Coinbase's IP plans revealed

For anyone who's still unsure as to what this whole bitcoin business is all about and where it comes from, it is a form of virtual currency that exists in the digital world. Bitcoin is often credited as the first cryptocurrency (a term that also comes up frequently in the patents), although it isn't actually the first of its kind. That said, it is the biggest and the most popular. The idea came about in around 2008, and, since then, numerous banks and corporations have been trying to get a slice of this new and emerging virtual market.

Coinbase, is just one of a number of bitcoin service firms, who in recent months has upped their Intellectual Property activity in order to keep up with competitors around the world. They market themselves as 'the easiest service to buy and use bitcoins,' and earlier this year, filed 9 submissions for various patents related to bitcoins. Patents range from virtual wallets, tip buttons, and instant exchange systems. The filings we saw published this month by the USPTO underline the extent to which digital currency is really gathering momentum - and it could actually be something that many of us will be using in the future. However, Coinbase's patents have not been granted yet, and experts have warned, it could take years. 

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As we know, the USPTO have a system in place which allows the public to oppose patents on the grounds that what is being requested cannot be justified as intellectual property. In a move to get the public onside with its decision, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong took to social networking forum Reddit to defend its decision to file for these patents.

Armstrong is keen to stress that the filings have not been pursued in order to push small companies around, who are also innovating in this field. He reassured users that Coinbase would "play nice" while exploring the realities of this patent space.

Since their arrival on the market in 2012, Coinbase has raised around $106.7 in venture funding, securing a strong position within the market. However, they are not the only organisation working to protect cryptocurrency related patents. Last year, for example, online retailer giant Amazon were awarded a bitcoin related cloud computing patent.