A series of commitments to blockchain has been flowing out of China this week.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) – the world’s largest bank – is incorporating the development of blockchain technology as a focal point of its innovation strategy. According to a report in BIA news, the chairman of the ICBC, Yi Huiman, announced that the bank would begin placing greater strategic emphasis on the development of big data, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things, along with its new focus on the blockchain.
The ICBC was founded in 1984, and today it boasts half a billion customers, it provides financial services to over 5000 corporations, and it controls over US$3.5 trillion in assets. In 2017, the bank announced that it would begin concentrating on developments in intelligent banking, which necessarily includes blockchain as a centerpiece.
As part of its new strategy, the ICBC is reportedly committed to improving the quality of service in global finance while also ascertaining an unprecedented degree of security for its customers. The strategic aim is well suited for the use and development of blockchain, as the technology is intended to bolster anonymity and improve the speed and quality of data sharing.
While the Chinese government has been hawkish on cryptocurrency, having blocked online payments to trading platforms based outside of China and having pursued a policy of shutting down domestic initial coin offerings, it simultaneously set up its own US$1.5 billion fund designated for innovation and research in blockchain technology.
Additionally, it was reported two days ago that the tech giant and Amazon rival Alibaba is now leading the globe in its number of blockchain-related patents filed, at 90.
The People’s Bank
On September 4th, the Chinese Central Bank – called the People’s Bank of China – announced that it had already begun testing its blockchain trade finance platform, according to Shanghai Securities News.
The concept of the platform is to provide a space to conduct trade and finance activities on the technological foundation of blockchain. The People’s Bank intends for the platform to serve as an “open financial and trade ecosystem, based in the Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau Bay area.”
While the Chinese ban on cryptocurrency has hung ominously over any optimism for crypto-related developments in the country, the continuous efforts of the Chinese government to invest in blockchain is proof of the country’s commitment to the technology, and that should remain the case for the immediate future.