A pair of institutional giants have just secured cryptocurrency-related patents.
Bank of America (BofA) won a patent for a crypto storage platform in enterprise accounts, while Amazon won patents for cryptography and distributed data storage.
Bank of America’s patent, submitted for approval in June 2014, describes how the enterprise account will aggregate, or safely store, customers’ crypto assets. The patent filing states,
“As technology advances, financial transactions involving cryptocurrency have become more common.
For some enterprises, it may be desirable to aggregate cryptocurrency deposited by customers in an enterprise account.”
The patent emphasizes the possibility of making transactions and converting currency within the account, negating the need for exchanges by “simplifying the purchase and exchange of currencies and cryptocurrencies and reducing the fees associated with doing so.”
In a report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in February, BofA outlined how cryptocurrencies are a threat to traditional banking. As a hedge against fintech and its rapid transformation of legacy systems, BofA has been filing dozens of crypto and blockchain-related patents.
In June, Fortune reported the bank’s patent tally at that time. According to Catherine Bessant, BofA’s chief operations and technology officer,
“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.”
Meanwhile, Amazon was just awarded two patents. The first, filed in April, adds security to users’ signatures by “protecting the integrity of digital signatures and encrypted communications.”
The patent states,
“…the signature authority provides a key-distribution service that distributes blocks of cryptographic keys to authorized signing delegates. An authorized signing delegate contacts the key-distribution service and requests a block of cryptographic keys.”
Amazon plans to base the encryption system on a structure known in the cryptography world as the “Merkle tree.” A Merkle tree is constructed by hashing paired data, then pairing and hashing results until there’s only one hash remaining: the Merkle root. The goal of the process is to securely and efficiently verify large bodies of data.
“The collection of one-time-use cryptographic keys is arranged in a Merkle tree, and hash values associated with the one-time-use cryptographic keys are used to cryptographically derive a root node of the Merkle tree which serves as a public key for the signature authority.”
Amazon’s second patent, filed in mid-December 2015, focuses on data storage that would utilize a “grid encoding technique.” Data would be collected in “shards” and be logically grouped together and distributed. The techniques are designed for extending grids in data storage systems.