the accessed rules engine by adding a new rule, deleting an existing rule, modifying one or more parameters of an existing rule, and/or modifying one or more operations associated with an existing rule. In other instances, system 140 may modify the accessed list of event triggers to add a new triggering event, delete an existing triggering event, and/or add or modify parameters associated with an existing triggering event.
  • In some aspects, system 140 may encrypt and re-hash the modified rules engine and/or list of triggering events, and may submit the encrypted and hashed modified rules engine and/or list of triggering events to one or more of peer systems 160 for inclusion in a block of the hybrid blockchain ledger (e.g., in step 424). For example, one or more of peer systems 160 may incorporate the hashed and encrypted modified rules engine and/or list of triggering events into the hybrid blockchain ledger as a special transaction (e.g., a “0” value transaction), such that the hybrid blockchain ledger tracks each change within the modified rules engine and/or list of triggering event Exemplary process 400 is then complete in step 426.
  • Referring back to step 418, if system 140 were to determine that no modification to the rules engine and/or the list of triggering events is warranted (e.g., step 418; NO), exemplary process 400 may pass forward to step 426, and exemplary process 400 is complete. Further, and in reference to step 410, if system 140 were to determine that the list of triggering events fails to include the detected event (e.g., step 410; NO), exemplary process 400 may pass forward to step 418, and system 140 may determine whether to update portions of the rules engine and/or list of triggering events using any of the exemplary processes described above.
  • In the embodiments described above, and through the generation of the master cryptographic key and management of the generated rules engine and corresponding list of triggering events, system 140 may perform operations that recover, authorize, audit, and/or verify an ownership of at least a portion of the tracked assets and/or transactions involving the tracked assets. In certain aspects, the operations performed by system 140, which utilize hybrid blockchain ledgers consistent with the disclosed embodiments, would not be possible using the conventional blockchain ledgers described above.
  • For example, user 110 may be an avid user of a virtual or crypto-currency (e.g., Bitcoin™), user 110 may store a private key (e.g., private key 310D) on a laptop computer (e.g., client device 104) to generate and confirm Bitcoin™ transactions. In one instance, user 110 may unfortunately drop the laptop into a swimming pool while confirming a Bitcoin™ with private key 310D, and upon retrieved from the swimming pool, user 110 may establish that the laptop no longer functions and that data on the laptop is not recoverable.
  • Through a device in communication with network 120 (e.g., user 110's smartphone), user 110 may access a conventional blockchain ledger, such as those conventional architectures outlined above, and determine that the Bitcoin™ transfer was incomplete when user 110 dropped the laptop into the swimming pool. Further, user 110 may determine that the Bitcoin™ transaction represents an orphaned block within the conventional blockchain ledger, and the Bitcoins™ associated with the orphaned block are unrecoverable and permanently lost.
  • In other aspects, user 110 may access a hybrid blockchain ledger (e.g., as described above in reference to FIG. 3), and may determine that the Bitcoin™ transfer was incomplete when user 110 dropped the laptop into the swimming pool. In an embodiment, however, user 110 may provide input to the smartphone identifying the unrecoverable private key, which the smartphone may transmit to system 140 across network 120. In some aspects, system 140 may receive the transmitted message (e.g., in step 408), may determine that user 110's loss of private key 310D represents a triggering event (e.g., step 410; YES), and may perform operations that authenticate user 110's identity and that regenerate a pair of private and public blockchain keys for user 110, which system 140 may transmit to user 110 through any of the secure non-accessible processes outlined above (e.g., in steps 412, 414, and 416). Upon receipt of the newly generated private key, user 110 may access the hybrid blockchain ledger (e.g., through the smartphone) and confirm the Bitcoin transfer to recover the crypto-currency.
  • Further, and by way of example, user 110 may access a wallet application executed by client device 104, and further, may determine that the mobile wallet is missing a number Bitcoins™. User 110 may suspect that the loss of the Bitcoins™ represents a theft by a malicious entity, and through a complex search of a corresponding blockchain ledger (e.g., conventional blockchain ledgers described above, and/or hybrid blockchain ledgers consistent with the disclosed embodiments), user 110 may trace the theft of the Bitcoins™ to a single transaction within a corresponding block. User 110 may contact the police e-crime unit and report the theft, and the police may confirm the accuracy of user 110's allegations regarding the theft.
  • User 110 may, in some instances, be capable of processing the conventional blockchain ledgers described above to determine an address of the malicious entity responsible for the theft. The decentralized and anonymous nature of conventional blockchain ledgers may, however, prevent user 110 from identifying the malicious entity, and the stolen Bitcoins™ may remain permanently unrecoverable.
  • The disclosed embodiments may, however, address the deficiencies of conventional blockchain ledgers and provide user 110 with recourse to recover the stolen Bitcoins™. For example, the police e-crime unit may notify the centralized authority of the theft of user 110's Bitcoins™ and destination address associated with the malicious entity (e.g., through a message transmitted to system 140 and received, e.g., in step 408). System 140 may determine that the theft of the Bitcoins™ represents a triggering event included within the generated list (e.g., step 410; YES), and may perform operations that automatically create a request for a new transaction that returns the stolen Bitcoins™ to user 110 using any of the exemplary techniques described above (e.g., in steps 412, 414, and 416). System 140 may also perform operations that regenerate a pair of private and public blockchain keys for user 110, which system 140 may transmit to user 110 through any of the secure non-accessible processes outlined above (e.g., in steps 412, 414, and 416).
  • The hybrid blockchain ledger architectures described above may add a level of sophistication to conventional mechanisms for trustless communication by allowing transactions involving tracked assets to occur according to common transaction rules. Further, the hybrid blockchain ledger architectures consistent with the disclosed embodiments may allow owners of the tracked assets to project authority over the tracked assets by establishing customized rules for transaction authorization. Furthermore, and in contrast to the conventional techniques described above, the hybrid blockchain ledger architecture may enable a centralized authority (e.g., business entity 150 associated with system 140) to recover, authorize, audit, and/or verify an ownership of at least a portion of the tracked assets and/or transactions involving the tracked assets based on established and maintained rules.
  • In the embodiments described above, and through the generation of a master cryptographic key and management of a generated rules engine and corresponding list of triggering events, system 140, acting as a centralized authority, may perform operations that recover, authorize, audit, and/or verify an ownership of at least a portion of the tracked assets and/or transactions involving the tracked assets. In some aspects, and as outlined above, tracked assets consistent with the disclosed embodiments may include, but are not limited to, units of a virtual currency or a crypto-currency, units of financial instruments held by one or more owners, and physical assets utilized by one or more individuals and/or entities
  • In additional aspects, the exemplary hybrid blockchain algorithms described above may track a location, performance, usage, and/or status one or more additional client devices (e.g., “connected devices) disposed within computing environment 100 (not shown in FIG. 1), which may be configured to establish communications with client devices 102, 104, and 106, and further, with system 140, using any of the communications protocols outlined above. For example, client device 102, 104, and 106, system 140, and the connected devices may be uniquely identifiable and addressable within communications network 120, and may be capable of transmitting and/or receiving data across the established communications sessions. Further, in some aspects, system 140 may be configured to establish the communications sessions with one or more of the connected devices, and to exchange data with the connected devices autonomously and without input or intervention from a user of client device 104 (e.g., user 110).
