Bank of America patents crypto key storage just in case
If it needs to hold cryptographic keys, it aims to be ready.
It's better to be safe than sorry.
That's the tenet of both hardware cold storage wallets compared to hot wallets, and the Bank of America facing a technologically unpredictable future.
A hardened vault
"The invention provides for systems and devices for hardened remote storage of private cryptography keys used for authentication," the patent describes.
It elaborates by noting features such as a tamper-proof self destruct switch that deletes private keys in the event of unauthorised access, and a remote access system where "the private cryptography key(s) are accessible to, but not communicated to, the computing node only when the computing node is executing the authentication routine".
The point might essentially be to have its own plans for a cold storage environment, similar to what's already being used by most centralised cryptocurrency exchanges, especially the ones which don't want to get robbed.
The biggest exchange heists in cryptocurrency history have tended to be the result of not having this kind of system, and instead risking it with a hot (Internet-connected) wallet. For a bank that wants to store cryptographic keys, as one might when maintaining custody of a customer's blockchain digital assets, cold storage in a secure vault might be the only way to go.
This patent was awarded earlier this week, but it's far from the first blockchain patent for Bank of America.
It has filed about 50 blockchain-related patents to date, Fortune reports, as part of a "just in case" policy.
"We've got under 50 patents in the blockchain/distributed ledger space," said Bank of America's chief technology officer, Catherine Bessant, during the CB Insights Future of Fintech event in New York. "While we’ve not found large-scale opportunities, we want to be ahead of it. We want to be prepared."
Other big names are also exploring the area in a much more concerted fashion. Last week Sony announced that it would be creating a cryptocurrency hardware wallet, with every intention of commercialising it for wider usage.
Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC, ADA