Ray Alvarez
Reading time: 3 min
Date: 16th Dec 2020

ARK Joins Square’s COPA - Crypto Open Patent Alliance

As ARK continues to make progress on all fronts, we are also focusing on aligning ourselves with companies and organizations that promote our values. Today, we are happy to announce that ARK is joining Square’s Crypto Open Patent Alliance.

What is COPA?

The Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) is a non-profit community of like-minded people and companies formed to encourage the adoption and advancement of cryptocurrency technologies and to remove patents as a barrier to growth and innovation. COPA acknowledges that cryptocurrency technology is built on the collaborative efforts of a community made up of developers, engineers, and designers. The success of cryptocurrency is a direct result of the community coming together to build and develop upon existing technologies for the benefit of all, and we believe COPA will help this happen.

Earlier this year in September, Square announced the launch of COPA and issued a call to the crypto and blockchain community at large to seek out membership. One of the main issues COPA is concerned with is in regards to “patent lockup”. It is COPA’s position that this type of aggressive patenting that is held by a select few will have a chilling effect and stifle innovation in the space.

Coinbase, a founding board member of COPA, issued a statement saying:

“As the crypto economy continues to grow, we believe it is important to help empower all projects building towards an open financial system. We look forward to working alongside the members of COPA to create a foundational patent shield for our industry.”

Brittany Cuthbert, COPA Board Member and Senior Counsel at Coinbase

ARK joins COPA along with 17 other companies which include:

  • SatoshiLabs
  • Kraken
  • Blockstream
  • Transparent Systems
  • Protocol Labs
  • Blockstack
  • Foundation Devices
  • Blockchain Commons
  • Carnes Validadas
  • Request Network
  • Horizontal Systems
  • VerifyChain
  • Cloudeya Ltd.
  • Mercury Cash
  • Bithyve

Moving Forward with COPA

Cryptocurrency technology and its adoption are still at a nascent stage. COPA believes that cryptocurrency’s success depends on the community coming together to build and develop upon existing technologies to innovate, which is not possible when parties tie up foundational technology in patents and litigation. While patents may at times be useful for defensive purposes, offensive and misguided use of patents threaten the growth and adoption of emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies. There is concern that the “patent lockup” of foundational cryptocurrency technologies by a select few will stifle innovation and deter mass-adoption.

COPA stated that as more members join and declare that they won’t offensively assert their patents against others, the overall incidence and threat of patent litigation comes down. The shared patent library provides a shield, which gets larger and stronger as more members join, to every member – regardless of whether they own patents themselves or not – ultimately benefiting the entire community.

ARK is excited to be a part of COPA and integrate COPA’s policies into how we conduct ourselves in this space, network with other members within COPA, and consistently work towards blockchain adoption.

To learn more about COPA check out their website .