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Coinbase Applies for Patents, Hints at Expansion of Products and Services

Reading Time: 2 minutes by on September 24, 2015 Business, Finance, News, Tech

Coinbase, one of the world’s leading Bitcoin exchanges and wallet providers, has recently filed a number of patent applications. The company has sent over nine different Bitcoin product patent applications to the US Patent and Trademark Office. Even though these events took place in March of 2015, the news was only made public on September 22nd.

It is no secret that every major Bitcoin company needs to keep innovating and revamping their business plan at all times if they want to remain competitive in the long run. While Coinbase’s bread and butter is providing convenient Bitcoin exchange and wallet solutions, this recent patent application filing hints at an expansion of their products and services in the near future.

What makes this filing so interesting is that Coinbase wants to patent their instant Bitcoin exchange, which was launched in June of 2015. But there are other products that Coinbase is currently looking at, such as a Bitcoin tipping button and various on-and-off blockchain transactions systems.

Perhaps even more interesting is that Coinbase wants to patent a technological implementation called “User Private Key Control”. A closer look at the abstract details of this patent application reveals that the terminology used seems to hint at a multi-signature implementation by Coinbase. Using multi-sig would increase the overall platform security, and put users in full control of their finances.

Despite this filing being submitted quite some time ago, the approval process for patent applications is a tedious process, which can take several years to complete. In general a patent will be granted for an invention so long as it :

  • is new or “novel”: the invention must never have been made in public in any way, anywhere, before the date on which the application for a patent is filed.
  • involves an inventive or “unobvious” step: this step must not be obvious to others with good knowledge and experience of the subject of the invention.
  • is capable of industrial/useful application: an invention must be capable of being made or used in some kind of industry

The Bitcoin community will always be divided as to whether or not patenting technological innovation in the sector is good or bad. But Coinbase is not the first — nor will it be the last — company to submit such filings. Major names such as IBM, Mastercard, and even Amazon, have all filed digital currency-related patents over the past few years.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

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