December 14, 2018
Bank of America (“BoA”) was recently granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for an offline storage solution for private cryptographic keys. This patent adds to BoA’s growing portfolio of over 20 cryptocurrency-related patents, and over 50 patent applications.
This patent, titled “Systems and devices for hardened remote storage of private cryptography keys used for authentication”, provides for systems and devices that allow for tamper-responsive, remote storage of such keys. If physical or non-physical tampering takes place, a signal is sent that causes the deletion of the private cryptography keys from its memory. Essentially, the patent would be used to create a platform that is a bank for these private keys.
According to BoA, such private keys are typically connected to the public network’s local storage and are therefore susceptible to misappropriation. Even if it is noted that unauthorized access has occurred, there is no real time response. This technology is allegedly tamper-responsive in real time, resulting in the deletion of the keys from the memory of the storage device.
BoA is taking a proactive approach to this industry, even if its patents do not have immediate use. In June 2018, BoA’s chief operations and technology officer, Catherine Bessant, noted that: "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." This is a clear indication that large financial institutions are proactively seeking to protect their customers from malicious technological attacks in the pursuit of fostering a safe environment for the emerging cryptocurrency industry.