Think of cryptocurrency developers and names like Satoshi Nakamoto, Gavin Andresen, and Nick Szabo spring to mind. Individuals who place principles ahead of profit and are more aligned with open source principles than filing patents and closely guarding their secrets.

The only secret Satoshi guarded was his identity. It may come as a surprise then to learn that in the last decade, the company that has more cryptocurrency patents than any other is in many bitcoiners’ eyes the antithesis of everything decentralized currency stands for – Bank of America.

Since Bitcoin’s genesis block was mined nine years ago, over 2,000 related patents have been filed, Bitcoin Patent Report reveals. In the cryptocurrency’s early years, the number of patents was low, averaging under 50 a year, but by 2015 that figure began to pick up and by 2016 was growing exponentially.

Some of the companies whose names feature in the top ten are to be expected, such as Bitflyer and IBM, whose interest in blockchain is well documented. The computing giant has filed a total of 34 cryptocurrency related patents, but is outplaced by South Korean brokerage Coinplug, which is third on the list with 39.

Some entrants on the list are unexpected, either because they have publicly expressed little interest in cryptocurrency, or are not commonly associated with cutting edge technology. It makes sense that Mastercard would have an interest in digital payment systems, for example, but it is surprising to see them ranked ninth for cryptocurrency related patents, with 21 filings. Read more from…

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