Coinbase was recently picked up as a cornerstone partner by the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance, or COPA, headed by finance company Square. In September, Square unveiled the community as a means of warding off-patent overreach, a problem that has been known to limit technological development.
In a public statement from the alliance on Friday, Coinbase senior counsel and COPA board member Brittany Cuthbert said, “As the crypto-economy continues to expand, we believe it is necessary to help empower all projects to create an open financial system. […] We look forward to working with COPA representatives to build our industry’s foundational patent shield.”
For 20 years, patents have effectively asserted inventions that are considered patented, preventing rivals from creating or utilizing similar goods or services. Although open-source technology is a common theme in the crypto and blockchain industry, numerous organizations, like Block.one and Samsung, have asserted patents for some developments in space.
The statement made further clarifications, “COPA believes that the success of the cryptocurrency depends on the community coming together to build and develop on existing innovation technologies, which is not possible when parties tie up basic patent and litigation technology.”
In the world, patents are used, COPA claims, but limits can be overstepped, leading to problems. “While patents can sometimes be useful for defensive purposes, the growth and adoption of emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies are threatened by offensive and misguided use of patents,” the statement reads. “There is concern that ‘patent lockup’ by a select few of the fundamental cryptocurrency technologies will suppress innovation and discourage mass adoption.”
Roughly 12 years ago, the now notorious white paper written by the pseudonymous Bitcoin (BTC) founder Satoshi Nakamoto representing a turning point for innovation. The resulting revolution was possibly made possible in part by the open-source underpinnings of the technology mentioned.