ICBC's First Blockchain Patent Is Now Public

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), one of the country's four largest state-owned commercial banks, is exploring a way to authenticate digital certificates and store data in a sharable blockchain.

According a patent application filed with China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), the bank aims to use a blockchain system to improve the efficiency of certificate issuance and save users from repetitively filing the same document to multiple entities.

The technology, based on the patent, touts a system where a certificate issuer will first match a user's credential with a particular certificate digitally. After it's approved, the data will be encrypted and moved onto a blockchain which will update the distributed ledger held by different entities that could potential require this certificate.

By further decrypting the data with users' specific credentials, the system will allow entities to view an authenticated document digitally to streamline its operation flow.

The patent, currently the first blockchain-related one filed by the bank with the SIPO, was first submitted in November 2017 and released on Friday.

It explained that the technological exploration stems from the current pain point where consumers are constantly being required to submit the same certificate - such as for birth, marriage or eduction - by different entities they are dealing with.

"Traditionally users have to obtain a certificate from an authority that issues it, which does that manually. And then they present it to entities that require the certificate. This process is inefficient and poses the counterfeit issue," the bank wrote in the document.

The patent application marks another effort taken by a Chinese state-owned commercial bank to utilize blockchain technology in data storage and sharing.

Recently, Bank of China has also detailed in a patent application its move to develop a technology that it claims to be better able to enhance blockchain's data storage and process capacity.

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