Square, the payment company of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, has invited cryptocurrency firms to join its Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA), a non-profit that wants to stop firms from locking up useful crypto technologies using patents.
In a statement, the payments firm, which has been letting users buy and sell bitcoin since 2018, wrote:
- Locking up foundational cryptocurrency technologies in patents stifles innovation and adoption; and offensive use of patents by bad actors threatens the growth of cryptocurrency technologies.
Per Square, companies can guard their own work in crypto using patents, but some go further and file “pre-emptive patents” for ideas they don’t plan on developing, hindering the research of competitors in the process.
To join COPA, members have to pledge to make their patents freely available to all other members in a shared library. Any company working in the cryptocurrency space can join COPA, regardless of whether it has patents or not.
The shared library COPA members will have is set to act as a “collective shield” to protect them against “patent aggressors.” Square itself has already committed to putting its own crypto patents into the shared library.
According to CoinDesk, the number of blockchain and cryptocurrency-related patents in the U.S. doubled from 2016 to 2017. Microsoft has recently filed one for a mining system powered by physical exertion, while IBM ,as of November 2018, had already filed 89 different blockchain patents.
As CryptoGlobe reported, Jack Dorsey himself has recently said bitcoin is the “best manifestation” of a native currency for the internet. For bitcoin to be widely adopted, he said, BTC has to be built in “such a way that it is as intuitive, it’s as fast, and is as efficient as what exists today.”
Featured image via Pixabay.