UBS Seeks IP Protection for Smart Contract Blockchain Validation

In a patent application released by the USPTO, money manager UBS indicated it was considering using smart contracts to validate transactions.

Dec 5, 2017 at 6:35 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:14 a.m. UTC

The world’s largest financial services company is looking into creating more secure computer systems.

In a patent application released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last Thursday, UBS explains how it might use a distributed ledger to validate transactions by creating a permanent record of every action committed on the chain.

The key advantages a distributed ledger has over traditional technologies is its decentralization and immutability, according to the application.

The document emphasizes:

“Although a number of non-blockchain-based technologies related to account and data security, authentication, and verification exist (e.g., authorization/access to financial or other accounts, verification of buyers of purchase transactions, verification of owners of securities, verification of notaries of documents, etc.), many of these technologies rely on trust of the third party managing the database and/or lack one or more benefits of blockchain technology.”

The application noted the use of smart contracts to automatically register that a record is added to the chain. Once the record is added, the user will automatically receive a notification sent by the same contract.

UBS indicated it could either put the smart contract on the same blockchain that stores the data being added or develop two separate blockchains: one to store the data, and one to hold the smart contract monitoring data additions.

The company has long been interested in blockchain applications, with UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti saying he believes blockchain technology "play a big role in changing and reshaping our industry" this past October.

Putting their money where their mouth is, the company had already revealed a trade transaction platform built on a blockchain in partnership with IBM late in 2016. Called Batavia, the project has been expanding with four major banks joining the effort near the beginning of October 2017.

UBS image via Denis Linine / Shutterstock

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