Many people might assume that a technology giant like the International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) or a small startup company operated from a studio apartment in Silicon Valley or the Czech Republic holds the most blockchain patents. However, those people would be wrong.
While IBM and Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA) share the second place with 27 blockchain-related patents each, technology editors at Bloomberg revealed in a recent article that the leader in this area is the Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC). EnvisionIP, a New York-based law firm that specializes in intellectual property, estimated that BofA received at least 43 blockchain-related patents, which would be the highest number of such patents among all technology companies and major banking institutions.
Bloomberg’s requests to BofA for more information regarding this subject were denied. However, Mark Pipitone, a spokesperson for BofA, did confirm by email that the bank does hold 48 blockchain-related patents.
Interestingly, Merrill Lynch – Bank of America’s investment arm – instructed its employees and investment advisers to refrain from offering any investment vehicle investing directly in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Currently, the leaders and management at the BofA seem to share the skepticism in Bitcoin as the future of currency and a method of conducting financial transactions, but believe that the real benefit of cryptocurrencies lies in the underlying blockchain technology.
It appears that large technology companies have been slow to embrace blockchain technology. At least, technology companies have been slower than some companies in the financial-services industry and other unrelated industries that are attempting to take advantage of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
For instance, share prices of Kodak and the Long Island Ice Tea company – rebranded as the Long Blockchain Corporation – tripled and doubled, respectively, following the announcements of their foray into digital currencies and digital currency platforms. It remains to be seen whether these major pivots in company business models will succeed or follow in the footsteps of many companies from the dotcom bubble. However, the banking and financial industries are a more natural and a much better fit for the blockchain technology.
The Bank of America’s share price rose only 0.9% between mid-January 2017 and early September 2017. However, between its closing on September 4, 2017, and 11 pm EST on January 16, 2018, the bank’s share price soared 37.3% from $22.86 to $31.39.
Ned Piplovic is the assistant editor of website content at Eagle Financial Publications. He graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Philosophy. Prior to joining Eagle, Ned spent 15 years in corporate operations and financial management. Ned writes for www.DividendInvestor.com and www.StockInvestor.com.