In an announcement today, payments company Square (co-founded in 2010 by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey) have sent a public invitation to all members of the cryptocurrency community to participate in their new patent-based alliance.
The purpose of the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) is to create a “global native currency for the internet.” Though, not in the way Dorsey’s fellow Silicon Valley titan Zuckerberg plans with his Libra project, rather a currency of commonality, of understanding, of innovative freedom.
Patents vs Progress
Traditional business moguls and economists have for centuries lived and died by market doctrines and age-old proverbials portrayed most succinctly in poetic phrases like “the early bird gets the worm.”
The foundational expectations in these markets is the inevitability that there are winners and losers and the quest of discovering your companies’ niche or edge could lead to the difference between these two contrasting fates.
However, as we advance into the unknown realm of digital financing which promises the utopian ideals of decentralisation and fair competition, growing societal questions regarding the democratic values of capitalism are returning to the core of intellectual debates. Square is one of those organisations not only hosting those conversations, but building spaces for them to exist.
Square acknowledges the need for creational equality amongst community members to achieve full market potential.
To fulfil this, their new alliance proposes to build a collective library whereby patents on new innovations can be shared freely to encourage healthy competition.
This will form a “collective shield of patents, allowing members to use each other’s patents to deter and defend against patent aggressors.” For this strategy to flourish, member participant levels need to grow to levels so outside patents threats do not overpower or restrict the work of its members.
With the current system, Square notes potential concerns that “’patent lockup’ of foundational cryptocurrency technologies by a select few will stifle innovation and deter mass-adoption” and that parties will look to “tie up foundational technology in patents and litigation.”
Microsoft’s recent human movement mining patent application is just one of many projects in the space that they are referring to in this language.
In conclusion, they encouraged the cryptocurrency community to discuss the project and feedback any thoughts or ideas in future conversations.