Tech 14 February 2019

Ed Drake

South Korea’s KEB Hana Bank files 46 blockchain-related patents

KEB Hana Bank, the largest foreign exchange bank in South Korea, has announced it has filed 46 patents for blockchain technology, in one of the largest single disclosures of blockchain IP ever disclosed, ZDnet reported.

The bank has covered 46 business models relying on blockchain technology through its filings, which cover methods for electronic contracts, for purchasing overseas products, and for the delivery of blockchain services to enterprise clients.

Part of the Hana Financial Group, the bank is a giant on the Korean financial scene, with the flurry of patent work seen as a vote of confidence from the group in the potential of blockchain technology.

In documentation published by the bank, several of these projects are already under development, with plans for rolling out more new blockchain systems over the coming months.

One of the patents described a blockchain service platform where buyers can access goods for sale overseas, without having to travel abroad. This is to be handled through smart contracts, automated where buyers and sellers meet on a specific transaction, with payment handled through an escrow service.

The bank is also reported to be working on a system of recording IOUs on the blockchain, allowing individuals to track money borrowed and loaned between acquaintances with an independent record written to the blockchain. 

According to Han Jun-Seong, vice-president of the bank, they were committed to developing ways of connecting new business models to the bank’s existing systems via blockchain.

“It is true that the blockchain businesses that have been introduced so far have had some bubbles. The patent applications are not just about applying blockchain technology into the banking [system]. It is important to connect the new business models and the bank’s internal system through a blockchain,” the bank official said, according to the news outlet.

The banking sector is behind a number of blockchain patent filings, with Bank of America the most prolific to date at over 50 patent applications filed. In one move, KEB Hana Bank comes close with its 46 patents, showing the extent to which mainstream finance is gravitating towards blockchain worldwide.

The move comes as the latest blockchain play from the bank, which was created as a single bank following a merger concluded in January. Since then, the bank has been aggressively active in expanding its blockchain operations, including becoming a member of the Ethereum Alliance. With extensive IP protection already tied up, KEB Hana Bank is primed to launch a blockchain payment system called Global Loyalty Network later in 2019.

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