Multinational tech giants Alibaba and IBM are leading the blockchain game by spotting the No. 1 and No. 2 positions, respectively, having filed the highest number of blockchain-related patents till date, according to a research report by iPR Daily, a global technology media outlet focusing on intellectual property (IP) ecosystem.

China’s Alibaba ranks at the top with a total of 90 blockchain-related patent applications, followed by IBM, which is just one short of it at a total of 89 filings. Mastercard occupies third place with 80 filings, Bank of America is at fourth place with 53 blockchain patent applications and China’s central bank, People's Bank of China (PBoC), at fifth place with a total of 44 patent applications for its project of issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Other notable companies that have filed at least 20 blockchain-related patent applications include Tencent, Accenture, Ping An Insurance, Bitmain, Intel, Visa, Sony, Google and China's State Grid Corporation.

For the research and rankings, iPR Daily consolidated data as of August 10, 2018, from across China, the EU, America, Japan, and South Korea, as well consulting the International Patent System from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

In March of this year, WIPO data indicated that China filed the most blockchain patent applications in 2017. In total, China filed 225 of the 406 total blockchain patents in 2017, compared with just 59 in 2016. The US was a distant second with 91 patents and Australia was a distant third with 13 patents, according to the report.

Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of Alibaba Group, has always been vocal in his endorsement of blockchain technology, even while shunning cryptocurrencies. IBM for its part has been at the forefront when it comes to blockchain technology. According to a recent report from Juniper Research also, IBM stood out as a leader in blockchain innovation. The tech giant emerged as a market leader in each of the 3 Innovation Indices (Digital Identity, Provenance, and Financial Services) based on the quantitative and qualitative assessment of product offerings, R&D activities, and future potential. Earlier in July, IBM signed a five-year blockchain deal with the Australian government worth $740 million to improve data security and automation across federal departments, including defense and home affairs.