Alibaba Filed for 10% of 2017 Blockchain Patents


Just like Amazon, Alibaba has been pushing to get into every industry it can.It should come as no surprise that China has been one of the most proactive countries when it comes to the crypto space. Not only have some of the most promising projects come from China, but given its current social trajectory, some of the strongest use-cases for blockchain technology could very likely start in China. After all, China wishes to advantageously position itself in the global markets in the next few decades and capitalize on this new development. 

According to research done by Thomson Reuters, 56% of all 406 blockchain-related patents issued in the entire world in 2017 came from China. The United States stood at a distant second with 22 percent. This is an astronomical increase from just 134 total blockchain-related patents in 2016 to 406 in 2017. The data shows us that there is a secret battle over intellectual property rights happening behind the scenes. And as of now, China seems to be leading the pack.  

However, what is most surprising is the amount of interest Alibaba has shown in blockchain technology. According to Nikkei Asian Review, Alibaba has 43 of the total 406 blockchain patents issued in 2017. Other Chinese companies, like Tencent and Baidu, were also some of the more prominent patent holders. Although the United States still leads China in the total amount of patients filed, China is quickly closing this gap. If we only look at annual numbers, in 2017 alone, China is leading.  

Although China has some well-documented hostility towards cryptocurrencies and ICOs, they have not been shy in their interest in blockchain technology. Chinese President Xi Jinping has described blockchain technology as being one of the forces which will “substantially reshape the global economic structure.” Perhaps what China sees in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology more specifically is an opportunity to get ahead on the United States. Indeed, Russia has said that similar reasons underlie its strong interest in cryptocurrencies which have the potential to upset the global dependency on USD in the future.  

In China, Alibaba is leading the space in making sure they have proper investments and patents relating to blockchain tech. They are thus positioning themselves as a global leader in this field for the future…

For example, local Chinese media reported last week that the Wuchang municipal government in China’s northeastern Heilongjiang Province has entered a blockchain partnership with Alibaba subsidiary companies Ant Financial and Alipay. The purpose is to stop food fraud and build consumer trust with the help of a distributed ledger system. The Internet of Things (IoT) has its benefits in making sure the supply-side of business is validated and Alibaba hopes to utilize blockchain technology towards this end.

Similarly, Alibaba hopes to expand this same business model to other supply chains and offer them an approach that would allow them to verify their supply partners and individual supply shipments. In other areas, we have seen Alibaba expand into healthcare where they plan to store medical data with a partnership with the city of Changzhou in the eastern part of China. With such a strong rise in blockchain-related patents from Alibaba, it is clear that China is overall going to be a hub of crypto-related technology in the future.