loader image


Cryptocurrencies and patents

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that was initially outlined by Satoshi Nakamoto in a 2009 article. Even now, Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity is a mystery. It’s possible that this pseudonym is used by a group of persons that are working together. However, it is undeniable that Bitcoin’s whole idea as a revolutionary currency changed the worldwide financial industry. One of the so-called FinTech innovations is Bitcoin.

Blockchain is the foundation of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a great example of how blockchain technology may be used. The following is a description of blockchain:

A consistent and uniform agreement is written on a set of documents;

By acquiring one of these documents, every user can participate in the agreement.

Users’ ability to make modifications to any of the documents is governed by rules.

Any modification to one document causes the others to be updated as well;

The distributed agreement is owned by each user in an identical copy, and the agreement is constantly revised, which translates for each user.

Blockchain, to put it another way, is a decentralized and distributed database constructed with cryptographic algorithms and public and open registers. In practice, it is thought that Blockchain allows for the creation of a completely transparent, trustworthy, and secure data record despite the lack of a central governing authority to administer the data. As a result, it was possible to create, for example, the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, which is utilized for online trade without the need for bank oversight.

Many individuals ask if such ideas can even be protected. To begin, it is important to examine the nature of FinTech (finance + Technology) solutions.

Various nations’ patent laws

Each nation and patent office has its own set of acts and rules that govern patent law in their own territories. However, some common elements may be found in all laws, and they form the foundation of the patent concept. One of these is the need that the solution be of a technical nature. It can be phrased in a variety of ways, such as the innovation must have “a technical impact,” address “a technical issue,” or be “a creation founded on a technological notion, in which natural law is applied”. we can’t use patents to monopolize merely abstract ideas.

Similarly, monopolizing natural laws, scientific discoveries, or mathematical formulas and operations is not permitted. Schemes, rules, and techniques of mental activities, such as playing games or operating a company, as well as computer programs, are typically considered as intangible, and hence abstract, solutions that are not patentable.

That is why the financial element of FinTech is very difficult to patent. Financial transactions, particularly those conducted online, are a rather abstract idea, and it is difficult to approach them as technological creations. Making a difference between technical and abstract features, as defined by patent law, is extremely difficult, especially in current technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and blockchain.

Cryptocurrency patents are already granted

Following are some prominent examples of bitcoin patent applications that have been either filed or granted:

Patent number US10055715B1 was awarded by the USPTO in 2018 to the American firm SQUARE, which specializes in mobile payments. The claimed invention is a cryptocurrency payment network that solves the issue of request processing delays.

EP3387785B1: nChain, a FinTech firm specialized in cryptocurrency software, was granted a patent by the European Patent Office (EPO) in early 2019. The claimed invention is related to the security of blockchain-based operations.

EP3455999B1: Patent issued to nChain in July 2019. Cryptographic procedures that assure transaction security are the subject of the claimed invention.

MasterCard has been granted a patent by the USPTO for a technique of “controlling fractional reserves of block chain money.” The approach entails storing both fiat money and cryptocurrency in a same account. PayPal has submitted a patent application with the USPTO for a method that uses secondary wallets to supposedly speed up cryptocurrency payments. PayPal is working to improve the process of settling cryptocurrency payments between businesses and consumers on retail and e-commerce platforms. The usage of secondary wallets would let buyers and sellers to transmit their unique keys in a secure manner.