Coinbase teams up with Square and joins COPA
Coinbase teams up with Square and joins COPA

Coinbase teams up with Square and joins COPA

By Eleonora Spagnolo - 4 Dec 2020

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Coinbase joins COPA, the alliance created by Square that brings together crypto companies with the aim of supporting mass development and adoption.

COPA was created by Square (which in turn was created by the CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey) a few months ago in September. Since its creation, it has invited companies in the industry on board. 

COPA stands for Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance. The mission is to address concerns about the “choking” of patents, which threatens to bottleneck the industry. 

The largest exchange in the United States, Coinbase, will join this association to which other companies already belong: 

  • Satoshi Labs, 
  • Kraken, 
  • Blockstream, 
  • Transparent Systems, 
  • Protocol Labs, 
  • Blockstack, 
  • Foundation Devices, 
  • Blockchain Commons, 
  • Carnes Validadas, 
  • Request Network, 
  • Horizontal Systems, 
  • VerifyChain, 
  • Cloudeya Ltd, 
  • Mercury Cash, 
  • BitHyve.

Brittany Cuthbert, COPA Board Member and Senior Counsel of Coinbase said:

“As the crypto economy continues to grow, we believe it is important to help empower all projects building towards an open financial system. We look forward to working alongside the members of COPA to create a foundational patent shield for our industry”.

COPA, the board changes with Coinbase

This is not the only news for COPA, which also sees its board of directors changing. Steve Lee, Square Crypto Lead, becomes part of the board, together with Dan Robinson, Paradigm Research Partner. They are involved in the development of Bitcoin and research related to cryptocurrency protocols.

Their appointment will help to keep the board independent and at the same time composed of experts who can contribute to the association. 

Kirupa Pushparaj, COPA Board Member and Head of IP at Square, Inc. commented on the new appointments:

“We are excited by how the community has reacted to the launch of COPA and we’re thrilled to welcome the new founding board members. We look forward to continuing to see COPA membership grow and unlocking foundational cryptocurrency technologies through open patents”.

Why did Square create COPA

COPA was created to promote the growth of the cryptocurrency sector and prevent it from becoming stuck in the “patent deadlock”. This deadlock is also caused by the legal disputes that arise between those who invent technologies. COPA wants to make technologies available to everyone. 

How? First of all, members of the Crypto Open Patent Alliance undertake not to patent anything against anyone. In addition, members share their patents in a special library, where they are available to everyone.

This helps even the smallest companies and creates a collective defence of the entire industry.

The official COPA note explains:

“The shared patent library provides a shield, which gets larger and stronger as more members join, to every member – regardless of whether they own patents themselves or not – ultimately benefiting the entire community”.

The subject of regulation

In reality, the development of the cryptocurrency sector in the United States might be hindered more by regulation than by the patent war.

In fact, two bills are being studied that could impose a drastic brake. 

The first was reported by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and would be a regulation that would force crypto exchanges to transfer funds to private wallets only by identifying the owners in advance. Such an initiative is the idea of outgoing Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

On top of that, there is a bill signed by three members of Congress who want to regulate stablecoins. Private companies issuing stablecoins would be required to have a banking licence and to guarantee dollar reserves.

All common-sense initiatives, which are designed to prevent money laundering and to protect consumers, but which in practice risk putting the whole industry in danger.

Eleonora Spagnolo

Journalist passionate about the web and the digital world. She graduated with honours in Multimedia Publishing at the University La Sapienza in Rome and completed a master's degree in Web and Social Media Marketing.

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