  • In some aspects, the connected devices may be implemented as a processor-based and/or computer-based device that includes one or more processors and tangible, computer-readable memories, as described above in reference to client devices 102, 104, and 106. By way of example, connected devices consistent with the disclosed embodiments may include, but are not limited to mobile communications devices (e.g., mobile telephones, smart phones, tablet computers, etc.) and other devices capable of communicating with client device 104 (e.g., internet-ready televisions, internet-ready appliances and lighting fixtures, computing devices disposed within motor vehicles, etc.).
  • Further, in additional aspects, the connected devices may include sensor devices in communication with the one or more processors and the memories. The sensor devices may, in some aspects, be configured to monitor the usage, location, status, etc., of corresponding ones of the connected devices, and may be configured to provide sensor data to corresponding ones of the processors. In some aspects, the sensor data may include, but is not limited to, data identifying a current state, data specifying intended and/or unintended interaction with one or more of users 108, 110, and/or 112 (e.g., through client devices 102, 104, and/or 106), inadvertent interactions (e.g., drops, other accidental interactions, etc.), and data describing any additional or alternate characteristics of the connected devices capable of being monitored and quantified by the sensor devices.
  • In other aspects, computing environment 100 may include one or more additional computing systems in communication with the connected devices using any of the communications protocols outlined above. The additional computing system may, in an embodiments, include one or more sensor devices capable of monitoring a location, performance, usage, and/or status of the connected devices, which may establish a “sensor network” capable of monitoring the connected devices. These additional computing systems may provide the additional sensor data to the connected devices using any of the communications protocols outlined above, either at regular intervals or in response to requests from the connected devices. In some instances, the additional computing systems may be implemented as processor-based and/or computer-based systems consistent with the exemplary systems described above.
  • In further aspects, the connected devices may be configured to transmit portions of the sensor data (e.g., as detected by on-board sensor devices and/or received from the sensor network) to client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 and additionally or alternatively, to system 140, using any of the communications protocols outlined above. By way of example, the sensor data may characterize an interaction between the connected devices and users 108, 110, and 112 (e.g., the monitored data may represent usage data indicative of a consumption of one or more services provided by the connected devices), and the connected devices may transmit the usage data for users 108, 110, and/or 112 to corresponding ones of client devices 102, 104, and/or 106, which may store the received usage data in a corresponding data repository. In further aspects, the connected devices may also transmit the usage data to system 140, along with information linking specific elements of the usage data to corresponding users and/or client devices (e.g., user 110's usage data may be linked to an identifier of user 110 and/or of client device 104). In certain aspects, client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 may also incorporate corresponding portions of the monitored data, e.g., as received from the connected devices, into hybrid blockchain ledgers consistent with the disclosed embodiments in order to record, track, and publicly monitor the location, performance, usage, and/or status of the connected devices.
  • III. Systems and Methods for Detecting and Resolving Data Inconsistencies among Networked Devices Using Hybrid Private-Public Ledgers
  • In various embodiments described above, computer systems of centralized authority (e.g., a financial institution, etc.) augment conventional, decentralized blockchain ledger architectures by selectively encrypt ledger data to protect both a privacy of owners of tracked assets and a confidentiality of existing instruction sets maintained within the blockchain ledger. Further, by incorporating an encrypted rules engine and corresponding list of triggering events (e.g., an event trigger list) into each block of the conventional blockchain ledger architectures (and thus generating a hybrid, public-private blockchain ledger architecture), computer implemented systems and methods consistent with the disclosed embodiments may perform operations that, for example, provide owners or holders of tracked assets with recovery options in an event of fraud or malicious activity, while maintaining the public availability and verification characteristic of conventional blockchain ledgers.
  • Further, and consistent with the disclosed embodiments, client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 may execute stored software applications (e.g., mobile applications provided by the centralized authority), which may cause client devices 102, 104, and/or 106 to transmit data identifying transactions involving held assets to one or more computer systems across network 120 (e.g., one or more of peer systems 160). As described above, peer systems 160 may act as “miners” for hybrid blockchain ledgers consistent with the disclosed embodiments, and may competitively process the received transaction data (either alone or in conjunction with other data) to generate additional ledger blocks, which may be appended to the hybrid blockchain ledgers and distributed across peer systems 160 (e.g., through a peer-to-peer network) and to other connected devices of environment 100 (e.g., across network 120).
  • a. Exemplary Processes for Establishing and Enforcing Contractual Terms and Obligations Using Hybrid, Blockchain Ledger Data Structures
  • In some embodiments, one or more of the exemplary hybrid blockchain ledger data structures described above may provide a centralized and transparent mechanism that records obligations enforceable on various parties to a contractual agreement, and further, that tracks data indicative of one or more transactions initiated by the contracting parties in partial or total satisfaction of the recorded obligations. Additionally, given the transparent and centralized nature of these exemplary hybrid blockchain ledger data structures, the disclosed embodiments may enable a system of a clearinghouse entity to access the portions of the hybrid blockchain ledger data, reconcile assets, funds, and other tracked data against the recorded obligations and further, identify and media conflicts between the various parties.
  • For example, a first party (e.g., user 108) may engage with a second party (e.g., user 110) to renovate a portion of user 108's home in exchange for an agreed-upon sum (e.g., $15,000). In certain aspects, users 108 and 110 may establish terms that require payment of the agreed-upon sum not on once, but in a first installment prior to initiation of the renovation (e.g., an initial payment of $5,000 for supplies), and in two subsequent installments contingent upon user 108's approval of user 110's progress in the renovations. For example, user 108 may agree to pay $5,000 on or before November 15th, may agree to pay a first $5,000 installment on December 1st in response to user 110's satisfactory completion of 50% of the renovation, and further, may agree to pay a second $5,000 installment on December 15th in response to user 110's satisfactory completion of the remainder of the renovation.
  • In some instances, devices associated with users 108 and 110 (e.g., client devices 102 and 104) may execute software applications (e.g., one or more “smart contract” applications) that establish, facilitate, verify, and/or enforce the negotiation or performance of a contractual agreement (e.g., that establish and implement a “smart contract” between the parties). In certain aspects, user 108 may provide, to client device 102 as input to a graphical user interface (GUI) generated by the executed start contract applications, data that, among other things, identifies the contracting parties (e.g., users 108 and 110), the contracted activity (e.g., the renovation of user 108's home), user 108's obligations under the contractual agreement (e.g., the initial $5,000 payment on November 15th and the $5,000 installment payments due on December 1st and December 15th in exchange for satisfactory completion of portions of the renovation), and user 110's scheduled performance under the contractual agreement (e.g., to initiate work on by November 15th, to complete 50% of the renovation by December 1st, and to complete renovations by December 15th). Additionally or alternatively, user 108 may provide input that identifies one or more financial services accounts held by user 108 at a first financial institution (e.g., a checking, savings, and/or investment account, a home equity line-of-credit, etc.), upon which user 108 may draw to service the financial terms of the financial agreement,
  • Client device 108 may, for example, package the inputted data into one or more data structures for storage in a locally accessible data repository or within secure, remote data repository accessible across network 120 (e.g., a cloud-based data repository). In further instances, client device 108 may transmit portions of the inputted data, including, but not limited to, data that identifies the contracting parties, the contracted activity, user 108's obligations under the contractual agreement, and user 110's scheduled performance, to a system maintained by the first financial institution (e.g., system 140). As described below, system 140, acting as a rules authority, may execute software applications that decrypt, access, and update portions of an encrypted list of triggering events (e.g., event triggers list 322) and an encrypted rules engine (e.g., rules engine 324) to include portions of the transmitted data, and may establish and maintain a new ledger block of a hybrid, blockchain ledger data structure to record and track the terms of the contractual agreement, as input into client device 102 by user 108.
