Applications and Use Cases

Alibaba Wins Blockchain Patents and Solidifies Fintech Partnerships

December 27, 2019

Alibaba Group, one of China’s largest e-commerce and cloud computing companies, has been awarded two U.S. patents with the goal of making its blockchain network safer and faster. The announcement makes the company one of the top three global organizations developing blockchain patents, along with China Telecom and OneConnect. OneConnect is a subsidiary of Chinese company Ping An Insurance.

The patents, which were approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, are meant to reduce the time to verify block data as well as help participants set a validity period for a transaction in a blockchain network. Alibaba applied for 90 blockchain-related technology patents in 2018, the most of any company, followed by IBM and Bank of America. The company also launched the Ant Open Blockchain Alliance through Ant Financial, its fintech arm. The Alliance is a consortium with the goal of financing SMBs on its blockchain-based platform.

Alibaba, Ant Financial and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), also announced a strategic partnership which will offer enhanced services in the areas of fintech and financial services. The groups will all work together to improve their fintech offerings using new product innovations and smart technologies. Specific areas of focus will include electronic payment settlement, cross-border finance and scenario-based financial services.

“Alibaba Group and Ant Financial highly value our long-standing relationship with ICBC,” said Daniel Zhang, chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group. “Their commitment to building a better future has helped fuel the rapid growth of Alipay as well the broader digital economy in China. We will always stay true to our mission and continue to pursue financial innovation through digital technology to advance the economy and improve people’s lives. Alibaba and ICBC share a common purpose with a strong partnership built on trust, and together, we will work to make a bright future for all.”

The new blockchain patents are an additional step in that direction, and one is designed to alleviate the time-consuming problem of determining verification value using all the data in a block. The new technology will use only the newly added data to determine the update verification value of a node. The second patent will set up a validity period for a transaction, so that all participants in the blockchain network may only process that transaction during that time period. This may be done via a physical or logical clock, according to the patent filing.

The filing used an example of a consortium blockchain, much like the Ant Open Blockchain Alliance. The consortium could consist of a third-party payment platform server, a foreign bank server, a domestic bank server and several user node devices which would serve as member devices. The blockchain operator would then set up a validity period and could deploy online services like cross-border payment and asset transfers during that time period.

To learn more about blockchain technologies and how they are revolutionizing fintech, banking and other vertical markets, TMC is hosting The Blockchain Event in Fort Lauderdale, FL from February 11-14, 2020. Colocated with ITEXPO, the event will offer dedicated content about how blockchain is disrupting and transforming a variety of industries while also creating a new global economy.

Edited by Maurice Nagle



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