Bank of America Envisions Blockchain As Internal Ledger

A newly released Bank of America patent application proposes securing health records on a permissioned blockchain.

AccessTimeIconApr 12, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:49 a.m. UTC

Bank of America may be looking into replacingsome of its existing data sharing systems with a blockchain, according to a patent application released Thursday.

The filing, published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), outlines a permissioned blockchain which, if implemented, would securely record and authenticate personal and business data, ensuring only authorized parties can access it. Further, the system would keep a log of everyone who accesses the data, according to the application.

The document proposes using such a blockchain as a way to combine existing data storage platforms into a single secure network, increasing efficiency by reducing the number of storage locations for a user's data.

According to the document, which was first filed in 2016, service providers and private individuals are increasingly using the internet to share personal and business records, primarily through dedicated web portals and email attachments. However, "there are a number of disadvantages to using this type of electronic record sharing method," including having to repeat the process for each company and the risk of data corruption.

Using a blockchain would create a more efficient system, wherein an individual can store all of their records in a single digital ledger. Businesses and service providers would be able to access these records as necessary.

Notably, this would be a permissioned blockchain, the filing notes. It continues:

"Embodiments of the invention utilize a private blockchain to store various types of records to be conveyed to the service providers. In this way, the individual or entity may securely store on the blockchain all records relevant to service providers, then provide the service providers with secured access to said records such that the providers may access only the specific records for which they are authorized, e.g. a healthcare provider may access only the healthcare records on the blockchain."

Bank of America image via Peter L. Gould / Shutterstock

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