  • For example, as described above, system 140 may access copies of the encrypted list of triggering events and the encrypted rules engine (e.g., as stored locally in data repository 144 and/or as obtained from a latest, longest version of the hybrid, blockchain ledger data structure), and may decrypt the encrypted list of triggering events and the encrypted rules engine using any of the exemplary techniques described above. In some aspects, system 140 may execute software applications that modify and/or augment the decrypted list of triggering events to include data identifying user 108's scheduled payments (e.g., November 15th, December 1st, and December 15th) and the conditions facilitating on one or more of these scheduled payments (e.g., 50% completion on December 1st and 10% completion on December 15th).
  • Additionally, and in certain aspects, system 140 may modify and/or augment the decrypted rules list to include one or more operations associated with the scheduled payments and/or facilitating conditions. For example, system 140 may generate and include, within the decrypted rules data, additional rules data identifying operations that initiate an electronic funds transfer of $5,000 from an account of user 108 to an account of user 110 on November 15th. Further, and by way of example, system 140 may include, within the decrypted rules data, operations that confirm a completion of 50% the renovation on or before December 1st (e.g., based on an electronic confirmation digitally signed by user 108's private key), and that initiate an electronic funds transfer of the $5,000 installment on December 1st in response to the confirmation. Similarly, in some instances, system 140 may include, within the decrypted rules data, operations that confirm a completion of the renovation on or before December 15th (e.g., based on an electronic confirmation digitally signed by user 108's private key), and that initiate an electronic funds transfer of the final $5,000 installment on December 15th in response to the confirmation.
  • System 140 may encrypt the modified list of triggering events and the modified rules engine using any of the exemplary techniques described above, and may store the encrypted list of triggering events and the encrypted rules engine in a locally accessible data repository (e.g., data repository 144) and/or in a remote data repository accessible across network 120 (e.g., a cloud-based data repository). Further, and in certain aspects, system 140 may execute software applications to establish and maintain a new ledger block of the exemplary hybrid blockchain ledger that records data indicative of the terms of and parties to the contractual agreement (e.g., data identifying the contracting parties, the contracted activity, user 108's obligations under the contractual agreement, user 110's scheduled performance, etc.), the encrypted list of triggering events, and the encrypted rules engine using any of the exemplary techniques described above,
  • For example, and as described above, system 140 may append the new ledger block to the latest, longest version of the hybrid blockchain ledger, which may be distributed to one or more additional devices and systems operating within environment 100. Additionally, in some aspects, system 140 may append the new ledger block to one or more sidechains or other blockchain-ledger-based data structures that track terms and conditions of the contractual agreement.
  • In additional aspects, similar to those described above, user 110 may provide, to client device 104 as input to a GUI generated by the executed start contract applications, data that among other things, identifies the contracting parties (e.g., users 108 and 110), the contracted activity (e.g., the renovation of user 108's home), user 110's obligations under the contractual agreement (e.g., initiate renovations on or before November 15th, complete 50% of the renovations to user 108's satisfaction on or before December 1st, and complete the renovations to user 108's satisfaction on or before December 15th), and user 108's required performance under the terms of the contractual agreement (e.g., the initial $5,000 payment on November 15th and the $5,000 installment payments due on December 1st and December 15th in exchange for satisfactory completion of portions of the renovation). Additionally or alternatively, user 110 may provide input that identifies one or more financial services accounts held by user 110 at a second financial institution (e.g., a checking, savings, and/or investment account, a business account, etc.) into which the proceeds of the contractual agreement may be deposited,
  • Client device 104 may, in some instances, package the inputted data into one or more data structures for storage in a locally accessible data repository or within secure, remote data repository accessible across network 120 (e.g., a cloud-based data repository). In further instances, client device 104 may transmit portions of the inputted data, including, but not limited to, data that identifies the contracting parties, the contracted activity, user 110's obligations under the contractual agreement, and user 108's scheduled performance, to a system maintained by the second financial institution (e.g., system 141). As described below, system 141, acting as a rules authority, may execute software applications that decrypt, access, and update portions of an encrypted list of triggering events(e.g., event triggers list 322) and an encrypted rules engine (e.g., rules engine 324) to include portions of the transmitted data, and may establish and maintain a new ledger block of a hybrid, blockchain ledger data structure to record and track the terms of the contractual agreement, as input into client device 104 by user 110.
  • For example, as described above, system 141 may access a copies of the encrypted list of triggering events and the encrypted rules engine (e.g., as stored locally in data repository 145 and/or as obtained from a latest, longest version of the hybrid, blockchain ledger data structure), and may decrypt the encrypted list of triggering events and the encrypted rules engine using any of the exemplary techniques described above. In some aspects, system 141 may execute software applications that modify and/or augment the decrypted list of triggering events to include data identifying performance milestones that would result in receipt of payment (e.g., initiation of renovations on or by November 15th, satisfactory completion of 50% of the renovations on December 1st, and satisfactory completion of all renovations on December 15th),
  • Additionally, and in certain aspects, system 140 may modify and/or augment the decrypted rules list to include one or more operations associated with the scheduled payments and/or facilitating conditions. For example, system 140 may generate and include within the decrypted rules data identifying operations that confirm receipt of an electronic funds transfer of $5,000 from an account of user 103 on November 15th (e.g., prior to initiating renovations). Further, and by way of example, system 141 may include, within the decrypted rules data, rules data confirming a satisfactory completion of 50% the renovation on or before December 1st (e.g., based on an electronic confirmation digitally signed by user 108's private key), and confirming receipt of an electronic funds transfer of the $5,000 installment on December 1st. Similarly, in some instances, system 141 may include, within the decrypted rules data, rules data confirming a satisfactory completion of the renovation on or before December 15th (e.g., based on an electronic confirmation digitally signed by user 105's private key), and confirming receipt of an electronic funds transfer of the final $5,000 installment on December 15th.
  • Using any of the exemplary techniques described above, system 141 may encrypt the modified list of triggering events and the modified rules engine, and may store the encrypted list of triggering events and the encrypted rules engine in a locally accessible data repository (e.g., data repository 145) and/or in a remote data repository accessible across network 120 (e.g., a cloud-based data repository). Further, and in certain aspects, system 141 may execute software applications to establish and maintain a new ledger block of the exemplary hybrid blockchain ledger that records data indicative of the terms of and parties to the contractual agreement (e.g., data identifying the contracting parties, the contracted activity, user 110's obligations under the contractual agreement, user 108's scheduled performance, etc.), the encrypted list of triggering events, and the encrypted rules engine using any of the exemplary techniques described above.
  • For example, and as described above, system 141 may append the new ledger block to the latest, longest version of the hybrid blockchain ledger, which may be distributed to one or more additional devices and systems operating within environment 100. Additionally or alternatively, system 140 may append the new ledger block to one or more sidechains or other blockchain-ledger-based data structures that track terms and conditions of the contractual agreement.
