Jack Ma isn’t sleeping on blockchain.

His Ant Group, part of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Limited, continued to build its foundation on the blockchain technology by staying No. 1 in blockchain patents in 2020, according to a report by International Asset Management.

The IAM report cited data from Clarivate’s Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI).

Ant, a financial technology affiliate of Alibaba, filed 586 patents in 2020 and now has 2,298 blockchain patents. 

The index aggregates patents filed for both quantity and quality, and Chinese companies lead the way by a large margin in blockchain patent filing volume.

On the scoreboard, No. 2 on the basis of total patents was Shenzen-based conglomerate Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China Ltd. with 1,215 patents; Tencent Holdings Limited was third. 

International Business Machines was the only non-Chinese company in the top 10, taking the fourth spot in 2020 blockchain patents with 647 filings. 

Technically, though, IBM is second.

The DWPI scores patents based on various metrics to build an “average strength index” of companies’ patents, and those metrics push IBM into second place behind Ant Group.

Ant Group, despite its top perch, actually filed 33% fewer patents compared with the 880 patents in 2019.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had called for more research and innovation in blockchain technology in 2019. 

And Ma has been a pioneer in that arena.

Since 2015, Ant Group has been busy expanding its R&D in blockchain tech and, last summer, introduced AntChain. 

The new brand is tailored specifically for the company’s blockchain-based business.

Alibaba Group shares were at $228.34 just after 1 p.m. ET Tuesday, having been as high as $317 last October.

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