While the government has always been very critical of cryptocurrencies, to the point of prohibiting the circulation in the country and the practice of widespread activities such as mining, China’s attitude towards the technology behind cryptocurrencies, i.e. blockchain, has always been very different.
China becomes a blockchain hub
Back in 2019, President Xi Jinping had made it quite clear what a great opportunity blockchain technology could offer to the country and therefore invited everyone to “seize the opportunities” offered by blockchain, giving his personal support to the technology. At that time, the president had hoped that the country could become a kind of global hub for blockchain technology.
And it appears that the president’s appeal did not fall on deaf ears at all considering that according to “the report on the development of blockchain technology”, 4500 blockchain-related projects were patented in China in 2020, half of the patents filed worldwide.
The cities in China in which blockchain projects are launching
Among the fifteen cities chosen as hubs where to develop blockchain projects are Shanghai, the capital Beijing and in the south of the country in the industrial district of Guangdong, the metropolis of Guangzhou. The main public and private entities involved include local government departments, universities, hospitals, automakers such as SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., power companies, China National Offshore Oil Corp, energy company Beijing Gas Group Co. and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd.
This all kicked off after China’s cyberspace regulator, in conjunction with other regulators, announced on Sunday its intention to invite some pre-chosen organizations to “give full play to the role of blockchain” in areas such as data sharing, business process optimization and operational cost reduction.
“Each area’s cyberspace administration and relevant industry regulator should… Give full play to the role of blockchain in promoting data sharing, optimising business processes, reducing operating costs and improving collaboration efficiency in building a credible system”.
This is the official statement issued by the Chinese government organization.
Great development of NFTs in China
A first important implication of this focus on blockchain technology in the country can be seen in the ever-growing interest in NFTs, which are also reportedly making a real boom in China.
Some of China’s leading tech giants, such as Ant Group, Tencent and JD.com, last November signed a sort of “self-regulatory” agreement on Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) with state organizations. Also Ant launched a few weeks ago a “Treasure Project” for museums and galleries to issue their own digital collectibles based on its blockchain technology.
In January, the Blockchain service network, a state-owned blockchain company, announced that it would soon launch its own platform for the NFT market, according to a report in China’s South Morning China newspaper.
In June, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, a kind of Chinese Amazon dedicated primarily to business customers, launched a collection of 16,000 NFT artworks that sold out in minutes via its Alipay mobile payment app.