California-based financial software company Intuit has been awarded a patent for processing a Bitcoin transaction via a text message (SMS).

The patent, titled “Bitcoin transaction using text message”, was awarded by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to Manu Chikkanna, an employee of Intuit. It was published on Tuesday (7 August 2018), and describes a method for processing Bitcoin payments via text messages:

“The method includes receiving, by a payment service, a payment text message comprising a payment amount and an identifier of a payee mobile device, validating the payment text message based on a payer balance of a virtual payer account maintained by the payment service for the payer, creating, by the payment service and in response to the payment text message, a virtual payee account based on the identifier of the payee mobile device, transferring, in response to creating the virtual payee account, the payment amount from the virtual payer account to the virtual payee account, and sending, by the payment service to the payee mobile device, a notification text message to notify the payee regarding a payee balance of the virtual payee account, wherein the payee balance is determined based at least on the payment amount.”

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The patent was filed on 13 June 2014, around the time that Intuit launched a PayByCoin feature for QuickBooks Online, its cloud-based accounting software. This feature is available as a free add-on (plugin) to small businesses that use QuickBooks Online to generate elctronic payable invoices, and it allows customers of the business to pay by Bitcoin:

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Intuit’s interest in Bitcoin is notable given that one of its former CEOs, Bill Harris, in April 2018, called Bitcoin a “scam”. 


Featured Image Credit: All Images (Except Diagram From the Patent Application) Courtesy of Intuit