Bank of America is the 2nd largest financial institution in the US and one of the earliest adopters of blockchain technology. The bank has patented more than 50 ideas on the blockchain space which is the highest at the moment among banks.
The big question is, will BofA utilize all these patents or will it just lock competitors from realizing the full potential of the crypto space?
Wire Transfers Using Cryptocurrency patent
Its first application was recorded as “Wire Transfers Using Cryptocurrency.” The patent application did not mention the use of blockchain technology, but it is obvious that there will be the use of blockchain technology because you cannot separate the two.
The move was the first of its kind in the US as no other bank had expressed interest in patenting an idea on the blockchain in the past. It was not surprising that it comes from the Bank of America as it was one of the first banks in the US to give bitcoin some mainstream coverage.
According to “Bitcoin: a first assessment,” a paper compiled by its strategists in 2013, bitcoin has the possibility of becoming a major means of payment. The paper also states that it could bring real competition to the traditional money markets.
Cryptocurrency exchange system patent
Among the patents that BofA has won is the ‘Cryptocurrency exchange system.’ The digital currency exchange will allow automatic conversion of one digital currency to the other and external data feeds will determine the exchange rate. The proposed system will collect and gather information from external sources and use this data to determine its optimal rates.
ATM as a service patent
BofA’s application suggests that we can have a network of ATMs that are powered by the blockchain technology. According to the application, the blockchain technology will speed up transactions and also diversify what ATMs can do. ATMs will thus handle transactions such as gift registry on top of cash withdraws and deposits which are the main functions.
The Bank of America became a member of R3 in 2015 which brings together various players such as banks, traders and
Talking to CNBC in a past interview, Catherine Bessan who is the chief technology operations officer had the following to say;
“Technology is fascinating, and I can confirm this because I am a technologist. We as a bank have tried to be at the forefront, and I know a good number of people will be surprised that we have so many patents on this field.”
However, some officials had in the past referred to bitcoin as ‘Troubling.’ As if that was not enough, the bank had banned its customers from buying bitcoin using its card. As the bank continued learning the crypto world, it lifted the ban on May 2018.
Bessant was of the idea that cryptocurrencies do not provide the transparency that blockchain claims to promise. For instance, one can use a pseudonym while transferring bitcoins, unlike a bank that registers the customer details.