On Tuesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded Bank of America its latest patent. It is for the secure, tamper-proof storage of private keys for large enterprises.
The major institution has been collecting many such patents in preparation for the growth of cryptocurrency.
Bank of America, the second largest bank in the U.S., holds the lead for awarded crypto patents worldwide
However, they still haven’t put any of their 50-plus patents to use. Neither do they view crypto favorably. The bank banned its purchase with BoA credit cards. Likewise, clients of their subsidiary Merrill Lynch cannot invest in the Bitcoin Investment Trust. But they see the potential for crypto and the blockchain to become more prevalent, and they don’t want to fall behind. As CTO Catherine Bessant states, “While we’ve not found large-scale opportunities, we want to be ahead of it we want to be prepared”.
For this most recent patent, BoA aims to help big companies with storage involving their customers’ crypto assets
While this ultimately would be a centralized form of crypto storage, it could mean greater peace of mind for some traders. Primarily, it would serve companies that are already managing assets, but looking to incorporate crypto. Essentially, it will operate like most current online financial services, where the customer has direct access to their accounts, but acts through the institution as an intermediary. Basically, there is a customer private key, and the bank’s “vault” key.
The storage is essentially a giant hardware wallet. As the patent explains, it is:
“Configured to be remote from a computing node that executes an authentication routine requiring the private cryptography key(s) and, as such, the private cryptography key(s) are accessible to, but not communicated to, the computing node only when the computing node is executing the authentication routine”
Additionally, the storage is also protected by “physical tampering sensors.” These will monitor any issues with temperature or physical movement. In fact, the device can disconnect to avoid any potential damage to the data should it detect anything untoward.
While this patent is not revolutionary, it is just another example of how Bank of America recognizes the potential growth of cryptocurrency
In the patent, they even state, “As technology advances, financial transactions involving cryptocurrency have become more common”. It’s also an example of crypto application to more centralized systems.
Having a company in control of the storage and management of assets may seem contradictory to the principles of crypto. However, such support from major corporations only makes crypto and blockchain more of a household name.
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