Alibaba, IBM, MasterCard Top Global Blockchain Patent Rankings

While the disruptive and innovative blockchain technology continues to find increasing use across multiple business sectors, a lot of patents are being filed for developing unique, new-age blockchain-based systems and applications to get the early mover advantage. A new study conducted by IPRDaily, a leading global intellectual property (IP) technology media firm which focuses on IP services and IP industry ecosystem, ranks the global companies based on the number of patents filed, according to CoinDesk.

Chinese and American Companies Dominate the List

Among the companies leading the drive to build blockchain-based applications, Jack Ma’s Chinese conglomerate Alibaba Group Holding Inc. (BABA), along with its affiliate companies, ranks first, with a total of 90 patent filings that are focused on blockchain-related technologies. The leading information technology company, International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), comes a close second with 89 patent applications. The third place position is held by global payments & technology company Mastercard Inc. (MA), which has 80 patent applications.

NYSE-listed investment firm Bank of America Corp. (BAC) grabs the fourth place in the coveted list with 53 blockchain patent filings, and People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the Chinese central bank, holds the fifth place with 44 applications. PBoC is among the first few central banks of the world which is actively working on its own central bank digital currency. Over the last one year, PBoC’s Digital Currency Lab has filed for more than 40 patent applications, as the central bank envisages harnessing the power of blockchain-based digital currency to boost its existing monetary system.

The list also includes other leading corporations in the financial and technology sectors which have filed at least 20 blockchain-linked patent applications. They are Tencent Holdings ADR (TCEHY), Accenture PLC (ACN), Intel Corp. (INTC), Visa Inc. (V), Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL) Google, Ping An Insurance, Bitmain, Sony and China’s State Grid Corporation. (See also, Crypto Mining Giant Bitmain Is Going Public With A $40-$50 Billion Valuation.)

The ranking is based on the information available as of August 10, and sourced by IPRDaily from various patent application systems, databases and agencies. Along with country-specific sources, like those from the U.S., Europe, China, Japan and South Korea, IPRDaily also took details from the International Patent System from the World Intellectual Property Organization. (See also, Most Blockchain Patents Last Year Were From China.)

A patent grants a property right to an inventor by a sovereign authority and fosters innovation. It allows the patent holder to capitalize big by having a monopoly on the patented technology or system for a specified period of time, or seek royalties from other enterprises which may be willing to use it in their own products or services. At times companies may not use the patented technology, but they still secure the patent to prevent a competitor from launching anything similar, or keep it for use across larger offerings planned for the future. (See also, How Patent Trolls Hurt Competition?)

Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual’s situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns no cryptocurrencies.


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