Blockchain Tech Has Been Key To Helping Fight The Spread of Coronavirus in China

Coronavirus is so far the largest health catastrophe to strike the world in this decade as China continues to suffer the most. It is no wonder the Asian giant has turned to blockchain tech to enhance its existing ecosystems in functions such as health insurance.

A number of blockchain apps have been developed to curb the coronavirus pandemic with most being launched as late as this month. One notable blockchain-oriented insurance platform known as ‘Xiang Hu Bao’ added a coronavirus one-time payout claim under its product range. The cover is designed such that policyholders can receive a lump sum of $14,000 (100,000 Yuan) to look after themselves during these times of uncertainty.

Blockchain Vs Coronavirus

Apart from insurance, blockchain has been instrumental in China’s record and data tracking efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Since Xi Jinping’s directive for government agencies to consider blockchain adoption back in 2019, a good number of patents have been filed with some provinces such as Shaanxi implementing the DLT tech in health services like screening and consultation.

Blockchain has arguably changed the way records are maintained within China’s health system and is expected to play a big role in the wake of coronavirus. The digital ledger platforms are turning out to be efficient avenues for receiving donations or grants from investors.

A cross-border financing platform launched back in March 2019 by China’s foreign trade authorities has helped secure over $15 billion in lending for close to 2,500 businesses. Hubei which is China’s worst-hit capital by coronavirus also joined this platform back in January; some analysts have since speculated that this will save the businesses in Wuhan from collapsing.

These hard times are gradually proving that blockchain will be a norm tech sooner than most would have expected. As it stands, the tech’s use case in health insurance for screening claims has reduced service time and the general cost for processing claims. It is therefore expected that blockchain will come in handy for the coronavirus epidemic as well given its dynamic nature to suit different industries.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

People’s Bank of China Has Filed 84 Digital Payment Patents For CBDC’s: Report

According to the Chamber of Digital Commerce, China has filed 84 patents for the digital yuan, its new upcoming digital currency.

The patents date to 2017 and are credited to the People’s Bank of China’s (PBoC) Digital Currency Institute. They were filed to the Chinese Patent Office (SIPO) and indicate some important aspects like the one where the Chinese government is able to alter the currencies supply after some specific events like interest rates going up, or the one of integration with traditional bank accounts while the connection with digital currency chips cars or digital wallets is still possible.

The Chinese Government Will Track Down Transactions

The patent applications are related to the integration of the digital currency in the already existing banking infrastructure. This is what Mark Kaufman, the patent attorneys for Rimon Law and a former employee of the Chamber of Digital Commerce said about them:

“Virtually all of these patent applications relate to integrating a system of digital currency into the existing banking infrastructure.”

Meanwhile, the Chamber’s president, Perianne Boring, mentioned how a mechanism that’s able to stop the tracking of transaction by the Chinese government doesn’t exist yet.

Will Other Governments Take China’s Example?

In November 2019, Mu Changchun, the head of PBoC’s Digital Currency Institute, spoke at a Singapore conference and said:

“We are not seeking full control of the information of the general public.”

The newly filed patents come only to prove that the Chinese government is committed to issue a digital currency, which may convince other governments to take action in the same direction. For example, the Japanese government recently talked about China’s digital yuan and Facebook’s Libra, saying these should be combated with a digital currency released by Japan. Norihiro Nakayama, the foreign affairs parliamentary vice-president of Japan said,

“China is moving toward issuing digital yuan, so we’d like to propose measures to counter such attempts.”

Will the US Release Its Own Digital Currency?

There have been signs that the US may be considering issuing its own digital currency too, as Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve Chairman, said on Tuesday that this matter needs to have an answer and that:

“We’re working hard on it.”

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Author: Oana Ularu

China’s PBoC Completes ‘Top-Level’ Design For Digital Yuan, Launch Date Still Unknown

The People Bank of China (PBoC) has just completed a top-layer design and the testing of its central bank digital currency (CBDC) that should be released very soon.

As reported by Chinese news outlet Sina on January 10, the tests and top-layer design for the digital Yuan were accomplished and developed according to relevant standards. PBoC carried out with the CBDC research, development and testing for a while now.

