The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
has released nine more blockchain-related patent applications filed by Bank of America. Data collected by CoinDesk shows that the applications – which relate to conducting and settling transactions within a payment network – were all filed February 22. To date, Bank of America has filed more than 30 known patent applications related to the technology, including as many as 18 during 2016 alone. Combined, the breadth of the applications suggests that work is being done on blockchain-based payment systems within Bank of America. At the same time, the bank has issued no definitive statements on the subject to date, and it’s not clear whether any of the proposed inventions will see the light of day.
Yet past announcements from the bank hint at where some of the intellectual property may come into play. Last September, Bank of America and Microsoft announced a joint initiative aimed at applying blockchain tech to the area of trade finance. Working with Microsoft Treasury, which handles the tech giant’s corporate payments and strategic investments, the project is aimed at building a new blockchain-based system to facilitate transactions between the two companies. Still, it remains to be seen whether the project turns into something at commercial scale. And given the pace of patent applications seen thus far during 2016, Bank of America could be pursuing other intellectual property avenues as well.
Bitcoin prices have once more climbed past $4,400 following days of generally sideways movement within the $4,100–$4,200 range. Starting to pick up from around 22:00 UTC yesterday, prices across global exchanges opened the session at $4,362, and had reached a high of $4,420. Prices were again at that level at press time, a rise of 1.33 percent, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index. Those figures put prices around $85 short of the all-time high achieved on August 17, when bitcoin topped $4,500 for the first time ever.
Elsewhere in the markets, ethereum is up 3.49 percent for the day at $332.65, according to CoinMarketCap. New cryptocurrency bitcoin cash is down 2 percent, however, with prices at $642.95 at press time. A notable strong showing for privacy-oriented cryptocurrency monero today sees its price up over 14 percent, with one token now worth $98. Reflecting continued positivity in the digital asset markets, the market capitalization across all cryptocurrencies is once again at a record high, at just over $155 billion.