  • Further, and by way of example,the new ledger blocks may be structured to include, among other things: a block header (which identifies an address of a prior block); an identifier of the corresponding one of system 140, system 141, and/or peer systems 160 that created the additional ledger block; a rules header that includes a rules associate key (e.g., that associates a rule to the Internet-connected device); an encrypted list of event triggers and an encrypted rules engine; a header for received transaction data; and the received transaction data written into the hybrid, blockchain data structure, as described above.
  • In certain aspects, the disclosed embodiments may enable system 140 (e.g., maintained by the first financial institution of user 108) and system 141 (e.g., maintained by the second financial institution of user 110) to establish and maintain distinct ledger blocks within the hybrid blockchain ledger data structure (and/or one or more sidechain data structures) that record terms of the contractual agreement provided by user 108 and by user 110. By memorializing these contractual terms in corresponding ledger blocks, which include encrypted lists of event triggers accessible by corresponding ones of the contracting parties (e.g., crypto keys 302A and 302B, as described above), the disclosed embodiments may enable each of the contracting parties to access the hybrid blockchain ledger data structures and confirm their understanding and interpretation of the mutually agreed-upon terms.
  • Further, one or more of the exemplary hybrid blockchain ledger data structures described above may enable client devices 102 and 104, and additionally or alternatively, systems 140 and 141, to monitor and publicly record data indicative of activities by users 108 and 110 that partially satisfy one or more of the obligations set forth in the contractual agreement between users 108 and 110. In other aspects, as described below, computer systems maintained by a neutral third party (e.g., system 146 of clearinghouse entity 150) may access one or more data blocks of the exemplary hybrid blockchain ledger data structures described above, and may reconcile portions of the recorded contractual terms and conditions (e.g., as provided by users 108 and 110) and further, mediate disputes between users 108 and 110 in an open and transparent manner.
  • For example, as described above, client device 102 may execute one or more software applications (e.g., one or more of the smart contract applications described above) that access one or more portions of stored contractual data (e.g., as input by user 108, above) and determine that the contractual agreement requires an initial transfer of $5,000 to an account held by user 110 on November 1st to initiate the agreed-upon renovations. The executed software applications may, for example, cause client device 102 to perform operations that transfer $5,000 in virtual currency from a mobile wallet maintained by client device 102 to a corresponding mobile wallet of user 110 (e.g., as maintained by a mobile wallet application executed by client device 104) using any of the exemplary techniques described above.
  • In some aspects, client device 102 may initiate the transfer (e.g., from user 108's account to user 110's account) by establishing a peer-to-peer communications (P2P) session with client device 104 (e.g., using near-field communications (NFC) protocols, Bluetooth™ communications protocols, etc.), and one or more applications programs executed by client devices 102 and 104 (e.g., mobile wallet applications, etc.) may exchange data effecting the transfer of the $5,000 installment without recourse to the first or second financial institutions. In other aspects, and consistent with the disclosed embodiments, client device 102 may perform operations that initiate an electronic transfer of funds from an account held by user 108 at the first financial institution to an account held by user 110 at the second financial institution (e.g., through appropriate API calls) and additionally or alternatively, receive input from user 108 indicative of a payment of the $5,000 installment in cash or by check. The disclosed embodiments are, however, not limited to these exemplary transfer protocols, and in additional aspects, user 108 and/or client device 102 may initiate a transfer of the $5,000 installment using any additional or alternate techniques apparent and appropriate to users 108 and 110.
  • Additionally, client devices 102 and/or 104 may generate data indicative of the initiated transfer of the $5,000 installment payment, and additionally or alternatively, the completion of the initiated transfer (e.g., which signals the available of the funds for use by user 110). In some aspects, client devices 102 and/or 104 may transfer portions of the generated data for inclusion in one or more additional ledger blocks of the hybrid blockchain ledger data structure, which may memorialize user 108's partial satisfaction of the obligations set forth on the contractual agreement.
  • For example, client device 102 may transmit portions of the generated data that identify the initiated transfer (e.g., an amount of the transfer, a timestamp, a confirmation number or other identifier of the initiated transfer, etc.) to system 140. In certain aspects, system 140 may access and decrypt an encrypted list of event triggers (e.g., event trigger list 322) and an encrypted rules engine using any of the exemplary techniques described above. Additionally, in further aspects, system 140 may parse the decrypted list of triggering events to determine that the $5,000 transfer initiated on November 1st represents a first installment payment mandated by the contractual agreement (e.g., to enable user 110 to being renovations), and based on the decrypted rules engine, may identify one or more rules that are associated with the first installment payment and specify a generation of an additional ledger block that records the first installment payment in partial satisfaction of user 108's contractual obligations. In accordance with the one or more identified rules, system 140 may execute software applications that establish a new ledger block that includes portion of the data identifying the initiated transfer, as well as the encrypted list of triggering events and encrypted rules engine maintained by system 140, using any of the exemplary techniques described above.
  • Additionally or alternatively, client device 102 may transmit portions of the generated data that identify the initiated and/or completed transfer (e.g., the transferred amount of the transfer, a timestamp of the initiated and/or completed transfer, the confirmation number, etc.) to system 141. As described above, and based on an accessed and decrypted list of triggering events and corresponding rules engine, system 140 may execute software applications that establish a new ledger block that includes portion of the data identifying the initiated transfer and/or completed transfer, as well as the encrypted list of triggering events and encrypted rules engine maintained by system 141, using any of the exemplary techniques described above.
  • In response to the initiated and completed transfer of the initial $5,000 installment, user 110 may purchase necessary supplies and begin renovations on user 108's home in accordance with the contractual agreement. With the November 15th deadline looming for completing 50% of the renovations to user 108's home, which would trigger a transfer of the second $5,000 installment from user 108 to user 110, users 108 and 110 may agree to meet and review the progress of the renovations. For example, after reviewing the progress and status of the renovations, user 108 and 110 may tentatively agree that user 110 completed at least 50% of the agreed-upon renovations, which would trigger the transfer of the agreed-upon $5,000 transfer.
  • In response to the tentative agreement regarding the pace of renovations, user 110 may provide input data to client device 104 specifying the portion of the agreed-upon renovations completed prior to the December 1st deadline and further, specifying the completed portions represents at least 50% of the agreed-upon work. For example, user 104 may input the data into a GUI or other interface presented to user 110 by client device 104, and client device 104 may package the inputted data into a corresponding data structure (e.g., an electronic construction report). Client device 104 may, in some instances, execute one or more software applications (e.g., one or more of the smart contract applications described above) that parse the electronic construction report and determine that user 110 satisfied the obligations for transfer of the second $5,000 installment of funds. The executed smart contract applications may cause client device 104 to generate data requesting a transfer of the second $5,000 installment from user 108 to user 110, which may be transmitted with the electronic construction report to system 141 using any of the communications protocols outlined above. Additionally or alternatively, client device 104 may also transmit the electronic construction report to client device 102 for review and approval by user 108.
