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Who aims to get the patents of cryptographic currency technologies?

Although Bitcoin and blockchain had already got a big influence in financial area, today patenting of cryptocurrency technologies and  lead-up of patenting fights have just started. Foremost it’s because of a long processing of license applications that can last for a several years. The main battle traditionally take place in USA, where are recorded most of the licenses in the earth.


Here we are not considered brands for a word Bitcoin and alike, because they are only an instrument of individualization and protect exclusively the image of the company in the eyes of consumers. Contrary to ordinary opinion, registration of the trademark can’t block the use of technology or specific technical solutions.


At the right moment, basically, there are not so many patents applications that link to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. The first published patents applications, particularly, referred to bitcoin, were submitted in 2011 and every year its number is growing.


Among those, who had decided to patent their achievements in  cryptocurrency field are greatly big technological and financial organizationss. IBM company had filed a patent application for tracking the cost of cryptocurrencies back in 2012.

Cryptocurrency start-up 21 Inc was sent two applications in USPTO, one of which was concerned of mining scheme cryptocurrency.


Even proclaimed himself the creator of Bitcoin Australian engineer Craig Wright decided to use his dubious fame. He could not identify himself as Satoshi Nakamoto but he submitted, neither more nor less, 51 applications in patent department of UK Bitcoin and adjacent technologies.

As it turned out, it was only money interest. Wright and his companions where going to sell the package of patents “for billions”, when cryptocurrency will become a global instrument. However, their chances to patent Bitcoin leave much to be desired.


A company BitGo also has submitted his application to propose safe platform and on-line wallet for bitcoin. On his page in Twitter BitGo has announced that the patents could be used only in protective aims.


One other operator like Coinbase filed nine applications to get the licenses in connection with Bitcoin.

According to the director of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong:


“Licences in business are a form of warfare. Our ultimate mission is to get Bitcoin related patents to employ them to protect Coinbase from patents trolls and help to the further growth of Bitcoin ecosystem.

One of the best ways to defend against patent trolls is creating own portfolio of patents, and that is exactly what we are doing, along with any other technology company. “


Recently  Blockstream, developer of   Lightning Network, told about some important steps, that it takes in field of intellectual property and about necessary to take safeguard measures. Blockstream hopes that other will see the advantages in such approach and will follow it suits.

James Murdock, vice-president of Blockstream:


“The ecosystem in which we work is changing rapidly. Innovations, which where generated within the community, and were exclusively focused on collective improvement, more often are held through more number of companies around the world. This growth is exciting, but there is no doubt that with it also comes a complicate set of faces and interests. Some of them can be more opportunistic in their mind when it comes to intellectual property rights.

To continue the driving force of innovations in our space we need an approach that considers not only the increasingly complex realities of today’s world but also his future realities. That is why we are taking steps of implementation the strategy of license protection. “


Banks not fall behind



30 October 2014, big bank  Goldman Sachs  submitted a license application with the name “Cryptographic Currency For Securities Settlement” that affirmed  priority of the previous patent application, preliminary filed 15 May 2014.

патент 2

19 November 2015 was published patent application with N 20150332395 (“395 Application”). Supplement refers to a settlement system of securities, that use blockchain technology  and cryptographic protocols for safe transactions in securities, practically instantaneous settlement. Applying application involves practicing of using the cryptographic currency, that calls  SETLcoin for facilitating the exchange of assets, such as securities, cash or other cryptocurrency.


If it will be able to get a patent (or family patents) by Goldman Sachs, that defend these transforming conceptions and technologies, than by dint of such patents rights it will help to bank to install a control of using this conceptions in new trade platforms.


Goldman can use patents rights to support  trade exclusivity with their own trade stage and/or monetize this rights  by removing licensing fees from other stages, practicing these technologies.

It should to mention that the other participants including Bank of America actively pursuing their private patent’s interests in this field. Since the organizations of financial services increasing their technological development in this evolving field, licenses will spread.

Bank of America in the end of December 2015 has published ten patents applications filled in USPTO relating to cryptographic currency. These licenses were at first submitted in June 2014. They were an addition to the existing bank’s license application for a wired transmission process with using cryptocurrency.

According to technical director of American’s Bank Catrine Bessal:

“It is very important to reserve our place in the world of intellectual property, even before we’ll understand what could be a commercial application, blockchain”


Based on submitted applications, one can understand the bank want to create a completely configured system of cryptographic currency and a platform that could facilitate the operations and work in tandem with paper currencies.

These applications cover practically all range of financial transactions:


  • Cryptocurrency Offline Vault Storage System
  • Cryptocurrency Transformation System
  • Cryptocurrency Transaction Validation System
  • Cryptocurrency Electronic Payment System
  • Cryptocurrency Suspicious User Alert System
  • Cryptocurrency Aggregation System
  • Cryptocurrency Online Vault Storage System
  • Cryptocurrency Transaction Payment System
  • Cryptocurrency Real-Time Conversion System

In turn, such traditional operational companies like Visa and Western Union, as well had started to accumulate a significant portfolio of licenses, covering various aspects of the economy in Bitcoin.

The operator of internet market eBay has also submitted 2 license applications related to cryptographic currency in the USPTO. At that, the internet giant has joined to the rivalry cryptographic and not cryptographic organizations that also have filled the applications in an attempt to defend their products.


Another big giant of internet industry Amazon get his patent that describes using of cryptocurrency as a remuneration for cloud computing services on Amazon Web Services (AWS). According to Jeff” Bezos, the general director of the company, this is a business in the amount of $ 5 billion and it grows fast.

A dog in the manger


Submitting license applications, some applicants chase their own commercial interests, while others say they are doing it to protect from “patent trolls.” But nothing   prevents the «white” license owner to block another creation, and eventually sell its patents.  Assembly of many patents in their industry, even not used, it has long been a common corporate strategy.

Big companies can employ their license to sue users of cryptocurrency and non-profit organizations, in an effort to slow the economy and keep people in fiat transactions.


It is clear that the major players of the financial and technology sector, filled bitcoin license applications and other cryptocurrency simply unable to refuse a piece of this tasty pie.

And therein lies the biggest risk for the entire ecosystem of cryptocurrency because of the appearance of monopoly on this kind of business, which is contrary to the idea of the existence of Bitcoin. After all cryptocurrency was conceived decentralized, and patents on such business is a step toward monopolization.