Barclays filed two applications with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on Thursday (July 19), reports in CoinDesk said. Both applications relate to application of blockchain technology. One describes a blockchain platform to accelerate cryptocurrency transfers, while the other describes a blockchain solution to streamline Know Your Customer (KYC) processes.
The filing related to cryptocurrency transfers outlines the use of blockchain in a solution that could benefit the financial services space, where consumers would be able to more easily "register for a crypto account or wallet, with no or minimal documentation or process." Barclays also noted that the technology could make it easier for merchants to accept digital payments, while reducing the cost to do so.
In its filing detailing a KYC solution using blockchain, Barclays said, "Banks in particular may benefit by a significant reduction in the processing and financial costs of maintaining systems of record, and providing the necessary scrutiny to regulators and others."
Barclays has been an investor in blockchain for years. In 2016, the bank said it completed its first successful test of using blockchain to fulfill a trade finance transaction. However, competition is fierce in the financial services community to get ahead on blockchain adoption.
Barclays' patent filings follow only a few days after American Express (Amex) filed its latest blockchain-related patent application. Amex's filing pertains to using blockchain to provide proof of payment, and linking that technology to a "public key" associated with a merchant ID. Information would be encrypted and stored on a blockchain. The company offered one potential use case for the technology: a consumer making a hotel reservation and using a smartphone with verified proof of payment to unlock the hotel room door.
Walmart, too, has filed and secured several blockchain patents. Last month, the retailer was awarded three blockchain-related patents related to consumer utility bill management, patient data storage and access management of a "real or virtual space."