The banking and payments industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation owing to ever changing consumer expectations. The rapid technological developments in the areas of banking and payments that aim to offer seamless experience to consumers are now becoming even more vital for industry participants as competitors leverage new technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, cybersecurity, and embedded finance as they compete to stay relevant and grow in the market. In the last three years alone, there have been over 92,000 patents filed and granted in the banking industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Cybersecurity in Banking: smart contracts.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

60+ innovations will shape the banking industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the banking industry using innovation intensity models built on over 195,000 patents, there are 60+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Biometric payments, encryption for secure transmission, and public key encryption protocols are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are biometric payer/payee verification and voice-based payer/payee authentication, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for cybersecurity in the banking industry

Smart contracts is a key innovation area in cybersecurity

A smart contract can be defined as a self-executing and self-verifying computer-aided programme that takes place between two parties based on the terms of the contract. The transactions of the contract are controlled by the blockchain network. Such contracts are useful to financial services industry in several ways such as processing of insurance claims and P2P fund transfers, among others.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 50 companies, spanning technology vendors, established banking companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of smart contracts.

Key players in smart contracts – a disruptive innovation in the banking industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to smart contracts

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Alibaba Group Holding 1157 Unlock company profile
Tencent Holdings 341 Unlock company profile
nChain Holdings 319 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 311 Unlock company profile
Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China 165 Unlock company profile
Accenture 119 Unlock company profile
Microsoft 115 Unlock company profile
Siemens 93 Unlock company profile
Hangzhou Qulian Technology 75 Unlock company profile
Baidu 75 Unlock company profile
Dell Technologies 72 Unlock company profile
Bundesdruckerei 68 Unlock company profile
Toronto-Dominion Bank 67 Unlock company profile
Intel 66 Unlock company profile
Coinplug 64 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 63 Unlock company profile
NEC 59 Unlock company profile
State Grid Corporation of China 56 Unlock company profile
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China 54 Unlock company profile
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson 48 Unlock company profile
Mastercard 48 Unlock company profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 46 Unlock company profile
China Unicom (Hong Kong) 45 Unlock company profile
Nokia 44 Unlock company profile
eBay 42 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 41 Unlock company profile
Capital One Financial 40 Unlock company profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 40 Unlock company profile
Bank of America 39 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 36 Unlock company profile
Visa 34 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen Qianhai We Bank 33 Unlock company profile
Northern Trust 30 Unlock company profile
Hewlett Packard Enterprise 28 Unlock company profile
Telefon AB Lm Ericsson 28 Unlock company profile
Inveniam Capital Partners 28 Unlock company profile
Workday 27 Unlock company profile
Zhejiang Shuqin Technology 25 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 25 Unlock company profile
Cisco Systems 25 Unlock company profile
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 24 Unlock company profile
Salesforce.Com 24 Unlock company profile
Furukawa 23 Unlock company profile
Micron Technology 22 Unlock company profile
Oracle 22 Unlock company profile
Radware 22 Unlock company profile
Ping Identity Holding 22 Unlock company profile
Walmart 22 Unlock company profile
Intuit 20 Unlock company profile
Amazon.com 20 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Alibaba Group is one of the leading companies operating in the smart contracts space. The company has filed a patent that enables an administrative third-party to intervene in a smart contract in the event of any unauthorised or illegal activity. Some other key patent filers in this space include Tencent, nChain Holdings, IBM, Ping An Insurance, and Accenture.

In terms of application diversity, Radware leads the pack, while State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance and Mastercard stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Radware holds the top position, followed respectively by nChain Holdings and eBay.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the banking industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cybersecurity in Banking.

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.