According to a patent application published on Thursday, April 12, Bank of America is considering using distributed ledger technology to replace parts of existing data-sharing systems.
The patent application, which was originally filed by the banking giant in 2016 and published by the US Patent and Trademark Office, detailed plans for a permissioned blockchain that would securely record and authenticate both personal and business data. “Permissioned” in this case means that only parties who are granted access to the blockchain will be able to access the data.
Coindesk reported that the system would reportedly be used to combine separate channels of data storage into a “single secure network,” streamlining all of a user’s data into one location.
The document reads: “…the individual or entity may securely store on the blockchain all records relevant to service providers, then provide the service providers with secure access to said records such that the providers may access only the specific records for which they are authorized, e.g. a healthcare provider may access only the healthcare records on the blockchain.”
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Banking Systems Increasingly Consider Blockchain Solutions; Patent Grab Ensues
Banking systems the globe over are increasingly considering the adoption of blockchain technology after an industry-wide shift toward cloud storage for data. However, Bank of America has been leading the pack–in mid-January of 2018, Bloomberg reported that Bank of America had filed for more blockchain-related patents than any other company in the world.
“The Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender has applied for or received at least 43 patents for blockchain, the ledger technology used for verifying and recording transactions that’s at the heart of virtual currencies,” the report read.
The South Korean Intellectual Property Office reported last month that more than 1240 applications for blockchain-related patents were filed in the year 2017, up more than 200% from the 594 applications that had been filed in 2016.
Some voices in the blockchain industry have begun worrying about the possibility of upcoming ‘patent wars,’ a problem that has plagued the tech industry for several years.
“The race to patent [blockchain] could lead ultimately to the next big battle over technology standards and who owns them,” said a report by Alix Partners entitled “The Race to Patent the Blockchain.”