China leads the way in blockchain tech

China is pushing forward with blockchain technology, leaving the rest of the world behind.

Last year, China filed more than half of all the blockchain patent applications.

As the rest of the world squabbles over regulating Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, China has recognized the potential in their underlining technologies.

In 2017, 406 blockchain-related patents were filed, with the majority of those applications coming from the Chinese market.

As interest in digital currencies boomed in 2017, applications for patents related to the blockchain technology that powers them tripled.

In 2016, China filed 59 blockchain-related patents, but last year that number jumped to 225.

According to data provided by Thomson Reuters, the US lagged behind with 91 applications, with Australia in third place with 13.

In a statement to the Financial Times, the editor at Thomson Reuters’ Practical Law, Alex Batterson, said:

“Companies are moving fast in order to protect their ideas in new areas of technological development — long before the technology actually goes to market.

“Patents are also important for companies to attract all-important investment.

“Investors need to know that a business owns and can capitalize on the intellectual property and will not face interference from other parties claiming ownership.”

Chinese firms lead the way

Between 2012 and 2017, six of the top nine firms filing for blockchain patents were Chinese.

Beijing Technology Development came out in the lead.

During the same period, however, researchers found the US’s MasterCard was extremely active, filing 25 applications.

The self-described “global leader in research and development of blockchain technologies,” Lichtenstein’s nChain Holdings, also filed 18.

As for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency applications, China has been less dominant.

The top filers for digital currency patents have been firms based in the US and Europe including ICBM with 54, Dutch company Gemalto with 35, Intel with 34, Thomson Licensing with 31, and Amazon Technologies with 27.

Shaky start

This news follows a few days of steady values for Bitcoin after a shaky start to the year.

The cryptocurrency market has experienced a tumultuous first quarter after price plummets in January and February.

At the time of press, Bitcoin’s value is at $8,150, according to the Coin Thud live price charts.

The current value is a welcome rise from the lows of just below $6,000 on February 6th.

It is still a far cry from the highs of close to $20,000 experienced in December 2017, however.