  • In some aspects, and in response to the received request, system 140 may access and decrypt an encrypted list of event triggers (e.g., event trigger list 322) and an encrypted rules engine (e.g., rules engine 324) using any of the exemplary techniques described above. For example, system 140 may access copies of the encrypted list of event triggers and an encrypted rules engine from a locally accessible data repository (e.g., data repository 144) and/or may extract the encrypted list of event triggers and an encrypted rules engine from a latest, longest version of the hybrid, blockchain ledger data structure described above. System 140 may parse the decrypted list of triggering events, in conjunction with the electronic construction report, to establish that the portion of the renovations performed by user 110 (e.g., as set forth in the electronic construction report) represent an event triggering disbursement of the second $5,000 installment. Based on one or more of the decrypted rules, system 140 may perform operations to initiate the disbursement and record the initiated disbursement in a new ledger block of the hybrid, blockchain ledger data structure (and/or one or more sidechain data structures) using any of the exemplary techniques described above.
  • In other aspects, client device 102 may receive the electronic construction report from client device 102, and may execute one or more application programs (e.g., the smart contract applications described above) to process and render portions of the electronic construction report for presentation to user 108 through a corresponding GUI. In some aspects, client device 102 may also receive data (e.g., from system 140 maintained by the first financial institution of user 108) indicative of the transfer of the second $5,000 installment from user 108 to user 110 (e.g., from accounts of user 108 to accounts of user 110, a transfer of units of virtual currency, etc.). Upon review of the presented portions of the electronic construction report, user 108 may determine that the portion of the renovations completed by user 110 falls short of the 50% required triggering the transfer of the second $5,000 installment,
  • For example, upon negotiation of the terms of the contractual agreement, users 108 and 110 may agree that the renovation process includes four specific construction projects (e.g., a removal of carpet from a portion of the home, an installation of a new hardwood floor, a removal of a partial wall, and an application of new paint within a portion of the home). In some instances, and upon review of the electronic construction report, user 108 may reconsider the prior agreement with user 110 and may determine that user 110 failed to complete at least two of the four specific construction requirements before December 1st, and thus failed to complete the 50% of the renovations necessary to trigger the transfer of the second $5,000 installment.
  • In some aspects, user 108 may provide input to client device 102 (e.g., through a corresponding GUI generated by the one or more executed smart contract applications) that disputes user 110's performance of 50% of the renovation prior to the December 1st deadline and further, disputed the propriety of the executed transfer of the second $5,000 installment. In response to user 108's input, client device 102 may generate data that, among other things, identifies the party initiating the dispute (e.g., an identifier of user 108), the other contracting party (e.g., user 110), a corresponding device that initiated the dispute (e.g., an IP address or MAC address associated with client device 102), the one or more disputed terms of the contractual agreement (e.g., the performance by user 110 of 50% of the renovation prior to the December 1st deadline), one or more disputed actions (e.g., the transfer of the second $5,000 installment from user 108 to user 110), and/or evidence supporting the disputed one or more terms and actions (e.g., the electronic construction report). Client device 102 may, in some instances, transmit the generated data to system 140 across network 120 using any of the communications protocols outlined above.
  • System 140 may, upon receipt of the transmitted data may store portions of the transmitted data in a corresponding portion of a local data repository (e.g., data repository 144). In additional aspects, system 140 may decrypt copies of an encrypted list of triggering events and an encrypted rules engine using any of the exemplary techniques described above. For example, and based on the decrypted event triggers, system 140 may determine that the receipt of the data indicative of the disputed term of the contractual agreement (e.g., the performance by user 110 of 50% of the renovation prior to the December 1st deadline) and the transfer of the second $5,000 from user 108 to user 110 represents a disagreement between the interpretation of the contractual terms and user 110's performance by the first financial institution (which deems user 110's performance insufficient to initiate transfer of the second $5,000 installment) and the second financial institution (which deemed user 110's performance sufficient to transfer the second $5,000 installment from user 108 to user 110).
  • In some aspects, system 140 may parse the decrypted rules engine to identify one or more dispute resolution procedures, which may include, but are not limited to, requesting that a neutral third party, such as clearinghouse entity 152, resolve the dispute between the first and second financial institutions regarding the transfer of the second $5,000 installment. In certain aspects, system 140 may execute software applications that generate a request for dispute resolution that includes, but is not limited to, data that identifies the party initiating the dispute (e.g., an identifier of user 108), the other contracting party (e.g., user 110), a corresponding device that initiated the dispute (e.g., an IP address or MAC address associated with system 140), the first and second financial institutions, the one or more disputed terms of the contractual agreement (e.g., the performance by user 110 of 50% of the renovation prior to the December 1st deadline), one or more disputed actions (e.g., the transfer of the second $5,000 installment from user 108 to user 110), and/or evidence supporting the disputed one or more terms and actions (e.g., the electronic construction report).
  • System 140 may, in certain aspects, execute software applications that generate one or more additional ledger blocks of the hybrid blockchain ledger data structure to memorialize the dispute between the dispute between the first and second financial institutions using any of the exemplary techniques described above. System 140 may, in further aspects, transmit the generated dispute-resolution request to a computer system maintained by clearinghouse entity 152 (e.g., system 146), which may perform operations that automatically and transparently resolve the dispute between the first and second financial institutions, as described below.
  • b. Exemplary Processes for Resolving Disputed Contractual Terms Using Hybrid, Blockchain Ledger Data Structures
  • In some aspects, and as described above, computing environment 100 may include a number of computer systems maintained by various financial institutions systems 140 and 141), which may act as rules authorities, and which may execute software applications to establish and maintain ledger blocks of the exemplary hybrid blockchain ledger data structures described above. For example, various parties may mutually agree on terms of a contractual agreement, which accords rights to the various parties and imposes corresponding obligations for performance. As described above, client devices operated by these various parties (e.g., client devices 102, 104, and 106) may execute mutually compatible “smart contract” applications that establish and enforce performance of the contractual agreement and further, transmit data indicative of the terms, rights, obligations, and/or performance by the parties to corresponding ones of the financial institution systems, which may process and incorporate portions of the transmitted data into ledger blocks of the exemplary hybrid blockchain ledger data structures using any of the exemplary techniques described above.
  • By way of example, the parties may agree on contractual terms that require a first party (e.g., user 108) to pay a predetermined sum to a second party (e.g., user 108) in exchange for specified actions performed by user 110 on behalf of user 108. In some instances, and as described above, the payment may represent a transfer of units of a virtual currency held by user 108 (e.g., within a mobile wallet maintained by client device 102) to user 110 (e.g., to a mobile wallet maintained by client device 104). Additionally or alternatively, the payment may represent a transfer of funds from an account of user 108 at a first financial institution to an account of user 110 at a second financial institution. Further, in additional instances, such as those described above, user 110 may provide (e.g., through client device 104) evidence of the performance of the specified actions to user 108 (e.g., through client device 102), and client devices 102 and/or 104 may transmit identifying the evidenced performance and the effected transfer to systems maintained by the first and second financial institutions (e.g., systems 140 and 141), which may process and incorporate portions of the transmitted data into ledger blocks of the exemplary hybrid blockchain ledger data structures using any of the exemplary techniques described above.
