Patent Riffs: Recent Links on Blockchain and Virtual Currency

Blockchain and virtual currency are gaining attention rapidly–especially in certain legal areas, and of course in IP.

The bottom line is that blockchain–in currency or otherwise–can potentially simplify tracking and increase security, which could reduce costs for everyone. What seems like a tricky concept now may soon be an everyday tool and file structure. Here are a few links to recent articles and posts that I have found interesting.

Blockchain in five minutes… | Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
A fantastic 5-minute video with a proper introduction to blockchain…“Blockchain. Bitcoin. Distributed ledgers. It can be a web of terms, technology and complexity…In this brand new video, we break down tech’s hottest topic in less than five minutes.”

Blockchain and patent Law: A conversation with Berkeley Law | LimeGreen IP News
Video interview discussing the “inventor” of blockchain, potential for IP rights on the foundation of the technology and improvements, and policy to encourage innovation in the tech.

Avoiding patent wars and reducing IP risk in the blockchain ecosystem | International Business Times
Article is few weeks old, also published in Newsweek, and not too particular to Blockchain tech/patents… “Players in the nascent distributed ledger technology (DLT) industry need to collaborate and develop an intellectual property strategy, or run the risk of patent wars and a chilling effect on innovation…There are several ways to go here. Players in an industry can agree not to assert patents against one another in non-aggression agreements… these types of consortia and non-aggression pledges take time and can be difficult to achieve because they require cooperation among a large amount of competitors…More offensive weapons against patent trolls include patent challenge pools…”

AT&T is Seeking a Patent for a Bitcoin-Powered Server | COINDESK
And a current example…“According to the application, AT&T wants to boost the security of these multimedia [authentication and] delivery networks by distributing the nodes that store and transmit the information – that’s where the blockchain comes in…AT&T is seeking to patent both the proposed device itself as well as the method of using it. Perhaps both notably, the application outlines how it would be preferable to leverage the bitcoin blockchain as opposed to an internal, private network, though this approach is outlined in the application as well.”

A Guide to Four Technologies Disrupting Legal Tech | Inside Counsel
May be behind a paywall…“MIT Media Lab leader Dazza Greenwood discussed at the session lawchain.org, an effort to see whether ‘blockchain’s immutable record capability can be used for legal requirements’ for collecting and distributing records currently met by archivists. Furthermore, there’s interest in using blockchain to make authoritative versions of regulations and statutes available online. With this technology, there would be ‘an archive system that anyone can demonstrate’ that a statute was enacted.”

Visa’s Blockchain Bet Opens Up to Developers | Fortune
“Chain, a two-year-old startup based in San Francisco, has decided to make its platform available to the public. The company is releasing an open source version of its Chain Core software to developers, any of who as of Monday can find the source code for its proprietary blockchain, or distributed ledger, on its webpage on Github, a code-sharing website.”

Blockchain & The Battle To Secure Digital Identities | Dark Reading
A security mechanism that could minimize identity theft – “Any organization can deploy blockchain — a promising, relatively new technology and methodology — to build trust among users. In its purest form, blockchain lets companies instantly make, approve, and verify many types of transactions by leveraging a collaborative digital ledger and a predetermined network of individual contributors or keepers of the blockchain. Once transactions or other data are inside the secure blockchain ledger, cryptography takes over and verification hurdles drastically decrease the chances of data being stolen.”