You’ve probably heard of Bitcoin, but the real race is for the technology behind Bitcoin, the blockchain. Major companies are entering into a high-tech arms race to acquire blockchain patents faster than Kanye West can put his foot in his mouth.
At the time of this writing, over 2,000 blockchain patents have been filed in total, according to the Bitcoin Patent Report. Interestingly, the number of blockchain patents have risen on par with internet-related patents in the early days of cyberspace, rising from 165 in 1995 to 2,193 in 1998, according to a report by Harvard.
In 2017 alone over 1,200 blockchain patent applications were filed around the world, up from 594 in 2016. 78 percent of the applications came from the US and China, according to financemagnates.com.
Blockchain technology could decrease the time it takes to transfer funds, upgrade security, and save banks up to $20 billion a year according to a report from Santander InnoVentures. It could achieve this by eliminating the slow centralized financial systems currently in place. Which leads us to…
The company who has filed the largest number of blockchain patents is… wait for it. We’re gonna keep the suspense going for a bit as this story has an M. Night Shyamalan twist ending. “I see blockchain people.”
The Top Patent-Owning Companies:
GOOGLE - Google has filed for 9 blockchain patents related to securing information stored in their cloud. Unfortunately for Google, “Just blockchain it,” doesn’t have the same ring to it.
IBM - IBM has a total 27 blockchain patents and applications. IBM was awarded a patent for a system that verifies a blockchain’s integrity. So it’s like a blockchain verifying a blockchain. So meta.
MASTERCARD - Tied for 3rd, Mastercard has also filed for 27 blockchain patents. They are exploring accepting payment in Bitcoin and possibly other cryptocurrencies. Maybe they’ll change their name to Masterchain?
MICROSOFT - Microsoft filed for 40 blockchain-related patents. The patents mostly fall into the categories of accepting payment in crypto and securing data storage.
But, without further ado, the company who has filed for the most blockchain patents is… online consensus drumroll please…
Bank of America - Even after the bank banned credit card purchases of cryptocurrency, they have filed for 48 blockchain patents, related to payment systems, according to Bloomberg.
So, who do you think will the blockchain patent war? Google, Microsoft, Taco Bell? Let us know on social media.