  • In some aspects, however, the first and second financial institutions may disagree on a sufficiency of user 110's performance, and first financial institution may dispute the propriety of the transfer of funds from user 108 to user 110. For example, and as described above, client device 104 may present an electronic construction report to system 141 as evidence that user 110 completed 50% of an agreed-upon renovation of user 108's home, and based on a decrypted list of triggering events and rules engine, perform operations that transfer funds (e.g., a second $5,000 installment) from user 108 to user 110 in exchange for user 110's performance, as described above. In certain aspects, system 140 may dispute the sufficiency of user 110's performance, as outlined in the electronic construction report (e.g., which client device 104 provided to client device 102, and which client device 102 provided to system 140), and may initiate processes to automatically and transparently resolve the dispute and perform corrective actions, as described below in reference to FIG. 5.
  • FIG. 5 is a flowchart of an exemplary process 500 for automatically resolving contracting disputes using data tracked within a hybrid blockchain ledger, in accordance with disclosed embodiments. The disclosed embodiments may, for example, enable a system maintained by a neutral third party (e.g., system 146 of clearinghouse entity 152) to receive notification of a dispute between two or more parties (e.g., between financial institutions, etc.) regarding an implementation of one or more contractual terms (e.g., as set forth in rules engines maintained by systems of the financial institution), and further, to arbitrate and resolve the dispute based on one or more rules and operations established and maintained by system 146 (e.g., within data repository 149).
  • In some aspects, system 146 may receive notification of a dispute between multiple parties to a contractual agreement (e.g., in step 502). By way of example, and as described above, system 141 (e.g., maintained by the second financial institution of user 110) may determine, based on decrypted copies of an encrypted list of triggering events and an encrypted rules engine, that an electronic construction report (e.g., generated by client device 104) indicates that user 110 completed at least 50% of the agreed-upon renovations to user 108's home prior to Dec. 1, 2015, which triggers a transfer of a second $5,000 installment from user 108 to user 110 in accordance with terms of a corresponding contractual agreement. In contrast, system 140 (e.g., maintained by the first financial institution of user 108) may dispute the sufficiency of user 110's performance, and may establish that the transfer of the second $5,000 installment is improper and inconsistent with the contractual agreement. As described above, and in response to the detected dispute, system 140 may generate corresponding notification data that identifies the dispute, the parties, and disputed evidence, and transmit the notification data to system 146 as a notification of a dispute (e.g., which system 146 may receive in step 502).
  • The notification data may, in certain instances, include, but is not limited to, data that identifies the party initiating the dispute (e.g., an identifier of user 108), the other contracting party (e.g., user 110), a corresponding device that initiated the dispute (e.g., an IP address or MAC address associated with system 140 and/or client device 102), the first and second financial institutions, the one or more disputed terms of the contractual agreement (e.g., the performance by user 110 of 50% of the renovation prior to the December 1st deadline), one or more disputed actions (e.g., the transfer of the second $5,000 installment from user 108 to user 110), and/or evidence supporting the disputed performance (e.g., the electronic construction report generated by client device 104). The disclosed embodiments are not limited to this exemplary notification data, and in further embodiments, system 146 may receive any additional or alternate data capable of characterizing the dispute and appropriate to system 146.
  • System 146 may, in some aspects, access a latest, longest version of a hybrid blockchain ledger data structure corresponding to the contractual agreement (and additionally or alternatively, a sidechain data structure), and may obtain, from the accessed hybrid blockchain ledger data structure, data identifying terms, provided rights, and imposed obligations of the contractual agreement and any recorded performance by the parties (e.g., in step 504). By way of example, and as described above, the accessed hybrid blockchain ledger data structure may include a first data block (e.g., established by system 140) that records the contractual terms provided to system 140 by client device 102 (e.g., including terms input by user 108 into GUI generated by an executed smart contract application), and a second data block (e.g., established by system 141) that records the contractual terms provided to system 141 by client device 104 (e.g., including terms input by user 110 into GUI generated by an executed smart contract application). Additionally, in some instances, the accessed hybrid blockchain ledger data structure may include one or more third data blocks that specify or identify portions of user 110's disputed performance (e.g., data blocks that incorporate portions of the electronic construction report included within the received notification data. In some aspects, system 146 may extract data corresponding to the first, second, and third data blocks, which may be stored in corresponding portions of a locally accessible data repository (e.g., data repository 149).
  • Further, in step 506, system 146 may also access and decrypt an encrypted list of triggering events (e.g., event trigger list 322) and an encrypted rules engine (e.g., rules engine 324). In some aspects, and as described above, system 146 may access and decrypt the encrypted list of triggering events and encrypted rules engine hashed into the latest, longest version of the hybrid blockchain ledger data structure corresponding to the contractual agreement (e.g., as obtained above in step 504). In other aspects, consistent with the disclosed embodiments, system 146 may access a locally stored copy of the encrypted list of triggering events and/or the encrypted rules engine (e.g., as stored within data repository 149).
  • In some aspects, the decrypted list of triggering events may specify that the received notification data represents an event triggering initiation and performance of a dispute-resolution process by system 146, which may be defined by one or more associated rules set forth in the decrypted rules engine. For instance, the decrypted rules engine may include one or more rules that define operations performed by system 146 to resolve a dispute involving terms of and/or performance related to the contractual agreement between users 108 and 112. By way of example, the specified dispute-resolution operations may include a first operation that determines whether users 108 and 110 specified mutually consistent terms and conditions (e.g., within the extracted first and second data blocks described above), and one or more second operations (e.g., specified by the first and second financial institutions, a governmental and/or regulatory entity, etc.) to determine a compliance of the evidenced performance (e.g., the electronic construction report) with the mutually consistent terms and conditions.
  • Further, in additional instances, the decrypted rules engine may also identify operations that enable system 146 to resolve the contractual dispute between users 108 and 110, and further, between the first and second financial institutions, based on a consensus of those financial institutions capable of acting as rules authorities for the hybrid blockchain ledger data structure. For example, one or more of the rules may cause system 146 to provide portions of the received notification data to systems maintained by the financial institution (e.g., that operate as rules authorities within environment 100). In some aspects, the transmitted notification data portions may cause software applications executed by the financial institution systems to prompt a competent representative of each financial institutions (e.g., an attorney in the office of the general counsel) to review the evidence and the contractual terms, and identify the prevailing party (e.g., user 108 or user 110) within an established time period. The financial institution systems may transmit data indicative of the prevailing party to system 146, which may aggregate the received data and establish, as the prevailing party, that contracting party identified by a plurality and/or a majority of the financial institutions.
  • In other instances, and consistent with the disclosed embodiments, the decrypted rules engine may include multiple groups of rules specifying operations that resolve corresponding types of disputes. For example, the decrypted rules engine may include groups of rules specifying operations for resolving disputes involving constructions contracts, employment contracts, licensing agreement, and any additional or alternate type of contract appropriate to the first and second financial institutions and users 108 and 110. The disclosed embodiments are not limited to these exemplary rules, and in additional embodiments, the decrypted rules engine may specify any additional or alternate dispute-resolution rule appropriate to the contractual agreement, the contracting parties, and the various financial institutions.
