China dominates global blockchain patents

The recent endorsement by Chinese President Xi Jinping has accelerated an already fast-moving blockchain industry in the country. China seems to compete with the U.S. for blockchain dominance, and a recent report by the China Academy for Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) revealed that China is leaps ahead in blockchain patent filings.

Blockchain patents worldwide are concentrated in China, the United States, Canada, South Korea and the United Kingdom. From 2013 to December 20, 2018, China applied for 4,435 blockchain patents, accounting for 48% of the total blockchain patents, while the U.S. applied for 1,833 patents, accounting for 21%.

Nikkei reported that Alibaba Group topped the list of corporate applicants with 512 patent applications based on data from Innography. It is followed by U.K.-based nChain with 468 and IBM with 248. However, we believe these may have been cumulative submissions because China’s CAICT ranks nChain as first for 2017 and 2018, with Alibaba second for 2018 and forth in 2017.

China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) reported that China saw a total of 2,041 patent applications in the first quarter of 2019, up from just 317 during the same period in 2018, according to Sina Finance.

“The rapid growth of the number of patents in China’s blockchains not only represents China’s emphasis on and promotion of blockchain technology but also indicates that China will have greater international influence in the blockchain sector,” said the “China Blockchain Development Report (2019)” released on November 16 in Beijing.

For those unfamiliar with nChain, its Chief Scientist is Doctor Craig Wright who at times has claimed to be Bitcoin’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto. (Most disagree, and Wright has sued some of them for calling him names.)

According to the CAICT table of global patent applicants, in 2017, half of the top 20 were from China. In 2018 the figure rose to eleven out of 20.

A few months ago, IDC…

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