How hot is blockchain in China? “Even vendor aunties selling vegetables are talking about blockchain” is a saying spreading widely on social media—and it isn’t much of an exaggeration. Chinese companies, if not street hawkers, are racing to file patents tied to the technology that makes it hard to tamper with information.
Last year more than half of the world’s approximately 400 blockchain-related patent applications were from China, according to Thomson Reuters, which sourced data from the World Intellectual Patent Organization, a self-funding group under the United Nations. China nearly quadrupled its number of such filings in 2016. The US ranked second last year, with 91 filings compared to 21 in 2016. It’s all part of “land grab” underway as technology and financial firms around the world try to secure intellectual property centered around blockchain.