The latest developments were presented by the bank in a special article that also highlights its plans on improving the financial industry network’s cybersecurity and the rules for accrediting the most important information infrastructure.

Plans to Conduct CBDC Real-World Tests Revealed in December 2019

PBoC’s plans to conduct real-world tests for its CBDC were revealed in December 2019. The pilot project was set to be conducted in the city of Shenzhen by the end of last year, with the city of Suzhou possibly being included too. At the tests, the digital Yuan was expected to enter multiple service scenarios like education, transportation, medical treatment and others. Earlier in January 2020, PBoC said its CBDC is progressing smoothly.

Digital Yuan’s Encryption Standards

China has a law on cryptographic password management, a law that sets some standards when it comes to the management of passwords and cryptography. On Rand Corporation’s China professor of blockchain technology and policy analyst Sale Lilly’s opinion, this law complements the efforts and tasks that rolling out a CBDC require. This is what Lilly commented on the digital Yuan’s progress in relation to the importance of encryption levels:

“If China’s experience in trying to unify government cryptographic standards is anything like the U.S. Military’s experience, higher standards of encryption and trust scale users at a slower rate, so onboarding oracles and trusted agents for a private or permissioned access CBDC blockchain implies a natural trade-off between key security and speed of onboarding digital economy participants; banks, vendors, and a slew of Chinese government entities in tax and finance roles.”

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Author: Oana Ularu

China Going Crazy With Blockchain, Big Brands Joining in While Projects See A Record 110% Growth

  • After President Xi Jinping’s blockchain promotion in October, China saw a growth of 110% in blockchain projects
  • As of Oct. 2019, China filed more than 12,900 blockchain patent applications
  • Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba’s Ant Financial leveraging blockchain technology as well
  • Crypto analyst “expecting more and more to pop up” which are “the true bitcoin trend driver”

China’s “Blockchain not Bitcoin” narrative has been known for a long time and going strong as ever. In October, President Xi Jinping himself emphasized the country to “take the leading position” in blockchain technology and “seize the opportunity.”

This promotion by the President of the country himself certainly elicited expected results. As per the local report, in November, out of the total 86 new blockchain projects, 57 were from China. This has been an increase of 110% from the previous month.

Out of these 57, 28 projects are initiated by the government departments across China focused on electronic certificates, tax, and justice. The projects in the financial sectors focused on cross-border financial services, supply chain finance, and credit data sharing.

China was followed by the US and Japan with nine and four projects respectively. Australia, Singapore, and Thailand followed cosplay behind with each having two projects.

“China has gone more crazy for blockchain than the west was in early 2018,” is what popular crypto analyst, Crypto Loomdart has to say about China’s development.

Blockchain Patents from China Flowing In

As per the data provided by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), China also filed more than 12,900 blockchain patent applications as of October 2019, which is 53.6% of the world’s total patent applications.

This is, however, just the beginning as another report forecasts that banks will play an important role in blockchain investment in the next two years. The revenue from the sector is also expected to see much growth.

Baidu Launches Public Beta of “Xuperchain”

In the latest news, the Chinese Internet giant, Baidu has launched the public beta for its “Xuperchain.” Users can pay as low as 1 Chinese yuan (about $0.14) to deploy an application on this open-network blockchain until March.

Run by a series of masternodes, the network makes use of parallel chain technology to simplify the smart contract processing.

The network now has over 3.5 million users and processes 450 million transactions. The company emphasizes that it meets China’s regulatory requirements.

True Bitcoin Trend Driver

Baidu however, according to Dovey Wan, Founding Partner of Primitive Crypto is “way behind“ and so not worth paying attention to.

She explains that while Tencent/WeChat is working on a national invoice and taxation system, Alibaba’s Ant Financial is working on a commodity trading platform.

Formerly known as Alipay, back in Nov. Ant Financial said it will be releasing its consortium network around February 2020. Bluemountain Labs, a Sichuan-based blockchain specialized fund wrote on twitter Today,

Crypto Loomdart however is “expecting more and more to pop up” which he says “is the true bitcoin trend driver.”

