China filed the most blockchain patent applications in 2017, with more than half of the 406 blockchain-related patent applications filed coming from the country, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing data collated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
In total, the country filed 225 blockchain patents in 2017, compared with just 59 in 2016. The US was a distant second with 91 patents and Australia was a distant third with 13 patents, according to the report.
The blockchain-related patents Chinese companies filed covered a wide range of areas, from the distribution of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to the tracking of chickens, the report said. It also noted that from 2012 to 2017, among the top nine filers of blockchain patents, six were Chinese companies, led by Beijing Technology Development.
Analysts pointed out that the surge in the number of Chinese firms filing patent applications indicates that domestic investors have early plans to protect their ideas. Although the development of blockchain technology is still far away from mass market application, the patents will give them exclusive edges in a booming market that could potentially revolutionize finance and other supply chains.
The Chinese government is also taking a positive stance on the industry.
On Friday, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released a list of objectives to encourage development and standardization in the blockchain technology sector. And the ministry has already completed the first objective by hosting a research seminar to discuss how a standard framework should be built, according to the announcement.
Source: Global Times