  • In further aspects, system 146 may select one or more of the decrypted rules associated with the resolution of the contractual dispute involving users 108 and 110 (e.g., in step 508), and may perform operations consistent with the one or more selected rules to resolve the contractual dispute (e.g., in step 510). For example, and in accordance with the selected rules, system 146 may execute software applications that access locally stored data (e.g., extracted from the first and second data blocks described above) identifying each set of terms and conditions specified by users 108 and 110. Based on the accessed data, system 146 may determine that users 108 and 110 specified mutually consistent terms and conditions specifying a disbursement of the second $5,000 installment upon completion of at least 50% of the renovation of user 108's home prior to December 1st. System 146 may parse the electronic construction report to determine, for example, that the renovation includes four specific construction projects (e.g., a removal of carpet from a portion of the home, an installation of a new hardwood floor, a removal of a partial wall, and an application of new paint within a portion of the home), which may be subdivided into twenty discrete tasks. Based on the electronic construction report, system 146 may also determine that, while user 110 did not complete any of the four tasks by December 1st, user 110 complete fourteen of the twenty discrete tasks. In certain aspects, system 146 may determine that user 110's performance complied with the terms of the contractual agreement in step 510.
  • In other instances, system 146 establish user 110's compliance with the contractual agreement in accordance with a consensus decision of all financial institutions capable of acting as rules authorities for the hybrid blockchain ledger data structure. For example, system 146 may identify nine such financial institutions, and may obtain IP addresses and other information identifying computer systems maintained by these nine financial institution (e.g., from a corresponding portion of data repository 149). System 146 may, in some instances, transmit portions of the received notification data to these nine systems, and software executed by these nine systems may request that representatives of the corresponding institutions review the disputed terms and evidence and provide input identifying whether the user 110 complied with the contractual agreement within a predetermined time period (e.g., one hour, twenty-four hours, etc.). The systems maintained by these none financial institutions may transmit the provided input back to system 146, and system 146 may process and aggregate the results to determine the consensus decision.
  • By way of example, system 146 may receive responses from seven of the nine computer systems within the predetermined time period, and system 146 may determine that six of the seven financial institutions agree that user 110's performance complied with the terms of the contractual agreement. System 146 may, in certain aspects, and based on the consensus decision, determine in step 510 that user 110's performance complied with the terms of the contractual agreement.
  • The disclosed embodiments are, however, not limited to these exemplary dispute resolution processes. In additional embodiments, system 146 may resolve the dispute in a multi-step process that initially reviews the provided evidence in light of the terms of the contractual agreement, and if the outcome were ambiguous, would establish a final decision regarding user 110's compliance with the contractual agreement on the basis of the consensus decision of the participating financial institutions, as described above. In further embodiments, system 146 may also implement any additional or alternate processes to resolve the identified dispute that would be appropriate to the disputed terms of the contractual agreement, the contracting parties, and/or the corresponding financial institutions.
  • Based on the resolved dispute, system 146 may determine the propriety of the transfer of the second $5,000 installment from user 108 to user 110 (e.g., in step 512). For example, if system 146 were to determine that user 110 completed at least 50% of the agreed-upon renovations by December 1st, user 110's performance may be compliant with the contractual agreement. System 146 may determine that the transfer of the second $5,000 installment from user 108 to user 110 is proper and consistent with the contractual agreement (e.g., step 512; YES), and system 146 may execute software applications that establish and maintain a new ledger block identifying the propriety of the transfer and the resolution of the dispute between users 108 and 110 and between the first and second financial institutions using any of the exemplary techniques described above (e.g., in step 514). Exemplary process 500 is then complete in step 516.
  • If, however, system 146 were to determine that user 110 failed to complete at least 50% of the agreed-upon renovations by December 1st, user 110's performance may be non-compliant with the contractual agreement. System 146 may determine that the transfer of the second $5,000 installment from user 108 to user 110 is inappropriate and inconsistent with the contractual agreement (e.g., step 512; NO), and system 146 may execute software instructions that initiate an additional transaction to reverse the transfer of the second $5,000 installment from user 108 to user 110 and to return the $5,000 in funds to user 108 using any of the exemplary techniques described above (e.g., in step 518). Exemplary process 500 may then pass back to step 514, and system 146 may establish and maintain a new ledger block identifying the impropriety of the transfer and the initiation of the new transaction returning the second $5,000 installment to user 108 using any of the exemplary techniques described above. Exemplary process 500 is then complete in step 516.
  • In the embodiments described above, system 146 of clearinghouse entity 152 may resolve disputes between financial institutions and between contracting parties that involve an interpretation of contractual terms and/or a performance of the contracting parties. In additional aspects, and consistent with the disclosed embodiments, system 146 may apply one or more of the rules and/or event triggers described above to determine a propriety of one or more new ledger blocks added to the hybrid blockchain ledger data structure (and/or one or more sidechain data structures)by systems of various rules authorities (e.g., systems 140 and 141), and further, to reconcile various assets and funds tracked within the hybrid blockchain ledger data structure and/or the one or more corresponding sidechain data structures.
  • Various embodiments have been described herein with reference to the accompanying drawings. It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes may be made thereto, and additional embodiments may be implemented, without departing from the broader scope of the disclosed embodiments as set forth in the claims that follow.
  • Further, other embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art from consideration of the specification and practice of one or more embodiments of the present disclosure. It is intended, therefore, that this disclosure and the examples herein be considered as exemplary only, with a true scope and spirit of the disclosed embodiments being indicated by the following listing of exemplary claims.

Claims (22)

What is claimed is:
1. An apparatus, comprising:
at least one processor; and
a memory storing executable instructions that, when executed by the at least one processor, causes the at least one processor to perform the steps of:
accessing data corresponding to at least one blockchain ledger;
obtaining notification data identifying a dispute involving a contractual agreement between a first party and one or more second parties;
decrypting (i) a first encrypted portion of the blockchain ledger data using a first cryptographic key and (ii) a second encrypted portion of the blockchain ledger data using a second cryptographic key, the decrypted first data portion identifying a plurality of triggering events controlled by a rules authority, and the decrypted second data portion identifying a plurality of rules associated with the triggering events;
establishing that the identified dispute corresponds to at least one of the triggering events;
identifying, based on the detected second data portion, at least one of the rules that exhibits a causal relationship with the detected first event; and
generating an electronic command to perform one or more operations to resolve the identified dispute consistent with the at least one identified rule.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the executed instructions further cause the at least one processor to perform the step of detecting, within at least a portion of the accessed blockchain ledger data, an occurrence of an electronic transfer of funds from an account of the first party to an account of at least one of the second parties, the electronic transfer being initiated in response to a performance of one or more activities by the at least one second party.
3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein:
at least one of a device of the second party or a system of a financial institution associated with the first party executes instructions to initiate the electronic transfer of funds from the first party account to the at least one second party account; and
the executed instructions further cause the at least one processor to perform the step of receiving the notification data from at least one of a device of the first party or a system of a financial institution associated with the first party.
4. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the identified dispute represents a dispute between the first and second parties regarding a conformity of the one or more performed activities to the contractual agreement.
5. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the executed instructions further cause the at least one processor to perform the steps of:
extracting data that characterizes the contractual agreement from at least a portion of the accessed blockchain ledger data;
determining, based on the data characterizing the contractual agreement and a portion of the notification data, that the performance of the one of more activities by the second party fails to conform to the contractual agreement; and
in response to the determination, generate a first electronic command to initiate a reversal of the electronic transfer.
6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the portion of the notification data identified the one or more performed activities.
7. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the executed instructions further cause the at least one processor to perform the step of generating a second electronic command to establish at least one additional data block, the at least one additional data block comprising at least one of (0 data identifying the dispute, (ii) data establishing the non-conformity of the one or more performed activities with the contractual agreement, or (Hi) data indicative of the initiated reversal of the electronic transfer.
8. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the executed instructions further cause the at least one processor to perform the steps of:
obtaining rules authority data identifying a plurality of entities that function as rules authorities for the at least one blockchain ledger;
transmit at least a portion of the obtained notification data and the extracted contractual agreement data to systems associated with corresponding ones of the entities, the transmitted portion of the notification data identifying the one or more performed activities;
receiving, from the entity systems, data indicative of the conformity of the one or more performed activities to the contractual agreement; and
determining, based on the received data, whether the one of more performs activities by the second party conforms to the contractual agreement.
9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the executed instructions further cause the at least one processor to perform the steps of:
identifying an establishment of at least one additional data block;
determining that the establishment of the at least one additional data block corresponds to at least one of the triggering events;
identifying, based on the detected second data portion, at least one of the rules that exhibits a causal relationship with the detected first event; and
generating an electronic command to append the at least one additional data block to the at least one blockchain ledger in accordance with the at least one rule.
10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the executed instructions further cause the at least one processor to perform the steps of:
receiving data identifying at least one additional rule, the additional rule being associated with at least one of the triggering events, and the data being received from a device associated with at least one of the first or second parties;
modifying the decrypted second data portion to incorporate at least a portion of the received data; and
encrypting the modified second data portion using the second cryptographic key.
11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the executed instructions further cause the at least one processor to perform the steps of:
receiving data identifying at least one additional triggering event controlled by the rules authority, the data being received from a device associated with at least one of the first or second parties;
modifying the decrypted first data portion to incorporate at least a portion of the received data; and
encrypting the modified first data portion using the first cryptographic key.
12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein:
the first cryptographic key comprises a private cryptographic key associated with at least one of the parties; and
the second cryptographic key corresponds to a master cryptographic key; and
the executed instructions further cause the at least one processor to perform the steps of:
generating the master cryptographic key;
storing the generated master cryptographic key in a portion of a secure data repository; and
establishing at least one access permission for the stored master cryptographic key, the at least one established access permission preventing at least one of parties from accessing the stored master cryptographic key.
13. A computer-implemented method, comprising:
accessing, using at least one processor, data corresponding to at least one blockchain ledger;
obtaining, using the at least one processor, notification data identifying a dispute involving a contractual agreement between a first party and one or more second parties;
using the at least one processor, decrypting (0 a first encrypted portion of the blockchain ledger data using a first cryptographic key and (ii) a second encrypted portion of the blockchain ledger data using a second cryptographic key, the decrypted first data portion identifying a plurality of triggering events controlled by a rules authority, and the decrypted second data portion identifying a plurality of rules associated with the triggering events;
establishing, using the at least one processor, that the identified dispute corresponds to at least one of the triggering events;
identifying, using the at least one processor, and based on the detected second data portion, at least one of the rules that exhibits a causal relationship with the detected first event; and
generating, using the at least one processor, an electronic command to perform one or more operations to resolve the identified dispute consistent with the at least one identified rule.
14. The method of claim 13, further comprising detecting, within at least a portion of the accessed blockchain ledger data, an occurrence of an electronic transfer of funds from an account of the first party to an account of at least one of the second parties, the electronic transfer being initiated in response to a performance of one or more activities by the at least one second party.
15. The method of claim 14, wherein:
at least one of a device of the second party or a system of a financial institution associated with the first party executes instructions to initiate the electronic transfer of funds from the first party account to the at least one second party account; and
the executed instructions further cause the at least one processor to perform the step of receiving the notification data from at least one of a device of the first party or a system of a financial institution associated with the first party.
16. The method of claim 14, wherein;
the identified dispute represents a dispute between the first and second parties regarding a conformity of the one or more performed activities to the contractual agreement; and
the method further comprises:
extracting data that characterizes the contractual agreement from at least a portion of the accessed blockchain ledger data;
determining, based on the data characterizing the contractual agreement and a portion of the notification data, that the performance of the one of more activities by the second party fails to conform to the contractual agreement;
in response to the determination, generate a first electronic command to initiate a reversal of the electronic transfer and
generating a second electronic command to establish at least one additional data block, the at least one additional data block comprising at least one of (i) data identifying the dispute, (ii) data establishing the non-conformity of the one or more performed activities with the contractual agreement, or (iii) data indicative of the initiated reversal of the electronic transfer.
17. The apparatus of claim 16, further comprising:
obtaining rules authority data identifying a plurality of entities that function as rules authorities for the at least one blockchain ledger;
transmit at least a portion of the obtained notification data and the extracted contractual agreement data to systems associated with corresponding ones of the entities, the transmitted portion of the notification data identifying the one or more performed activities;
receiving, from the entity systems, data indicative of the conformity of the one or more performed activities to the contractual agreement; and
determining, based on the received data, whether the one of more performs activities by the second party conforms to the contractual agreement.
18. The apparatus of claim 13, further comprising:
identifying an establishment of at least one additional data block;
determining that the establishment of the at least one additional data block corresponds to at least one of the triggering events;
identifying, based on the detected second data portion, at least one of the rules that exhibits a causal relationship with the detected first event; and
generating an electronic command to append the at least one additional data block to the at least one blockchain ledger in accordance with the at least one rule.
19. The apparatus of claim 13, further comprising;
receiving data identifying at least one additional rule, the additional rule being associated with at least one of the triggering events, and the data being received from a device associated with at least one of the first or second parties;
modifying the decrypted second data portion to incorporate at least a portion of the received data; and
encrypting the modified second data portion using the second cryptographic key.
20. The apparatus of claim 13, further comprising:
receiving data identifying at least one additional triggering event controlled by the rules authority, the data being received from a device associated with at least one of the first or second parties;
modifying the decrypted first data portion to incorporate at least a portion of the received data; and
encrypting the modified first data portion using the first cryptographic key.
21. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein:
the first cryptographic key comprises a private cryptographic key associated with at least one of the parties; and
the second cryptographic key corresponds to a master cryptographic key; and
the method further comprises:
generating the master cryptographic key;
storing the generated master cryptographic key in a portion of a secure data repository; and
establishing at least one access permission for the stored master cryptographic key, the at least one established access permission preventing at least one of parties from accessing the stored master cryptographic key.
22. A tangible, non-transitory computer-readable medium storing instructions that, when executed by at least one processor, cause the at least one processor to perform a method comprising the following steps:
accessing data corresponding to at least one blockchain ledger;
obtaining notification data identifying a dispute involving a contractual agreement between a first party and one or more second parties;
decrypting (i) a first encrypted portion of the blockchain ledger data using a first cryptographic key and (ii) a second encrypted portion of the blockchain ledger data using a second cryptographic key, the decrypted first data portion identifying a plurality of triggering events controlled by a rules authority, and the decrypted second data portion identifying a plurality of rules associated with the triggering events;
establishing that the identified dispute corresponds to at least one of the triggering events;
identifying, based on the detected second data portion, at least one of the rules that exhibits a causal relationship with the detected first event; and
generating an electronic command to perform one or more operations to resolve the identified dispute consistent with the at least one identified rule.
US14/936,812 2015-08-13 2015-11-10 Systems and methods for detecting and resolving data inconsistencies among networked devices using hybrid private-public blockchain ledgers Pending US20170046693A1 (en)

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