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Blockchain

Update on the Digital Asset Industry

Despite reduced enthusiasm in the trading markets over the past couple of years, technological innovation and advancement from all corners of the crypto[1] space has continued to thrive—including layer 2 scaling solutions for the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains, improvements to crypto mining equipment, novel applications for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), just to name a few.[2] 

As we discussed previously, while open source innovation is a tenet of the crypto industry and the underlying blockchain technology that empowers it, companies involved in this technology should consider securing intellectual property rights for their innovations.  This could include obtaining patents for inventions that complement or are adjacent to open decentralized public ledgers such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Patenting Activity for Cryptoassets and Other Blockchain Technology

As the graphs below indicate, patenting activity for cryptoassets and other blockchain-related innovations experienced a year-over-year increase for several years, though activity has tapered more recently.

The diagram below indicates that major payment processors (including Mastercard, VISA, and Alipay), banks (Bank of American and Capital One), and various retailers and technology conglomerates are among the top applicants for patent filings in this space.Continue Reading Patenting for Blockchain and Crypto Tech

This past week, co-defendants in a class action related to the theft of cryptocurrency engaged in their own lawsuit over alleged security failures.  IRA Financial Trust, a retirement account provider offering crypto-assets, sued class action co-defendant Gemini Trust Company, LLC, a crypto-asset exchange owned by the Winklevoss twins, following a breach of IRA customer accounts. 

A recent class action refiled in federal court against Shopify highlights a growing trend of lawsuits against companies related to the theft of cryptocurrency, particularly as a result of internal company threats.  See Forsberg et al v. Shopify, Inc. et al, 1:22-cv-00436 (D. Del.).  Despite not itself being a repository for or facilitating the

If there is a silver lining to most crises, the accelerated move toward digitized commerce globally and in Africa may be one positive outcome of the COVID-enforced lockdown. It is welcome news there that the South African Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies (“Minister”) published the Draft National Data and Cloud Policy (in Government Gazette

On July 23, the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) announced a new Research and Innovation Division.  The Division will assume responsibility for licensing and supervising virtual currencies.  It will also “assess efforts to use technology to address financial exclusion; identify and protect consumer data rights; and encourage innovations in the financial services