Bank of America ("Bank") has developed a strong collection of patents related to blockchain and cryptocurrency. At present, the company has over 50 applications in the same area.
Many see it as part of an effort to succeed in a patenting competition with informal blockchains with platforms such as Alibaba and IBM. Despite the patents, however, the Bank is still recognized as skeptical towards cryptocurrencies.
The Bank's first patent related to the blockchain technology was filed in 2014 and published at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The Bank has defined the patent "Bankruptcy using cryptocurrency", but, interestingly enough, did not contain the term "blockchain", but still presented a system whereby funds were transferred between accounts with the underlying crypto technology.
The application seemed to be one of the first cryptographic applications issued by a US bank and it is not surprising that the move was led by the bank. The Bank initially started to cover bitcoins in 2013, when it published a report by several strategists from the title
"Bitcoin: a first evaluation Bitcoin could become an important tool for e-commerce and many emerge as a serious competitor for traditional money transfer providers As a medium of exchange, Bitcoin has a clear potential for growth. "
At the time, the USPTO has issued another patent to the Bank, has become part of R3, which includes over 200 members, some of which are banks and other trade associations, fintech companies and more. Together, they work to develop blockchain solutions. After executing the item "Cable Transfers using Cryptocurrency", the Bank has accumulated patents. For example, in December 2015, the USPTO published another ten patents filed by the bank in 2014. Each of the patents has the term "cryptocurrency" and also a system called "Vault Offline Archiving System".
Subsequently, the bank announced the preparations to present another 20 questions with the USPTO. Catherine Bessant, the Bank's Chief Operations and Technology Officer, told CNBC:
"As a technologist, technology is fascinating, we've tried to stay on the front line, I think we have about 15 patents, most people would be surprised by the Bank of America with patents in the blockchain or cryptocurrency space."
As of June 2018, the Bank has led the patent race, bypassing companies such as IBM and Alibaba and its direct competitors.
The Bank's efforts do not seem to be inclined to develop real products or be a cryptocurrency. Rather, the bank seems to prioritize the registration of technology, its actual use. Bessant, in a 2016 interview, told CNBC that blockchain patents are "very important … to reserve our place even before we know what the commercial application might be." fintech event, he also stated, "We have less than 50 patents in the distributed blockchain / ledger space … Although we have not found opportunities on a large scale, we want to be ahead, we want to be prepared".
Even with the Bank's efforts, he acknowledged that technology is also a threat to his business model. The bank has declared,
"Customers can choose to conduct business with other market participants who undertake business or offer products in areas that we consider speculative or risky, such as cryptocurrencies."
In August 2018, a blockchain specialist at ConsenSys, who worked for over 11 years at the Bank, announced on Twitter that for him being named "8 out of 50" blockchain patent inventor was "lacking" meaning ". good media coverage and to show that the bank was progressive about fintech.
At this point, the Bank's latest patents include private key exchange and cryptocurrency systems. The Private Keys is the most recent deposit and was confirmed on October 30th. The deposit states:
"While many devices may provide for acquiring evidence of a safety beach (ie a physician or non-physical tampering with device and / or data), such devices do not provide a real-time response to such violations, so such as to prevent the misappropriation of private cryptographic keys.Therefore, there is a need for a secure means of storing private encryption keys.The desired archiving means should reduce the risk of misappropriation misuse of keys due to the fact that the keys are stored internally within a computer node that is often or, in some cases, continuously accessible via a public communications network, such as the Internet. "
As with multiple digital signatures, this is a second type of technology that the Bank has patented. The patent presents a system that allows the management of data communication via devices connected to the Internet. The document identifies that "the invention provides automatic determination of which devices are communicating to which third-party entities, and in some embodiments, the type of data that is communicated to such third-party entities." The system works for products in an Internet of things environment and identifies communication between devices.
The next is external validation. The Bank proposed to use the blockchain to track resource information and confirm transfers, stating that "there is currently a need to provide a more accurate indication of a user's financial strategy by allowing external validation of data in a process data network. " The patent also identifies the ability of the system to record information within the blockchain due to "aggregate information associated with the past transfer of resources executed by an entity".
Data archiving is another type of patent filed in 2016. The bank describes it as a blockchain-based system that allows for authentication of data and addresses issues related to sticking and transfer. As the patent notes,
"The embodiments of the invention use a private blockchain to store various types of records to be transmitted to service providers, so that the individual or the entity can securely store on the blockchain all the records relevant to the service, then provide the service with secure access to those records, so that offers can only access the specific records for which they are authorized, eg a healthcare provider can only access the medical records on the blockchain. "
The patent also discusses the disadvantages of conventional record-sharing methods, stating "they lack an integrated mechanism to authenticate records". The use of a blockchain system would allow a more efficient, secure and reliable method for archiving records.
Finally, the Bank also received a patent for a cryptocurrency exchange system. The system promotes the conversion of the digital currency into another currency, all automatically. The exchange rate would be determined by external feeds. The states of the deposit,
"Companies can handle a large number of financial transactions on a daily basis, and as technology advances, financial transactions involving cryptocurrency have become more common, and for some companies it may be better to exchange currencies and cryptocurrencies."