When a new revolutionary technology like Blockchain emerges, the world’s largest corporations rush in to incorporate its benefits into their everyday workings. We can see the same thing happening with how FinTech companies have responded to Blockchains. This is evident in the data that shows that the rate of blockchain related patents has nearly doubled in 2018. Let’s take a look at how these companies plan to use Blockchain technology.
Perhaps the most obvious use case for Blockchain related patents is Coinbase, the largest Bitcoin to fiat exchange in the US. When in 2014, the California based firm filed nine patents related to Blockchain trading, hot wallets, and instant transfer, users were angry. The response of the users was so fierce because they believed that patents go against the spirit of cryptocurrencies. In its defense, Coinbase’s CEO Brian Armstrong said that it was only filing patents to defend itself against larger corporations. Armstrong also claimed that it would not proactively go after smaller startups to sue them and so far has held up quite well on that promise. This dynamic of filing patents to protect a company from other more prominent players, unfortunately just a sad reality of doing business in America.
Microsoft is one of the most supportive corporations when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Microsoft had started accepting Bitcoin payments on its website in 2014 when almost no one had even heard of cryptocurrencies. As reported by Clarivate, Microsoft has some 40 patents related to the use of Blockchains as payment gateways and for secure storage. Bill Gates and several of his non-profit organizations have looked at Blockchains to try to improve the workings of their organization.
Bank of America
Bank of America has recently applied for nine more Blockchain related patents leading to speculation that the bank is exploring Blockchain based payment systems and trade settlements. Last year Bank of America announced it was investigating the use of Blockchain Technology to enhance its technological, financial department and make its internal processes more efficient thanks to the power of the Blockchains.
MasterCard made waves in 2014 when it filed several patents to build a payment gateway that accepts Bitcoin and perhaps even other cryptocurrencies. In the filing, the patent was described as “Method and System For Instantaneous Payment Using Recorded Guarantees.” So even though the existence of Bitcoin threatens fintech companies like MasterCard, they are looking at employing the quick settlement benefits of Blockchains with their payment channels. MasterCard, however, released a statement later that said it is merely exploring the Blockchain Technology and the move should not be construed as an endorsement of Bitcoin.
Even though Amazon has publicly stated that it is not interesting in accepting cryptocurrency payments, there are reports that it might be working on Blockchain related payment gateways of its own. These rumors were made even stronger with its filing of Blockchain based cloud computing patent. Amazon Web Services, a 5 billion dollar cloud computing platform detailed a plan for using cryptocurrencies to pay for cloud computing services. This is excellent news for the cryptocurrency space in general as it puts Amazon in competition with Blockchain startups like the Golem Network and the Sia Storage Network.
Apple recently filed for a Blockchain related patent that is aiming to streamline the process of creating and verifying timestamps. Data integrity is one of the core features of Blockchains that can be applied to supply chain management, and Apple looks to be doing something similar to their new patent.
Here’s a list of the top 10 companies with Blockchain related patents.
|Name of Company||Number of Patents||Sector|
|SECURITY FIRST CORP||64||IT|
|TORONTO DOMINION BANK||19||Finance/Fintech|
|ACCENTURE GLOBAL SERVICES LTD||11||Consultants|
Based on research data provided by Clarivate.