According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, 2017 was a lucrative year for blockchain patents, in which the absolute lead goes to China, as the Financial Times reports.
Out of a total of 406 patents filed last year, more than half of them — 225, to be exact – were filed by the very same country where crypto is banned in many shapes and forms, followed by the US with 91 filings, and Australia with 13.
Patents relating to crypto in general — not just blockchain — rose 16% to 602 in 2017. Alex Batteson, editor at Thomson Reuters’ Practical Law, said, “Companies are moving fast in order to protect their ideas in new areas of technological development — long before the technology actually goes to market.”
Led by Beijing Technology Development, Chinese companies made up six of the top nine filers for Blockchain patents from 2012 to 2017. While not all patents lead to workable products, the data is significant in that it indicates activity in the industry.
Meanwhile, officials, business leaders and influential media outlets in China have been striking a promising tone this year toward blockchain, as previously reported by Cryptonews.com.
In March, at the major legislative session in Beijing known as “Two Sessions" blockchain technology and cryptocurrency regulation were among the topics discussed in detail.
Zhang Jindong, chairman of electronics retailer Suning Holdings Group, proposed to adopt appropriate legislation regarding data security and expand the adoption of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology. Meanwhile, Pony Ma, chairman of China’s Tencent Group, said that blockchain technology “is indeed an innovative and potentially good technology, depending on how it is being used.”
Jindong and Ma both are deputies to the 13th National People’s Congress.
Local government officials are also pushing forward the development of blockchain technology in their own parliamentary sessions.
In the US, however, it would seem that blockchain adoption has hit a plateau: when asked about their top concerns about blockchain technology, bankers and capital markets executives cited lack of an obvious business purpose, total cost uncertainty, and interoperability issues, among the major biggest stumbling blocks, American Banker reported.
“Technologies typically take 15 to 20 years to mature to usefulness,” said Robert Palatnick, managing director and chief technology architect at the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, according to the report. Palatnick added, “If you have a 3-year-old child, no matter how smart that child is, you wouldn’t send it to college.”