Bank of America announced a “record-breaking year” for patents in 2021, with 512 patents granted across various technology categories, a 16% increase from 2020.
Cameron Wadley, a technology senior vice president, is part of that trend. He recently filed patent applications related to the valuation of non-fungible tokens, a type of digital ledger used to establish ownership of virtual assets.
With 62 patents filed and 35 issued, Wadley is one of the company’s “top inventors,” Bank of America said in a statement.
“What drew me to technology in the first place was the appeal of solving problems creatively,” said Wadley, who holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in business from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Q. You recently filed patent applications related to the valuation of non-fungible tokens. Without getting too technical, what are non-fungible tokens?
In a nutshell, non-fungible tokens are certificates of authenticity for real or virtual items. They can be used to demonstrate proof of ownership.
Q. You’ve been issued 62 patents since joining Bank of America. Again, without getting too technical, what are some of the others?
Some of my other patents help clients monitor their children’s spending, enrich their interactions with the bank virtually, and assess retirement readiness across their extended families.
Q. Do you think of yourself as an inventor?
I think of myself more as a problem solver than an inventor. Sometimes the problems in need of solving are of the garden variety, and other times they require thinking outside the box.
Q. When you are issued a patent in a corporate setting, do you benefit financially? Do you own it? Can you license that patent to others?
Providing innovative solutions for our clients is the day-to-day responsibility of all employees at Bank of America. We do recognize and celebrate our inventors; however, the bank retains the rights to the patents filed by employees for bank innovations. Innovation is factored into employees’ overall job performance, which helps drive employee compensation.
Q. What do you find most satisfying about your work?
The most satisfying aspects of my work are the culture of working together to solve meaningful problems and the knowledge that the ideas we come up with benefit clients on a very large scale.
Q. What advice would you give to a student or young professional who might be interested in this career path?
Do not allow your insecurity to deter you…every expert was once a novice. Some of the things we take for granted today once sounded ridiculous (e.g., cordless phones, computers that fit in your pocket, electronic payments). There will always be a desire for real problems to be solved, so the real question is whether you are brave enough to wonder, “What if.”