Bank of America Makes Another Bet on Blockchain

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Bank of America has made another dive into blockchain, joining Marco Polo, which is a group of financial outfits, banks, and tech partners working to improve international trade.

Marco Polo uses Corda, which is an enterprise blockchain platform designed and developed by R3.

R3 is itself an effort of banks and others to bring traditional financial infrastructure into the blockchain world.

The vision of many companies, including Ripple and Stellar, is one where the world’s massive existing banking system benefits, rather than gets outpaced by, blockchain technology.

Banking on Blockchain

Banks, too, want to leverage blockchain – and any other technology – in such a way that it helps them live longer, rather than become obsolete faster.

Bank of America has filed for blockchain patents previously.

Among major banks, it has been particularly investigative in the field, amassing dozens of patents. The bank may or may not still be the largest holder of blockchain patents – ahead of even companies like Coinbase or Bitpay, who hold relatively few.

International trade, remittance, and finance can benefit from blockchain in obvious ways. If nothing else, easing the settlement of large sums of money means companies will save untold sums in fees.

There may be a debate around the subject, but the ability to quickly settle transactions is crucial to cryptocurrency, and one of its great attractive qualities.

Even Bitcoin can be sent and received in an hour or so, which is faster, and easier, than most methods which came before it.

As far as decentralized options go, cryptocurrency is the only winner – nothing else has come along that makes equivalent sense.

Your Local Coinbase Branch…

Banks have had to reconcile that crypto is here to stay. From there, they’ve had to determine how it could impact their business. “Be your own bank” is a nice slogan, but probably not the way things will progress forward.

Rather, banks may ultimately play a role as stewards of everyday people’s crypto holdings. Just as Coinbase currently plays that role, your local bank could act as a wallet for your crypto. It could be secured in such a way that if the bank lost it, it would be insured the same as other assets you hold in the account.

The added security of accountability might ultimately be where banks and blockchain products can merge. Banks have been relatively slow to fully integrate anything close to a blockchain solution up to now, especially in ways that might affect consumers.

However, banks may eventually learn how to effectively offer products that newer crypto users, and people with a passing interest, might find appealing.