March 4, 2021

Cryptheory

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OKCoin Joins Square's Crypto Patent Alliance

2 min read

After taking a stand last week against self-styled Satoshi Craig Wright for trying to cut off access to the Bitcoin white paper, OKCoin is taking an additional stand for open information. 

The cryptocurrency exchange today announced it is joining the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA). 

Launched in September 2020 by Jack Dorsey’s payments firm Square, which bought 4,709 Bitcoins in October now worth nearly $250 million, COPA asks its members to make their patents “freely available for all to use” except in extenuating circumstances. COPA members also pool their cryptocurrency-related patents together into a “patent library.” 

The system is designed to block patent trolling—the practice of acquiring a patent, often without the intention of developing the concept, with the aim of collecting money off of competitors who infringe on that patent. 

OKCoin is just the second large exchange to join the alliance; Coinbase was a founding member. COPA also counts Blockstack, Blockstream, ARK, and Protocol Labs among its members

“At OKCoin, we stand for the original, decentralized and open-source ethos behind the cryptocurrency ecosystem,” the exchange said in a press release. “As we continue to invest in the development of Bitcoin and the larger crypto industry, joining COPA is a natural step towards our larger goal of creating a more inclusive, open financial system.”

OKCoin has made clear it’s prepared to lose out on trades to support that ethos.

CEO Hong Fang recently announced the exchange will suspend trading of Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV over a “misinformation war” between the rival factions. BSV figurehead Craig Wright has taken legal action to enforce his copyright claims to the Bitcoin white paper and compel companies like Square to remove the white paper from their websites. 

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Square, OKCoin, and others have balked at the effort. (Most legal observers regard Wright’s claims as dubious, given that they rely on him proving that he is the author of the white paper, Satoshi Nakamoto.)

Fang said about the delisting of BSV and BCH: “If we continue to allow trading of BSV on our platform, we run the risk of implicitly supporting such an attack on the open-source nature of Bitcoin, which is highly destructive to the Bitcoin ecosystem (and the crypto ecosystem as a whole).”

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