Bank of America has filed another blockchain patent. Filed on Tuesday, October 30th, this new patent is related to systems and devices for hard storage of private keys.
The second largest bank in the U.S. now holds more than 50 Blockchain patents, more than any other company. But are there any development plans behind those patents? What benefits will the Bank of America reap?
Bank of America blazed the trail by filing its first blockchain patent in 2014. However, after so many years it is clear that the bank is keen on collecting Blockchain patents, but does not share the same enthusiasm on innovating and creating distributed ledger technologies.
Some in the crypto community speculate that the gathering of patents is not done with the intent of actually using them, but rather to demand large lawsuit payouts from companies who might end up using similar technologies to those patented.
During the CB Insights Future of Fintech conference, the CTO of Bank of America, Catherine Bessant, declared that the reason behind the patents is to make sure the bank doesn’t get left behind:
“We’ve got under 50 patents in the blockchain/distributed ledger space (…) While we’ve not found large-scale opportunities, we want to be ahead of it we want to be prepared.”
It seems that the bank might be accumulating patents for future use. Nonetheless, previous senior vice president, Michael Wuehler, stated that the patents are merely a trick to appear that the company is an innovator in the fintech space. His name is listed as an inventor on 8 of the patents and he worked for Bank of America for more than 11 years, before leaving to join blockchain technology company ConsenSys. He said on Twitter:
My name is on 8 of the 50 Blockchain patents filed by BofA and from my perspective they are meaningless other than making for press releases and public perception of innovation. https://t.co/5OUzbg7qKx
— Michael Wuehler (@wuehler) August 25, 2018
Although recent research analysts from Bank of America have estimated that Blockchain technology could become a $7 billion market, the truth is that the bank has been far from being crypto-friendly. It has previously barred clients from purchasing cryptocurrencies with credit cards and Merrill Lynch, the bank’s brokerage arm, has also prohibited clients from investing in the Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC).