Most Blockchain Patents Last Year Were From China

The Chinese government's view of the cryptocurrency space, including blockchain technology, initial coin offerings (ICOs), and related projects and companies, has consistently made headlines for several months. News that the Chinese authorities were planning a crackdown on exchanges and ICOs prompted tumbles in the global cryptocurrency market, and the future of the industry in China remains unclear even now. However, despite the industry's precarious position, a new set of statistics by Thomson Reuters, reported by DecentralPost, indicates that China filed the largest number of blockchain patents in 2017.

China Accounts For Nearly Half of All Patents

2017 was a breakout year for cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based companies and projects. The industry captivated investors all around the globe, with huge numbers of new offerings in every possible category jockeying for investor funds and interest. Throughout the year, China dominated when it came to patents filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Asian powerhouse country was responsible for 49% of all patents in the blockchain space in 2017. The U.S. ranked second with 33% of patents filed.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) was first among the Chinese organizations that filed blockchain patents. Three of its branches submitted a total of 68 patent applications related to blockchain.

Blockchain Patents Increased Overall

China was not the only country to see significant interest in blockchain-related patents. Indeed, blockchain patent applications tripled in 2017 over the previous year. Cryptocurrency-related patent applications rose by 16% for a total of 602 new patents requested in 2017.

The Chinese government appears to have a sustained and significant interest in the blockchain space. The country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced plans to create a standardization committee for the new technology earlier this month. At the same time, the Investment Association of China (IAC) launched a blockchain-focused Global Blockchain Investment and Development Center with the aim of spurring additional research and development in the country. The IAC indicated that it "will vigorously promote R&D, application, promotion, investment and innovation of blockchains in China, [and] strengthen the integration and international cooperation of blockchain resources," according to bitrazzi. At the same time, the future of cryptocurrency trading in China remains in jeopardy

Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns bitcoin and ripple.

Take the Next Step to Invest
The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where listings appear. Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace.