Is Bank of America going crypto?

Bank of America has filed its 50th blockchain-related patent application, suggesting it's going into the crypto storage and ultimately trading business

Bank of America (BofA), arguably one of the largest blockchain patent applicants in the US, has filed for another patent for an online cryptocurrency storage system.

The bank has filed for “a system that includes a device with a processor configured to receive the first set of data elements and to obtain an encryption key from a memory”, according to the application.

“The processor is further configured to encrypt the first set of data elements using the encryption key, to embed the first set of encrypted data elements within a first block for the blockchain, and to generate a first encrypted element map identifying the locations of the first set of encrypted data elements within the first block,” the document reads.

READ MORE: Bank of America applies for yet another blockchain patent

It also explains “the processor is further configured to combine the encryption key with the first encrypted element map to generate a creator tag, to encrypt the creator tag, to embed the creator tag within the first block, and to publish the first block to a blockchain”.

A word from the experts

Various experts explain the application seems to be for a system that can easily record cryptocurrency transactions, which suggests the BofA is seeking ways to compete in the crypto deposits market.

READ MORE: Top 10 banks using blockchain

They believe the system could also be for a very advanced crypto wallet. Blockonomi wrote there “is probably more to it than that. Based on the numerous patents that they have applied for in the blockchain space, their latest invention may be a part of a larger plan that Bank of America has for cryptocurrencies in the near future”.

The VP who casts doubt

However, former BofA Vice President Michael Wuehler says all 50 patents filed by the bank are “meaningless”, and that publicity is the only purpose behind the applications to make the 113-year old bank appear as if it were a FinTech innovator.

“My name is on eight 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,” says Wuehler in a tweet. He quit Bank of America in 2016 to join Consensys.

READ MORE: World’s biggest firms backing blockchain

On 22nd February, the bank itself released its annual report in which it admits that cryptocurrencies represent a threat to its business model.

“Emerging technologies, such as cryptocurrencies, could limit our ability to track the movement of funds. Our ability to comply with these laws is dependent on our ability to improve detection and reporting capabilities and reduce variation in control processes and oversight accountability,” it said.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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