China Blockchain Patent Data Report (2021)

As the underlying technology, blockchain has been integrated into various industries, and this process is also accompanied by the development of blockchain technology itself. By observing the application of blockchain technology patents, we can have a more comprehensive understanding of the development trend of blockchain and the maturity of technology. From the perspective of the development trend of the global blockchain industry, blockchain technology has gradually transitioned to a period of stable development, and China is still at the forefront of the world in terms of blockchain technology patent applications.

In order to fully demonstrate the development of the blockchain industry, 01 Blockchain and Zero One Think Tank will launch the “China Blockchain Industry Development Census Report (2021)”, and relevant institutions are welcome to participate in providing innovative cases.

(1) Global patent applications in 2021 

In terms of time, in the past 10 years, global blockchain patent applications can be divided into 4 stages.

Before 2014, it was the first stage. At this stage, the number of blockchain patent applications was less than one hundred, and the growth rate was slow. The applied patents mainly focus on cryptographic algorithms, digital currencies, and payment scenarios, with a single application.

2014-2017 is the second stage. In this stage, the speed of blockchain patent applications has increased sharply, and breakthroughs have also begun in terms of quantity. The scope of patent applications covers finance, corporate services, transportation, law, agriculture and other related industries, and the application of blockchain technology in the industry is gradually diversified. The development at this stage is driven by national policies. Traditional companies have begun to deploy blockchain, and a number of blockchain innovative companies have emerged.

From 2017 to 2020 is the third stage. In this stage, the patent research and development of blockchain has ushered in explosive growth. The price of Bitcoin rose sharply in 2017, which promoted the growth of blockchain patent application companies. In addition, policies of various countries have accelerated the deployment of blockchain, and further encouraged enterprises to innovate technology. At this stage, the blockchain has formed a research direction focusing on payment, finance, corporate services, commercial trade, digital assets, and transportation in the distribution of scenarios.

2021 is the beginning of the fourth phase. In 2021, the number of patent applications in the global blockchain industry is 18,931. Although this number is less than 2020, it is still higher than in previous years. This reveals that blockchain technology has moved from an explosive period to a stable period. The trend of transition. In terms of scenarios, 2021 is still a continuation of the previous phase, but at the same time, areas such as privacy computing, smart contracts, data storage, and computing security will receive further attention in 2021.

Figure 1. 2010-2021 global blockchain industry patent applications

China Blockchain Patent Data Report (2021)

Data source: Wisdom Buds, Zero One Think Tank

According to the statistics of Smart Buds, from the perspective of the source regions of global blockchain technology in 2021, the Zero One think tank shows that the number of applications for blockchain in China reached 15,985, accounting for 84% of the total global applications, ranking first. The second-ranked United States accounted for 8% (1456 cases), followed by the Cayman Islands, India and South Korea, with 309, 217 and 108 cases respectively. From the data, it can be seen that the distribution of global blockchain technology research and development is extremely uneven, and China ranks among the top in the world in the research and development of blockchain technology.

Figure 2. Regional distribution of patent applications in the global blockchain industry in 2021

China Blockchain Patent Data Report (2021)

Data source: Wisdom Buds, Zero One Think Tank

At present, the total value of patents in the global blockchain industry in 2021 is US$1.131 billion. Among them, the number of blockchain patent applications under US$30,000 is the largest, about 81.25 million. Followed by blockchain patents of 30,000 to 300,000 US dollars, with a total of 560 patent applications. In addition, the number of blockchain patent applications for 300,000 to 600,000 US dollars is 7 cases, the number of blockchain patent applications for 600,000 to 3 million US dollars is 11, and the number of blockchain patent applications for more than 3 million US dollars is 9 cases. .

Figure 3. The total value of the patent market and the distribution of patent value in the global blockchain industry

China Blockchain Patent Data Report (2021)

Data source: Wisdom Buds, Zero One Think Tank

(2) Distribution of my country’s blockchain patent industry in 2010 

In 2021, my country’s blockchain presents a new situation in which technological innovations continue to emerge and industrial applications continue to deepen. In terms of specific numbers, more than 90% of patent applications related to blockchain in my country are concentrated between 2018-2021. The number of applications in 2021 reached 15,985. Although this number is smaller than last year, it is still higher than previous years.

Figure 4. The number of China’s blockchain patent applications from 2006 to 2021

China Blockchain Patent Data Report (2021)

Data source: Wisdom Buds, Zero One Think Tank

Judging from the classification of currently applied blockchain patents, the scope of blockchain patents covers industries such as data structure and computer security facilities, finance, and administrative management. From the perspective of subdivision, information retrieval, database structure, and file system structure are the first with 29.91%, and computer system security device-related is 21.04%. In addition, it is worth noting that blockchain accounts for 12.58% of the processing of finance, insurance, tax strategy, corporate or income tax, and 11.24% of the payment system structure, scheme or agreement industry. In addition, business services, administrative management and other categories also account for a certain proportion.

Figure 5. Categories of Blockchain Patent Coverage in China

China Blockchain Patent Data Report (2021)

Data source: Wisdom Buds, Zero One Think Tank

From the perspective of applying companies, there are more than 1,250 companies participating in patent applications. Companies that have applied for more blockchain patents are technology, finance, internet, communications, and blockchain. As of the end of 2021, the top five companies with the largest number of patent applications were Tencent Technology (2028), Baidu Netcom Technology (1980), Alipay (997), Ping An Technology (757), Ant Blockchain Technology (264) .

Figure 6. The situation of companies applying for blockchain technology in China

China Blockchain Patent Data Report (2021)

Data source: Wisdom Buds, Zero One Think Tank

Of the 15,985 blockchain patents currently applied for in China, 15,171 occurred in China. Participating in patent applications in 2021 involves multiple provinces. In terms of regional distribution, blockchain applications mainly occur in Guangdong Province (4434), Beijing (4384), Zhejiang Province (1342), Hong Kong (1265), and Shanghai (847) , And Jiangsu Province (615), the top five provinces in mainland China with the largest number of applications were the same as the previous year. In addition, the number of blockchain patent applications in Sichuan, Shandong, Hubei, Hunan and other regions also achieved good rankings in 2021.

Figure 7.20 The regional distribution of China’s blockchain technology in the year

China Blockchain Patent Data Report (2021)

Data source: Wisdom Buds, Zero One Think Tank

It is worth noting that the regions where my country’s mainland applies for blockchain patents are mainly concentrated in three regions: Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Guangdong, and Beijing. Due to the differences in the business of enterprises in each region, each region has its own advantages in different fields.

Guangdong Province is the region with the most blockchain patents. Companies such as Ping An Group, Tencent Technology, OneConnect, and WeBank accounted for the bulk of Guangdong’s applications, and had the upper hand in the business and trade, taxation, education, sports and entertainment, medical, security, and agriculture industries. Those who applied for this type of patent The number of companies is far above that of other provinces.

As the national capital of Beijing, the development of blockchain technology has a more prominent performance in government affairs. In addition, Beijing’s representative companies include Bank of China, China Unicom, State Grid, Baidu, Minglue Technology, and Rece Technology. Beijing is ahead of other cities in the fields of finance, tourism, electricity, transportation, furniture, electrical appliances, and automobiles.

Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai is one of the regions with the largest number of blockchain start-ups. It is ahead of other cities in the fields of law, hotel, real estate, payment and digital assets in the application of blockchain patents. Representative companies in this area include Ant Group, Complex Beauty Technology, Rongze Technology, Xita Technology, etc.

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