China’s Alibaba Group Holding’s possession of over 10 percent of blockchain patents worldwide shows China’s desire to dominate the emerging disruptive technology.
Alibaba – Secretly Securing Blockchains
While most people believe embracing the blockchain technology implies accepting cryptocurrencies, China seems to have taken a different approach with Chinese innovators seeking to drive blockchain technologies while concurrently hindering the adoption of cryptocurrencies.
Research by Thomas Reuters has shown of all the 406 patents filed and issued globally in 2017, 56 percent come from China while the United States holds a distant second place at 22 percent. From the 134 patents issued in 2016 to 406 in 2017, available data shows that China is leading the intellectual property rights race and is a definite winner.
A report in the Nikkei Asian Review shows that Alibaba Group Holdings filed 43 of the 406 blockchain patents closely followed by the other Chinese Tech Titans Baidu and Tencent.
In a field that’s currently dominated by the US with the overall number of blockchain patents filed, China is steadily closing the gap, but going by the annual levels it is in the lead. The Chinese blockchain innovators are applying the Distributed Ledger Technology in many industries including postal services, global financial transactions, supply chain management, and healthcare to name a few. Commenting on China’s relentless drive towards blockchain development and adoption, Eiger-Law’s Taiwan-based John Eastwood said:
“Blockchain is a new technological landscape where it could be very profitable for Chinese companies to grab significant territory in their patent claim language. Holding several patents helps to give an aura of legitimacy that helps many companies in the blockchain field to attract investors or acquirers.”
Starve Crypto, Nourish Blockchain
China is well known for suppressing cryptocurrency adoption via a hostile regulatory atmosphere that has barred cryptocurrencies and ICOs, having banned ICO fundraisings and cryptocurrency trading earlier on this year. The country has experienced auxiliary bans and online removals to enforce the restrictions.
Despite this, the Chinese government remains sympathetic to the blockchain technology that supports cryptocurrencies. The Chinese president Xi Jinping is on record describing blockchain technology as a “new generation of technologies that will substantially reshape the world’s economic future.”
Alibaba is China’s second most valuable company, and it remains open-minded on matters blockchain. The company’s founder and CEO Jack Ma is a proponent of blockchain technology who recently endorsed DLT. He said during a recent function in Hong Kong:
“Blockchain technology can help overcome the challenges of security, sustainability, and inclusion. It could change our world more than people can imagine.”