Australian 'bitcoin founder' quietly bidding for patent empire

Mon Jun 20, 2016 1:40pm EDT
 
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By Byron Kaye and Jeremy Wagstaff

SYDNEY/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Craig Wright, the Australian who claimed to be the inventor of bitcoin, is attempting to build a large patent portfolio around the digital currency and technology underpinning it, according to associates of his and documents reviewed by Reuters.

Since February, Wright has filed more than 50 patent applications in Britain through Antigua-registered EITC Holdings Ltd, which a source close to the company confirmed was connected to Wright, government records show.

Interviews with sources close to EITC Holdings Ltd, which has two of Wright's associates as directors, confirmed it was still working on filing patent applications and Britain's Intellectual Property Office has published another 11 patent applications filed by the company in the past week.

"None of this has stopped," one person close to the company said. The person declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Wright did not respond to requests seeking comment.

The granting of even some of the patents would be significant for banking and other industries that are trying to exploit bitcoin technologies, as well as dozens of start-ups scurrying to build business models based around it.

Financial institutions are expected to spend more than $1 billion this year and next on projects linked to the "blockchain" at the heart of bitcoin, according to a survey by boutique investment bank Magister Advisors.

The blockchain is a public database that by-passes money-based payments by recording all transactions digitally. It forms the core of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by maintaining a decentralized record of all transactions.   Continued...

 
A Bitcoin (virtual currency) paper wallet with QR codes and a coin are seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, May 27, 2015.  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo