China filed the most blockchain patents with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2017.
Blockchain is a world-changing technology which impacts finance, supply chain, healthcare, government, and many more industries. While many members of the community are fervent about the open source nature of blockchain projects, others are racing to secure intellectual property rights surrounding blockchain solutions.
China is the leader of the pack when it comes to filing blockchain patents, comprising over half of all the blockchain patents filed in the world in 2017 according to a report from Financial Times on March 25. At 225 blockchain patents, they more than doubled the number of runner-up US which only filed 91. In third place is Australia at 13 blockchain patents, according to Thomson Reuters.
This shows substantial interest in blockchain in China’s part and an upswing in research considering they nearly quadrupled the number of blockchain patents filed with WIPO in 2017 vs 2016.
This number may come as a surprise to cryptocurrency enthusiasts who have been following news on Chinese cryptocurrency regulations. China has imposed strict regulatory bans surrounding cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the country over the past year or so.
China’s patents do not appear to have a major focus on cryptocurrency, however. Cryptocurrency-related patents rose 16% in 2017, and US and European companies such as IBM remain the top filers in this category, just as they have over the last five years.
But China is in no way out of the blockchain game altogether. On March 23, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology based in Beijing announced goals founded in order to support and promote the development of blockchain technology.
Blockchain patents are coming from multiple sectors within China. For example, Bank of China filed for a patent regarding a blockchain scaling solution in September 2017. Chinese universities are also pursuing blockchain patents for applications developed on campuses across the country.