In the midst of BTC-USD being propelled to dizzying new all-time highs thanks to an unprecedented amount of support and bullish sentiment, two people have partnered together in what seems to be a rapid acquisition of intellectual property around Bitcoin and blockchain technology.
Craig Wright and Calvin Ayre are the two individuals of interest, going on a patent filing spree. Craig Wright made headlines in May 2016 as he claimed to be the man behind the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. Calvin Ayre is infamous for online gambling operations, which was deemed by the USA as illegal. With 70 patents filed already, there is no sign of stopping. Patents range from the intellectual property over medical applications, as well as WiFi security, according to Reuters.
Wright was first indicated to be Satoshi Nakamoto through separate investigations by WIRED and Gizmodo and he has been seeking to acquire patents on blockchain technology and Bitcoin since December 2015. In June 2016, it was reported that 50 patent applications were pushed through in the UK by Antigua-registered firm EITC Holdings.
With plans to file 80 more with an ultimate goal of around 400 registered patents, it is rather peculiar as none of the patents have been approved so far. On top of this, it is uncertain if the patents would be enforceable if granted. It seems the motivation for these patents is monetary gain, as Wright’s associates have stated the patents have the potential to be sold for “upwards of a billion dollars.”
With other companies looking to protect their interests on the blockchain as well, such as R3, a group of over 70 banks, filing patents as well, Wright and Ayre face serious competition. Regardless of who comes out on top, these sort of actions drifts from the original intention of Bitcoin, to be used by all without restrictions.
“What was started by Satoshi as an open-source project is going to be far from an open project by the time all the commercial projects weigh in,” said Nigel Swycher, CEO of London-based Aistemos, an IP analytics company. “People will try to use patents as one of many ways to protect their interests.”
Despite these potential intellectual restrictions, it also shows a rising interest in Bitcoin, and a realization of the possible implications it has on numerous sectors that involve handling data or sending money.