Cryptocurrencies and Patents: What Does That Even Mean?

Cryptocurrencies and Patents: What Does That Even Mean?

With the rise of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, there have been questions about the implications for intellectual property and patents due to the previously unseen nature of the technology and processes. On March 1st, PayPal filed a patent for a cryptocurrency system.

PayPal hopes to change the slow transaction time some customers have previously faced to compete directly with traditional payment methods[1]. PayPal’s ‘Expedited Virtual Currency Transaction System’ will create second wallets with their own private keys that will have ‘predefined amounts of cryptocurrency’. The patent application describes this method as ‘practically eliminating the amount of time the payee must wait to receive a virtual currency payment’, thus solving the key problem of why cryptocurrency owners choose traditional payment methods as they offer quicker transfer times.

The success and popularity of cryptocurrencies is growing and is all over the news. However, the volatility of the currencies is still creating uncertainty. Bitcoin famously lost around $67 billion in a week in early February[2]. John Rainey, CFO at PayPal, has spoken out positively of Bitcoin and was one of the first companies to facilitate Bitcoin transfer in 2015 on their business application ‘Braintree’[3]. As one of the most popular payment facilitators in the US and the world, PayPal ended Q3 in 2017 with 218 million active customer accounts.[4] It will be interesting to see whether PayPal’s aim to facilitate cryptocurrency transfers will affect their own stock value as well as the strength of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

[1] USPTO

[2] Fortune

[3] CoinTelegraph

[4] ZDnet