The Blockchain Defensive Patent License addresses a problem that is truly unique to the blockchain industry, namely to prevent the so-called majority attack on any distributed ledger network, including the Bitcoin network, where a group of miners collectively has a majority of the computing or hashing power in the network.
As well-known, the Bitcoin network, as well as any other similar network, is vulnerable to an attack on the consensus mechanism, when a group of miners collectively accumulates and builds control over a significant proportion of the computing or hashing power of the Bitcoin network. For example, a majority attack would allow an attacking group of miners to double spend transactions by removing previously validated blocks from the Blockchain.
When it comes to mining, it is of outmost importance to be able to perform hardware and/or software optimization of the cryptographic computations involved in the mining process.
Having a so-called killer patent that could be used aggressively to prevent other miners from using the best and most efficient mining hardware technology, could disrupt the entire balance in the mining community and give a sole miner or group of miners the cutting edge advantage required to accomplish the dreaded majority attack.
It is therefore considered important to encourage mining entities to grant their patents under a mutually defensive patent license that is customized for Bitcoin mining and similar cryptocurrency mining, thereby effectively preventing any sole mining consortium from obtaining the ability to launch a majority attack on the network.
The group behind the Blockchain Defensive Patent License has therefore recently created an improved patent licensing system. According to the group, the Blockchain Defensive Patent License is based on publicly available defensive patent licenses, but with the wordings of the license tightened to prevent abuse and circumvention.
The basic problem, however, seems to be how to persuade entities having so-called killer patents to participate in the Blockchain Defensive Patent License.
Fortunately, for those interested in maintaining the balance in the mining community, the company Little Dragon Technology that currently owns the pending patent rigths to an important Bitcoin mining innovation, commonly referred to as AsicBoost, announced on March 1, 2018 that they are committing to the Blockchain Defensive Patent License.
AsicBoost is a patent-pending innovation that allows improved energy efficiency when performing Bitcoin mining, with a capacity to reduce the mining cost by approximately 20%.
As stated by Little Dragon Technology in a press release, no matter how efficient a mining machine is made at hardware level, version-rolling AsicBoost will always deliver more efficiency when done correctly. If this method of version-rolling is used by a large portion of the hash-rate, there may be no escaping the need for all mining equipment manufacturers to use it to remain competitive.
Since AsicBoost is now offered for licensing under the Blockchain Defensive Patent License, this means that any miners that want to use AsicBoost will now also have to join the Blockchain Defensive Patent License and offer their own patents under the same conditions, effectively democratizing the Bitcoin mining.
AsicBoost is such an important and innovative patent that, if licensed defensively, it can become a force for good to protect decentralization in Bitcoin.
Little Dragon Technology hopes that this will both discourage patent aggression in the mining space and encourage miners to join the licensing regime. The idea is to create a powerful patent pool and protect the interests of Bitcoin, which is in the best long-term interest of everyone in the ecosystem.
Interestingly, Little Dragon Technology has already received donations amounting to 9.15874693 BTC in just three days since the announcement on March 1, 2018.