Tech 27 December 2018

Ed Drake

Bank of America files patent for blockchain-powered cash handling

Bank of America has filed a patent for “banking systems controlled by data bearing records”, in a filing published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Dated June 2017, the patent describes a system for facilitating cash handling via the blockchain, leveraging the advantages of distributed ledger tech for improving efficiency and effectiveness.

In the abstract, Bank of America sets out its vision for the system, which would be used in conjunction with cash handling devices to improve accuracy and speed. It noted, “Aspects of the disclosure relate to deploying, configuring, and utilizing cash handling devices to provide dynamic and adaptable operating functions.”

Institutions from retailers to banks are heavily reliant on cash handling functions, and recording and communicating data from individual operating centers to HQ. However, with the limitations of existing protocols, this can be time consuming for some businesses.

According to the patent, banks in particular run into difficulties in communication between cash handling operations, especially across larger institutions with multiple locations.

“Cash handling devices may be used in operating centers and other locations to provide various functions, such as facilitating cash withdrawals and deposits,” the filing stated. “In many instances, however, it may be difficult to integrate such cash handling devices with technical infrastructure that supports banking operations and other operations while also optimizing the efficient and effective technical operations of the cash handling devices and various related computer systems.”

The system would allow operating centers to share data quickly and accurately on the blockchain, providing an audit trail as well as an efficient means of recording cash handling data.

It comes as the latest patent application from Bank of America, one of over 50 that have been tied up by the firm over the past few years. In the last year, the bank has been more active than most in securing IP protection for ideas and systems around the blockchain space.

While there are limited details about whether and how Bank of America intends to use its patent, the system described would no doubt be welcome by banks and other institutions engaged in volume cash handling business.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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