What do patents say about the future of Bitcoin?

Patent investment leads market activity, and cryptocurrency is no exception. Investment in patents has to occur to support valuable innovation.

Bitcoin trends are often a good reflection of the general cryptocurrency market. When viewing Bitcoin’s price alongside patent data, it is easy to see how patent activity often precedes Bitcoin’s fluctuations in value.

Looking at the graph above, it’s interesting to see that the monthly patent publications and issuances spiked right before the Bitcoin price peak. The correlation is interesting and most likely reflects the excitement for cryptocurrency that occurred around 2015-2016.


Viewing patent filing dates gives a better indication of the timeline of cryptocurrency patent investment. Notably, much of the investment in cryptocurrency patents increased significantly after Bitcoin’s first major spike at the end of 2013. The patent activity does not correlate as strongly to the spike at the end of 2017 as publication/issuance data. However, since many applications publish 18 months after filing, we’re missing a lot of “black hole” data that we’ll see in the next 6 to 12 months.


Lastly, comparing the overall size of the Cryptocurrency sector, patent documents have had a continuous exponential growth with a slight uptick in 2014. The decline in Bitcoin’s value does not appear to have slowed the patent activity.

“BTC price data courtesy of Blockchain.info”