Today, blockchain projects are proceeding in nearly every major industry and occur in more than 140 countries. According to blockchain IP landscape research by Perception Partners, over the past three years, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of patent families publishing in the United States, Europe, Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), China, Japan and Korea is about 23%. The space has more than 13,000 global competitors of every size with nearly 23,000 inventors or authors disclosing or researching blockchain innovations. Much has been written about Bitcoin and blockchain technology, including a prior article in which we provided an overview on “The Bitcoin Network, Blockchain Technology and Altcoin Futures.” To keep pace with the evolving nature of blockchain intellectual property and technology, below we provide some sample use cases of how blockchain innovations are already being leveraged in commerce and likely to be exploited in the near future.
In 2008, as the financial markets crumbled in the largest economic crisis the world has seen since the 1930s, Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper describing his Bitcoin network and the blockchain technology that was used to enable it. Since then, while markets have recovered, Nakamoto’s creation has flourished and spawned countless other “altcoins” along with new uses and applications for his blockchain technology and its derivatives. Because the Bitcoin network and blockchain technology have become key components of today’s digital economy, it is important for attorneys and others to understand the basic terminology and features of this technology. This article provides high-level explanations for this purpose.