The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has applied for four public patent applications related to cryptocurrency trading platforms, according to an exclusive report by The Logic.
The Toronto-based bank, which boasts over 16 million clients, has reportedly been exploring using blockchain technology in its operations since 2017.
It’s now been suggested that RBC is considering launching bank accounts which are integrated with digital assets to allow customers to simultaneously store fiat currencies and digital assets side by side.
The planned exchange would also allow RBC customers to buy digital assets online and even in some physical locations.
Tokenisation of existing assets
The news follows remarks last year from David McKay, the CEO of RBC, who indicated that the bank was exploring blockchain technology for the tokenisation of existing assets and for its use in private equity.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this January, McKay explained:
“We’re experimenting with taking an asset and breaking it into smaller pieces and registering that in a decentralised register called blockchain. You can take an asset or even a company and create a unit on a decentralised blockchain and then sell that into the marketplace.”
McKay cited increased liquidity and access to markets as drivers behind the bank’s adoption of blockchain technology.
The discovery of RBC’s patents could signal the latest move by the bank to make access to cryptocurrencies easier for a wide range of customers.
If a large institution such as RBC provided an easy on-ramp for customers to buy crypto with fiat, it would facilitate a secondary marketplace for tokenisation as McKay’s comments suggested.
However, the report by The Logic states that RBC has yet to officially comment on the findings, and it’s unclear exactly what the bank will be pursuing through its patent applications.
RBC isn’t the only financial institution to explore using digital assets. American multinational investment bank JP Morgan launched its own cryptocurrency in February and also led the creation of a blockchain banking network, which has seen the likes of Deutsche Bank join its ranks.