Alibaba Comes on Top for Blockchain Patents in 2017

Tencent, Alibaba’s archrival, ranks 22nd.

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Alibaba came out on top in published patents pertaining to blockchain technology in the past year, with Bank of American and China’s Digital Currency Research Institute of PBoC came in second and third, according to a joint report by IP-centric media IPRDaily and incoPat Research Center for Innovation Index.

The report shows that China is in a leading position on blockchain technology, with almost half (49) out of the top 100 companies (for published blockchain-relevant patents) worldwide having Chinese provenance. 23, or 33%, are from the U.S.

The world’s total value of digital currency shot up to US$ 600b (as of December 2017) from 17.7b in 2015, a 3300% yoy growth.

Most of Alibaba’s published blockchain patents were from its financial affiliate Ant Financial, in areas like charity, product traceback, medical care, etc. For instance, Ant Financial has developed an open and fully operational blockchain 2.0 platform, on which a number of charity programs are running. Utilizing blockchain’s distributive, traceable and unmodifiable functionalities, donations to these charities are now more transparent and able to be tracked down in case of misappropriation.

Though digital currency such as bitcoin and ether have grabbed rapt attention, none of Alibaba’s 49 patents is relevant to digital currency. HU Danqing, blockchain expert at the TechLab of Ant Financial said that the company sees blockchain as a trusted chain infrastructure that works in scenarios where trustworthiness plays an important role, such as the trustworthiness of data, items, and assets.

Writer: Ben Jiang