According to a recently-published patent filing, Bank of America has, since October of 2016, been pursuing a patent on a blockchain-based data storage system. This system would use blockchain's authentication capabilities to store data securely while providing access only to authorized users.
As described by the patent brief, the data storage system would be able to not only maintain security, but would also allow differentiation of users in terms of what types of data they could access. The brief gives as an example allowing healthcare providers to access one portion of the blockchain containing health and medical records. In this way, a single blockchain could contain many different types of data, all of which would only be accessible by a certain subset of authorized users.
Another advantage of using blockchain as described in the patent application is its ability to authenticate data. More traditional means of storing and conveying data to users lack this capability, allowing for data corruption and falsification of records. Blockchain technology makes such errors and deliberate falsifications virtually impossible, which could greatly improve the overall quality of data available to the service providers who use a blockchain-based data storage system.
Bank of America is not the only financial institution currently working toward the development of blockchain-based data systems. Most notable among its competitors is the Bank of England, which is exploring the use of blockchain technology to increase user privacy in transactions while simultaneously retaining its ability to regulate them. Similar efforts have generated interest from central banks around the world over the past year.
Though the patent application was filed on October 12, 2016, there has not yet been any word on whether or exactly when the US Patent Office will grant Bank of America the patent to a blockchain data storage system. The proposed system is currently one among many innovations based on blockchain that are being processed through patent offices worldwide.