Innovators at all levels are patenting new systems to improve, stabilize and expand the Blockchain’s potential uses and reach. Nowhere is this more true in the fintech world, where blockchain patent development has been a major area of focus for Wall Street banks and foreign fintech giants alike.
This summer, Bank of America held around 50 blockchain patents, more than anyone at the time, although they’ve since been surpassed by Alibaba, who according to new research holds a full 10 percent of the world’s blockchain patents. Just one patent behind Alibaba is IBM, followed by MasterCard. Bank of America, by this point, is trailing in fourth place.
Ground level patent innovators and fintech giants are working together to push the horizons of the Blockchain’s capabilities. While some of these patents are developed by independent inventors, and subsequently bought up by the big banks and tech companies, many of them are developed by internal teams devoted to blockchain development.
JP Morgan Chase, for example, who holds at least 20 blockchain patents, has a whole team in New York for blockchain R&D. The department, known as the ‘Blockchain Center of Excellence’, was once spearheaded by Amber Baldet, who JP Morgan were smart to hire as a potential bridge to the hoodie-clad world of rogue anarcho-blockchain programmers. Baldet left JP Morgan in April to start her own app, but not before developing a patented privacy system for distributed ledger transactions.
The system in essence reverses the ledger’s famous transparency to afford greater privacy and security to its banking users. Baldet’s collaborator Samer Falah, JP Morgan’s VP of App Development Lead, previously worked on another patent for credit chain transparency, along with Head of Blockchain Engineering Suresh Shetty.
Shetty and Fallah collaborated again with Executive Director and Senior Product Manager Elizabeth Polanco Aquino, and Executive Director David Voell on yet another patent that uses the blockchain to reconcile network payments. That project was supported by Technology Solutions Architect Lawrence Drake and Executive Director Gavin Lonsdale in the UK, Head of Digital and Treasury Services Naveen Mallela in Singapore, along with a few independent contributors in Florida.
Point being, these intercontinental patent development projects are big, and the research is ongoing. JP Morgan Chase is working hard to make blockchain stable, safe and useful for fintech purposes, and they’re not even the biggest fish in the game. Every patented innovation brings crypto investment closer to mainstream adoption.
If big banks and fintechs are smart, they’ll put their creative energy and blockchain development resources into building stable systems for cryptocurrency investment. As it stands, the crypto community is in many ways divorced from Wall Street and the world of traditional investment. But, as Amber Baldet herself noted, “we’re going to need to do a better job at making software work not exclusively for one group or the other which will continue to bifurcate those power structures, but to actually integrate these things together into one thing.”
That “one thing” could look like “some kind of hybrid network of networks that can hopefully talk to each other,” Baldet described. Her search for a bridge between the public and private uses of blockchain reflects the spirit in which JP Morgan originally hired her, and more generally the way it and other private finance organizations are working to adopt (and adapt) technology born in the public world of anonymous hackers and programmers.
We should push for more private, commercial applications of blockchain because that’s where the most driven innovation is going to happen, and where we’ll see the solutions for some of blockchain’s most glaring obstacles (like crypto volatility, or ease of use to the layperson).
With transparency increasing where it counts, privacy and security developing where it’s necessary, and stability increasing, major fintech leaders are building an investing climate that, thanks to blockchain, is becoming safer than ever. The crossover between traditional and crypto investment is already happening.