Chinese holding conglomerate Ping An Group filed the largest number of blockchain-related patents in 2020, according to a new report.

Intellectual property-focused magazine Intellectual Asset Management has released a report on the rankings of the world’s foremost blockchain patentees. Based on data from the Derwent World Patents Index, the rankings show that Ping An filed 1,215 blockchain patent families in 2020, more than Tencent and Ant Group combined.

Owning a total of 1,749 blockchain patent families, Ping An sharply increased its number of patent applications in 2020, up from just 291 in 2019. Based in Shenzhen, Ping An operates a financial and insurance conglomerate, providing a wide range of services including banking, asset management and trusts. The company has been cementing its presence in the industry, with Ping An Bank setting up a blockchain-focused boutique in 2018.

Ping An has overtaken Tencent by the total number of historically filed patent families, with Tencent having a total of 1,666 patent family applications. Ant Group, which filed 586 patents last year, remains the biggest blockchain patentee, with a total of 2,298.

Source: Intellectual Asset Management

Global tech giant IBM is the only American company mentioned in the report, ranked fourth with a total of 647 blockchain patents as of 2019. Despite Chinese companies leading the world in the number of patents, IBM’s blockchain patents have the highest citation rate in the industry. The company also owns some of the earliest intellectual rights in the blockchain space, the report notes.

Source: Intellectual Asset Management

According to the report, the number of annual global blockchain patent applications has been steadily decreasing over the past three years, dropping from 12,300 in 2018 to 11,299 in 2019. In 2020, a total of 9,415 blockchain-related patent families were filed, the data shows.