Bank of America Patents Blockchain Security Tools

A new Bank of America patent outlines how a permissioned blockchain might restrict users while still helping them access the information they need.

May 22, 2018 at 7:31 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:58 a.m. UTC

Bank of America has won a patent for a way to control access to certain aspects of a permissioned blockchain network, newly published documents show.

The patent for a somewhat innocuously titled "system for managing security and access to resource sub-components" explains how security tokens (essentially electronic keys, distinct from blockchain-based assets that mimic physical securities) would be used to grant access to certain users to the information contained in a particular block. According to the text, the system would be automated, effectively meaning that the network itself would grant and track access.

Bank of America was awarded the patent on May 22, according to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It represents the latest intellectual property development for the bank, which has filed many blockchain-related applications in recent years.

The focus on security and data privacy is perhaps unsurprising, given the sensitivity of the information that Bank of America might look to transmit across the networks. And it speaks as well to the wider issue of security in the crypto space today, given the all-encompassing need to keep private keys safe from malicious actors.

And, as Bank of America itself notes in the patent document, "with the advent of distributed/decentralized blockchain networks ... a need exists to develop systems ... that manage control over blocks of resources."

The bank explained:

"A need exists to provide designated entities/users the ability to readily identify blocks that are relevant to the designated users' concern and, once blocks have been identified, security features that assure that the designated entities/user that are accessing the blocks are, in fact, authorized users."

According to the text, the automated features would have the ability to grant access to the blockchain network for certain periods of time, depending on the scope of a user's reason for plugging in.

"Moreover, a need exists to control the access given to the designated entities/users, such as, by way of example, control over the period of time during which a designated entity may be granted access and/or the amount of access granted to the designated entity/user," the patent doc noted.

Bank of America image via hans engbers / Shutterstock

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