Amazon has been given granted a bitcoin-related cloud computing patent that could soon allow the e-commerce giant to accept digital currencies as payment for its cloud computing services on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The news counters recent claims by Amazon that it is not currently interested in accepting digital currencies, unlike e-commerce rivals such as eBay.
Amazon payments boss Tom Taylor said that the online retailer had considered Bitcoin but ultimately decided that there was too little interest in the virtual currency to benefit from accepting it.
Taylor told Re/Code: "Obviously it gets a lot of press and we have considered it, but we're not hearing from customers that it's right for them and don't have any plans within Amazon to engage Bitcoin."
The US Patent and Trademark Office granted Amazon the patent. It was filed on 29th March 2012.
An abstract from the patent said: "A resource can be allocated and available as long as payment has been provided. If a user wants the resource to be available for additional processing, for example, the user can submit another request with additional funding.
"The funding can come in the form of donations from any user, or in the form of investments where the investor expects some return on the investment in the form of revenue, visibility, or other such compensation.
"One or more management components can track funding for various resources, can accept and select bids for period of sponsorship, and can manage various donation models."
The patent goes on to describe how different types of digital money can be accepted for cloud computing.
"Various types of digital cash, electronic money or crypto-currency can be used, such as bitcoins provided by the Bitcoin P2P Currency System."