The second-largest U.S. bank, based in Charlotte, N.C., filed an application entitled “Multi-Tiered Digital Wallet Security” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in February 2018. The USPTO published the application last week and lists Manu Kurian, senior tech manager at the bank, as the inventor.
Bank of America is seeking to patent a “partitioned” security system for digital currency wallets that gives different users different levels of access to the stored funds.
The application describes the handling of digital currency with a multi-tiered wallet interface in a decentralized peer-to-peer network. Users would be prompted to enter one password out of several, and one password would open one tier of the wallet while another password would open a different tier. (Think of a valet key that can open a car door but not the trunk.)
Conceptually, the proposal resembles certain types of multi-signature bitcoin wallets, which have been around for years.
The background section of the application explains that there is a need for better digital wallet infrastructure since private keys can be lost and third parties don’t let users exercise complete control over their currency.
The application points to a multi-tier arrangement as one way to improve security:
“Through the digital wallet interface, a user of the user computing device may be able to partition digital currency holdings into one or more differentiated storage compartments or tiers. Each of the one or more compartments may be password secured and may only permit access to the amount of digital currency holdings specified by the user.”
To date, Bank of America has won 36 blockchain patent applications, with 31 pending.
Bank of America Files Patent for Multi-Tiered Digital Currency Wallet
United States-based investment banking company Bank of America (BofA) has filed a patent for a digital currency wallet with multiple layers of asset access. The proposed wallet would accept different passwords for different amounts of funds requested.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office published BofA’s application on Aug. 15. Per the filing, this technology would comprise a computing platform with a digital wallet interface.
The platform would be configured to operate within a peer-to-peer network for blockchain management – which could potentially be public or private.
The application points to Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) as examples of digital currencies that are increasingly gaining attention, and – per the filing – driving the need for better wallet infrastructure. As an example of how the wallet could work with top cryptos, BofA says:
“As an illustrative example, the user may have logically abstracted 4 BTC and 20 ETH in the first tier of the digital wallet interface. The user may specify a first network function request for the Bitcoin decentralized P2P network involving 3 BTC and an address within the Bitcoin network, and a second network function request for the Ethereum decentralized P2P network involving 10 ETH and an address within the Ethereum network.”
According to the filing, there are currently a number of issues with cryptocurrency wallet security, particularly in regard to private key management. Namely, private keys held by users are susceptible to theft or mishandling, and private keys held by third parties are no longer wholly-owned by users. BofA believes that their multi-tiered wallet system would be more secure than current wallet systems.
A patent for settlements
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, BofA has also filed a patent application for a settlements system. The technology in question apparently involves a digital ledger, shared by multiple banks, that would allow them to conduct settlements in real time. The patent apparently cited a “refunded ripple settlement”, but made no mention of Ripple’s XRP.