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Author: AnTy

$80 Billion Asset Management Firm Files First Blockchain ETF With China’s Security Watchdog CSRC

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has received an exchange-traded fund (ETF) listing application for a project that tracks blockchain-based stocks as underlying assets.

Called the Penghua Shenzhen Stocks Blockchain ETF, the application was accepted on December 24 by the CSRC and was filed by the Shenzhen headquartered asset management company Penghua Fund. What the ETF is trying to do is track and reflect how public stocks listed in Shenzhen and having businesses running in the blockchain industry are performing.

The First Blockchain ETF in China

According to a Thursday Shanghai Securities News report, if the CSRC gives final approval for the application, China would have its very first blockchain ETF for public investors. The Penghua Shenzhen Stocks Blockchain ETF arrived at the same time with Shenzhen Stock Exchange rolling out a Blockchain 50 Index compromising of 50 stocks that are new in the blockchain space and listed on the exchange.

Ping An Bank, One of the Names on the Blockchain 50 Index List

In a December 24 announcement, Shenzhen Stock Exchange said the Blockchain 50 Index tracks companies involved with the blockchain ecosystem and selects the top 50 according to their market capitalization. Ping An Bank, together with software or internet companies that have entered crypto mining, like Wholeasy, are on the index list at the moment. Other big names include Zixin Pharmaceuticals and Midea Group, as the firms in the index reflect a wide cross-section of industries and have many specializations.

7 ETFs Currently Operating in the World

Penghua manages more than 564 billion yuan, which is approximately $80.79, in assets. It holds 10 investment portfolios for national social insurance, 150 public funds and 4 investment portfolios for basic pension insurance. If its blockchain ETF application gets approved, the company will join the list of 7 other blockchain ETFs and will be next to Invesco-Elwood’s fund, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange. A June analyze of ETFs’ performance this year noticed their value surged very rapidly from January to May.

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Author: Oana Ularu

China Regulators Issue ‘Serious Warning’ On CryptoCurrencies; We Support Blockchain, Not Crypto

China is once again getting worried about the expansion of cryptocurrencies. Regulators have requested authorities to prevent the use of digital currencies by individuals in the country. This is according to a recently released announcement by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC). In this report, they talk about the risks related to cryptocurrencies and their influence in the financial market.

Chinese Authorities Worried About Crypto Expansion

In the aforementioned announcement, crypto trading activities, digital currency mortgage provision, and other services are a risk for the economy. At the same time, the expansion of crypto assets violates regulations established by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC).

Regulators in Beijing have already called local authorities to combat and fight against these activities that are expanding in the market. China has mostly been against digital assets and their different use cases. Back in 2017, China banned cryptocurrency trading activities causing the whole market to drop.

In addition to that, the Chinese government stated that individuals and institutions cannot be involved in the sale of cryptocurrencies nor invest in them. Users and companies cannot perform transactions or trade digital currencies.

Other countries such as South Korea have also decided to ban Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) as well. This has also affected the whole ecosystem at the end of 2017 when blockchain projects were expanding in the space.

Despite China’s negative stance towards digital assets and the industry, the government has shown interest in distributed ledger technology (DLT) and how it could be used to improve the economy and its efficiency. However, they stated at that time that their support to blockchain technology shouldn’t be considered an endorsement to cryptocurrencies.

Some reports were also suggesting that miners could also be affected by a government ban. Regarding this issue, a finalized version of the list of industrial activities that the country was planning to eliminate shows that banning Bitcoin mining was not included in their plans.

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Author: Carl T

China Continues Supporting Blockchain Technology With New Investment In Hainan’s Free Trade Zone

Blockchain could receive support in China from Hainan Province. This region released the first blockchain pilot zone in the free trade zone of the province. This would bring talents, improve technological adoption and it would eventually help investment grow, among other things.

The goal is to test a wide range of blockchain solutions in different industries, including healthcare, trade, tourism and many others. Blockchain companies are also going to be receiving financing from a special fun of 1 billion yuan ($142 million) in order to expand in the region.

It is worth mentioning that the blockchain pilot zone was launched back in October 2018 in the Hainan Resort Software Community (RSC). The RSC is an internet industrial park located in the province. Until now, there are more than 100 different blockchain firms and companies operating there and offering services not only to China but also to other countries.

The goal is to create a free trade zone in the region by 2020 and become a totally free port in the next five years.

During the last few months, blockchain technology became a hot topic in China and around the world. The Chinese President Xi Jinping pushed for wider blockchain adoption a few months ago.

This generated a massive price increase in Bitcoin’s price, despite the fact that the leading cryptocurrency remains far from being legalized in China. There are other countries such as Belarus that have created crypto and blockchain hubs. The country established the High Technologies Park as a special economic zone that attracted several crypto-related companies.

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Author: Carl T

Alipay Makes Blockchain Record as China Pays Less Attention to Bitcoin

These are interesting times for the blockchain niche in China. Xiang Hu Bao is a blockchain-dependent mutual aid network that is run by Alipay, a payment processor. It just made a new impressive record with its more than 100 million customers.

Opened in October 2018, the platform offers a comprehensive health package that sees to the needs of those afflicted with more than 100 kinds of disease conditions. Apart from being a blockchain-dependent network, Xiang Hu Bao also has some other perks for those who want to make use of it. For example, the users on the platform do not need to cough out any admission fees or even make any kind of upfront payments. As far as risk is concerned on the platform, it is shared by everyone involved and the same goes for the payouts too. Now with more than 100 million customers on its platform, Xiang Hu Bao looks more than prepared for the future.

China Focuses on Blockchain

Apart from becoming the darling of private investors, there are other things going on very well for the blockchain community. Probably the most amazing of all these is the fact that the government of China is now placing a lot of attention to blockchain technology. This technology got a massive boost when it was loudly promoted and endorsed by President Xi Jinping. Ever since the announcement was made, the Chinese government has been making concerted efforts to consolidate the adoption of blockchain technology in its projects at every level.

The goal is to ensure that blockchain technology plays a very big role in the economic advancement of the country. This explains why the Bank of China is making aggressive use of blockchain technology all through its insurance sector. The goal of this is to improve and promote efficiency.

As it is now, it does not look like the Chinese government is going to reduce its efforts in this regard. On the 7th of November, the China International Import Expo was held and it was yet again another pointer to what the government of China has in mind. At the event, the Shanghai Customs, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce and representatives from six different banks appended their signatures to form what is now known as the Blockchain Alliance. This is a group that is going to assist in the use of blockchain at several levels to promote trade across international borders.

Chinese Government Means Business

That is not even all. The government of China is also ready to spend as much as $2 billion just to improve the blockchain network in the country. This is a goal that the government is planning to achieve by 2023. Things are really looking good for the blockchain niche in China at the moment. In addition to the fact that the government is interested, several private interests are also doing the same. These include big brands like Alibaba and Huawei and all these can mean just one thing – that blockchain technology has a bright future in China.

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Author: Ali Raza

Demand for Trained Blockchain Experts in China is on The Rise

The demand for blockchain technology experts in china is higher than the supply of such talents. The industry is offering a variety of job opportunities that require high qualifications in the field. Reports show that there are many job seekers in the field, but not many of them possess the requisite knowledge and skills required in the application of blockchain tech.

Many of the job seekers are just interested in the high salaries available in the blockchain field despite them not meeting the qualifications. This has led to the scarcity of employees in the industry as employers compete for the few qualified blockchain talents. Most of these employers are Chinese internet and entrepreneurial companies and require both technical and soft skills. Some require blockchain tech development engineers, product managers, and technology experts.

Salaries in the blockchain space range between 20,000 Chinese Yuan and 60,000 Chinese Yuan per month. An average salary in a blockchain-related job is about 16,000 Chinese Yuan, which converts to $2,322. Surprisingly, the average salary in the blockchain industry is about twice the country’s average salary, according to a recent report released by 8btc.

Technology cities in China are competing to hire the few fully qualified blockchain talents available in the country. The city of Guiyang issued a policy in 2017 that highly qualified blockchain talents to enjoy apartment treatment and living allowances. Hangzhou issued a 3 million Chinese Yuan subsidy in May 2018 to attract highly skilled blockchain talents.

