Over the past few months, major companies have applied for multiple blockchain related patents. The major companies include Barclays, Bank of America, MasterCard, IBM, Alibaba, CoinPlug and other wide array of companies like Google, eBay and Alphabet.inc.
The facts show that most of the patents filed are from the country of China (910) which make up almost 50% of the total filings, U.S. follows on the second number (676), UK has a total of 112 and South Korea has 98. Putting aside the merits and demerits of the patents filed and how they would help a company in its growth, the mere presence of the patents in such huge volumes in specific countries show the involvement and interest of a country in the field of cryptocurrency, blockchain and bitcoin. Moving on, if we take a look at some of the patents filed by some of the major companies around the world:
Barclays filed a patent to create a digital currency network on Blockchain. The bank proposed a system that allows the users to create and destroy digital currency units on blockchain. The patent points towards a system where a user could deposit an amount in the bank and convert it into digital currency, then withdraw the amount without altering the balance between the value of money in digital currency and in all other currencies. In layman terms, they envision to create a stablecoin. In addition to the patent, they filed two other patents which outline how a blockchain system could be used to enhance security and efficiency of identity verification. The authors of the first patent state;
This may result in improved security, better risk decisions and a financial opportunity for the operational role that they may now play in retail and other transactions.
Similarly, Coinbase has been awarded a patent for Bitcoin security concept.
This year, earlier in March, Walmart filed a patent called “Smart package”. Walmart has already started working on the project and has made significant progress in the domain.
Bank of America (BoA) has claimed to have filed the most number of patents being on the top of the list with 45 patents filed. It recently filed a patent for the external validation of data. Their patent proposes tracking resource data and confirming resource transfers while keeping in mind that:
A need currently exists for providing a more accurate indication of a user’s financial standing by allowing external validation of data in a process data network.
In the early days of cryptocurrency, the number of patents averaged to be almost under 50 a year, but by the end of 2015, the figures fired up exponentially. Some of the main companies in this domain include BitFlyer and IBM and the South Korean brokerage, Coinplug, which has filed 39 in total. Some companies on the list are unexpected because they’ve shown low to no interest in cryptocurrency. This makes sense that MasterCard would be interested in the digital currency with almost 19 filings, ranked 9th on the list of cryptocurrency filings, while it is surprising to see Bank of America ranked on the top with 45 patents.
A Blockchain patent essentially is like any other patent which is a set of rights issued by the government authorities or higher officials that a company or an individual (Inventor) gets when they reveal their inventions to the general public.
Patents generally attract investors and protect property rights. So it may be right to say that patients somewhat help a company with the financial framework and brings it out into the market. Bloomberg stated;
The blockchain patents are an essential ingredient for companies looking to reshape the financial services industry or spawn profitable cryptocurrency related businesses.
Some companies use the patents in blockchain and crypto domain to keep up with the industrial competitors. For example, the patent filed by Walmart is a good example of a company that is showing interest in technological advancements to keep up with the industry competitors. The example of PayPal is also notable which used patents to make up for the lost market space. This healthy competitions in the market resultantly help the users in a sense that they create an environment of innovation in technology.