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B of A Readying Blockchain Patents: Report

Bank of America is preparing to submit 20 blockchain-related patents any day now to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, CNBC reported this week, citing a company spokesperson.

The bank has been intrigued by blockchain technology for a couple years, technology and operations chief Cathy Bessant said at a CNBC event in Davos last week, the report said. But the bank is still uncertain how it would apply the technology to its business. Right now B of A just wants to stay ahead of the curve.

"For us it's a balance between not wanting to be Neanderthal but not wanting to put something out in a commercial application" that is not ready for it, Bessant said in a videotaped interview that accompanied the CNBC report.

B of A had filed 15 blockchain patents as of December, Bessant said. They include a cryptocurrency wire transfer system and a cryptocurrency transaction payment system, according to the patent office's website.

The bank did not comment Friday in response to queries by American Banker.

Most other financial institutions have been leery of digital currency but intrigued by the potential use of blockchain, a related technology, to settle trades in real-time.

Goldman Sachs is the only other bank known to have filed a blockchain patent. The patent office publishes applications 18 months after their filing. Goldman is seeking to patent its own cryptocurrency that would guarantee instant execution and settlement of trades.

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