The President of China Xi Jinping said this week that blockchain technology will enable “breakthrough” applications.
According to a report in CNBC, the president said: “A new generation of technology represented by artificial intelligence, quantum information, mobile communications, internet of things and blockchain is accelerating breakthrough applications.” The leader of China also said the country needs to focus on technological development and become a leader in science and innovation.
Blockchain is the technology that underpins cryptocurrency. Though China is embracing blockchain, it has taken a much different stance on bitcoin and other digital tokens. The country has banned bitcoin trading as well as initial coin offerings, given the risk to regular investors. However, it is still a hub for blockchain activity, reported CNBC, noting that there are several startups that are partnering with the Chinese government to research or enable blockchain technology.
“Since entering the 21st century, global science and technological innovation have entered into an unprecedented period of intensive activity,” Xi said during a meeting of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering. “A new round of scientific and industrial revolution is reconstructing the global innovation map and reshaping the global economic structure.”
Underscoring its chops when it comes to blockchain, data — in March — from the World Intellectual Property Organization database showed that more than half of the 406 blockchain patent applications filed last year were from China. And, of the top nine companies that filed such patents between 2012 and 2017, six were Chinese, with Beijing Technology Development leading the pack.
China filed 225 of the blockchain patents last year and 59 in 2016, followed by the U.S. (91 in 2017 and 21 in 2016) and Australia (13 last year and 19 in 2016). Though not every patent leads to an actual product or is found to be useful, Thomson Reuters points out that the data shows an increase in the blockchain space, as well as creates barriers to entry.