Blockchain Technology – Patents & Perspectives
Security becomes a priority, especially when the transaction of money or transaction of “Data” is concerned. Data is becoming one of the richest assets for companies, which needs security and should be kept in trusted hands. Data privacy and data security have been the primary and challenging stage in this digital world. Many data security standards (such as TLS security for websites) and software (such as Antivirus software) are being used to protect digital data. This article presents the upcoming and most promising data security technology – Blockchain. The blockchain is a database of information, which instead of getting stored in a single place, gets stored across a variety of data servers that participate in the network.
How Transaction Occurs in a Blockchain
A blockchain transaction includes the transfer of cryptocurrency from one account holder (nodes) to another and securely creates a record/log for the transaction made.
In a centralized system, every transaction is validated and recorded in financial institutions such as banks. In a Blockchain, however, there is no such central bank - the transfer of cryptocurrency from one account holder (nodes) to another securely creates a record/log for the transaction made – which may be authenticated and validated by users participating in the network (called miners). Miners are special types of nodes in a network that have dedicated themselves to the task of validating batches of these transactions called blocks, signing and broadcasting them to the rest of the network to be added on an existing chain of Blocks. For example, the Figure given below shows the transaction log of the Ethereum exchange between two parties.
Public Key Cryptography in Blockchain
Public key cryptography is performed differently in Blockchain in which Bitcoin users send and receive cryptocurrencies using their public address. For instance, the public key is derived using some algorithmic transformation on the private key. Further, some hash function is used to convert the public key to that public address, which is a unique hash value and is used for sending/receiving cryptocurrencies.
A blockchain transaction is signed by the account holder’s private key and is sent to the public address of the receiver account. The encryption provides a secured and anonymous transaction as the user doesn’t need to reveal his identity.
Public key Cryptography provides both integrity and authenticity to the Blockchain transaction.
Integrity: The sender digitally signs the Blockchain transaction with the help of a session ID, Transaction ID, and Timestamp so that the receiver will not be able to copy the transaction in the future. The private key is also used for the creation of a wallet.
Authenticity: For using the public key, the account holder generates a public address (hash value) by some algorithm, such as SHA256 which is authentic and cannot be hashed backward to get the public key – thus retaining the authenticity of the transaction.
This chart describes the blockchain patent strength in key regions across the globe. The chart covers the top 10 countries with China leading the race with 29238 patents in the blockchain domain followed by the US with 8698 patents. Besides these, Japan, Taiwan and India are almost on the same level with 1678, 1165 and 1073 patents respectively. Singapore (887), and Canada (869) accounted for the lowest number of patents in the industry across the globe.
The above chart shows the total number of blockchain patents assigned to top market players. With 1910 patents, Tencent Technology Shenzhen is the top player in the blockchain industry. Pingan Technology, Advanced New Technologies and IBM are not so closely behind with 830, 754 and 701 patents respectively. Alipay InfoTech, Beijing Baidu Netcom Science and Technology, Shenzhen Qianhai Webank are almost equal assignees of blockchain patents. Hangzhou Fuzamei Technology has the least patents amongst all with 384 patents.
The above data shows the technology trends in respect to the number of patents in the blockchain industry since 2016. The initial years showed a very low performance of technology investment in the patent count. In the middle of 2017, there was an upward trend showing an increase in the number of blockchain patents. During the start of 2018, the technology investment trends peaked with respect to acquiring 11410 patents in 2018 and 13640 patents in 2019. In recent years, there has been a slight decline in the blockchain technology trend with 13062 patents in 2020.
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Rinku advises clients on infringement investigations related to patented encryption techniques, source code review, and software inventions. Rinku has a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Engineering.
Keywords - Blockchain, cryptography, computer security, data security, distributed ledger, cryptocurrency, bitcoin, Ethereum, digital currency, patents in blockchain, blockchain leading countries, blockchain leading players
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