However, the recruitment of blockchain enterprises has dropped by 53.68% after China’s regulatory authorities recently pressed too hard on cryptocurrency. For the same reason, the number of blockchain recruiters has also dropped by 51.71%. Despite these shortcomings, the number of employment seekers is 7.12 times the recruitment demand.

Blockchain talents are split into two fields; application development and the fundamental structure talents. These qualified programmers play a crucial part in the development of blockchain technology. Many of these talents have acquired their skills through self-study.

Over ten universities in China are currently offering blockchain-related programs. Tsinghua University has been offering blockchain courses that are yet to be made majors. A couple of colleges are also offering training programs on blockchain technology through cooperation with blockchain enterprises. Huobi, a leading crypto exchange in China, has also partnered with Xiamen University to train students on blockchain tech.

China will be investing heavily in training more blockchain talents in the future due to their high demand. This will be achieved through the establishment of blockchain research programs and training computer and information security personnel. There is also a need to introduce blockchain knowledge in management and finance majors.

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Author: Denis Miriti

This Could Lead to a Bitcoin (BTC) Price War

China started the decline in BTC price and miners releasing additional supply into the market further put pressure

S9-Antminer rigs no longer profitable, so the old machines need to get a shakeout. Miners are easy to regulate and provides tax revenue benefit unlike crypto exchanges that helped fuel speculation and capital flight in China

What is behind the 15% drop in Bitcoin price?

According to several commentators, it is China. CNBC’s Brian Kelley claimed China cracking down on crypto trading is what got this bloodbath started and then some miners getting capitulated did the job further.

Economists and trader Alex Kruger also tweeted.

However, analyst Mati Greenspan believes we are just looking for a “scapegoat.” This is because even though it has been promoting blockchain technology, China hasn’t reversed its stance on crypto trading.

PBoC’s latest move against crypto trading has people “downright scared”. This can be seen in the Crypto Fear and Greed Index that is signaling “extreme greed” for the past few days as BTC price today fell to $6,515 level.

Miners Releasing Additional Supply into the Market

Greenspan in his newsletter on Monday said China news is only half the story. He pointed out that much of the crypto community on social media are long term BTC hodlers who “won’t necessarily be knocked off their positions by FUD.”

The other half of the story is the miners releasing additional supply of their BTC stash, stored during the bull run in the market. Just this morning, Dovey Wan, founding partner of Primitive Crypto in an interview with BlockTV shared that 50% of the current hash rate is contributed by S9-Antminer rigs and they are no longer profitable.

This year, the hash rate of the Bitcoin network has also increased significantly, making an all-time high in late October. This “unprecedented growth” Greenspan says is for the most part because of advances in ASIC technology. As new rigs come online, the hash rate has grown, Greenspan continued,

“what we’ve yet to see, or may be seeing at this moment, is a shakeout of the old machines. Let’s just hope it doesn’t lead to a price war,”

Bitcoin mining profitability calculator, Source: CryptoCompare

Bitcoin Mining Works in Regulators’ Favor

When it comes to mining, China dominates with 70% of global bitcoin mining operations. And in late October, in a surprising move, China’s economic planning agency removed crypto mining from its list of activities set for being banned or eliminated.

This decision reportedly left many miners confused about the central government’s stance on cryptocurrency. However, it doesn’t mean there would be “a wild growth of mining farms,” said Wang Hongyi, who manages mining machines in the provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia. Miners he said think:

“very far ahead in the future and [believe] this type of business will come under regulation.”

They are actually expecting the electricity fees to rise because

“once the government regulates it, they will want the fee to cover construction and fire services, etc.”

But while it will increase the cost of operation, it will make it easier for miners to work with governments, Wang said.

Taking a look from the regulators’ side, cryptocurrency exchanges have been bad for them because they helped fuel speculation and capital flight whereas mining can provide tax revenue benefits, Martin Chorzempa, a research fellow from Peterson Institute for International Economics shared his views with the South China Morning Post. He said,

“My sense was always that they [miners] are easier to regulate because they run on physical hardware in China and you know who won each block and how much that is worth because that is all public information.”

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Author: Carl T