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Chicago Mercantile Exchange Files Patent For Distributed Database Platform




Recently published patent applications indicate the Chicago Mercantile Exchange sees a potential for blockchain technology.

Two application filings by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office October 12, 2017, show that the company may be looking into blockchain technology that could integrate with SQL server databases.

Both filings pertain to distributed databases by which participants would engage in communication, although each filing's description as to how this might be achieved is unique. Per Ser. No. 62/320,179, it is acknowledged that while blockchain systems "may be used to replace a centralized database ... it will be appreciated that the disclosed embodiments could, instead be used to supplement such existing systems without necessarily replacing them." 

Parent company CME Group handles an annual average of 3 billion contracts worth approximately $1 quadrillion, according to the group's website. CME Group also owns the Chicago Board of Trade, the New York Mercantile Exchange, and COMEX (formerly Commodity Exchange Inc.).

Such a coupling of blockchain technology and legacy systems could, in turn, create a foundation for a series of systems which, if built atop blockchain-based platforms, may lack backward compatibility, and thus phase out older SQL data storage altogether.

A patent has yet to be awarded and what CME decides to do with it remains to be seen. It is, however, a significant move by a huge industry player, indicating the potentially massive impact blockchain technology can have on existing data systems.

Jeremy Nation

Jeremy Nation is a writer living in Los Angeles with interests in technology, human rights, and cuisine.

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