Blockchain patent applications from China-based enterprises have accounted for 67% of the world’s total, with the country’s e-commerce giant Alibaba and insurance giant PingAn being the most active filers in the first half of 2019.
According to a report recently released by IPR Daily (a Chinese site dedicated to intellectual property news) in collaboration with incoPat (a patent database collecting more than 100 million pieces of patent information from 112 authorities), the gap between China and the United States has been widened in terms of the number of blockchain-related patent applications, with China taking up 67% and the U.S. accounting for 16% in 2019.
Data shows that the number of blockchain patent applications has increased significantly and peaked in H1 2019. The top 10 most prolific applicants include Alibaba (322), PingAn (274), Nchain (241), Hangzhou Fuzamei Tech (122), IBM (104), ZhongAn Tech (99), Baidu (90), Launch Tech (86), China Unicom (81), and MasterCard (79).
China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba has been making particular efforts in blockchain R&D over these years. It has wan the champion with the most blockchain patents for two consecutive years since 2017. Insurance giant PingAn’s blockchain endeavor in 2019 is also eye-catchy with 274 filings submitted.
The top 100 list not only includes those dedicated blockchain enterprises like Nchain (the company founded by self-proclaimed bitcoin inventor Craig Wright), Fuzamei (one of the earliest blockchain firm in China), HyperChain, but also giants in various sectors like Baidu, Tencent, Microsoft, Alibaba, MasterCard, Siemens, Visa, Walmart, Huawei, Nokia, as well as banks like Bank of America and People’s Bank of China.
The number of blockchain patent filings is not necessarily an indicator of real-world application. However, the sheer speed and effort of these companies, especially those Chinese enterprises in embracing blockchain technology over these years are startling.