Chinese technology company Tencent has announced it’s going to start researching cryptocurrency and its implications for an ongoing project in blockchain, according to reports.
Media in China reported that the company told its staff about the news, and that the new research group will be in charge of pushing the company forward in the digital payments ecosphere by using blockchain. Tencent is also currently looking for a leader of the research group.
Tencent, which operates WeChat, one of the largest chat platforms in the world, recently teamed up with huge diamond mining firm ALROSA, as well as blockchain operation Everledger. The purpose is to introduce a brand new program for users that’s geared toward the diamond industry.
Tencent was involved with the development of blockchain-enabled digital billing, with an invoice system for the city of Shenzen.
Also, Tencent’s WeBank has the distinction of being the first infrastructure provider for the country’s blockchain network as a whole. China has been increasingly interested in the blockchain network and its public utility, especially in the fields of energy management and telecommunications.
In China, a number of companies, including Tencent, were recently ordered to clean up policies on the way their apps deal with user information, or face penalties.
A total of 41 apps were found to be not in compliance of user data rules, according to regulators, and violations included improperly collecting or using information about visitors to their services.
The apps must comply by Dec. 31 or face consequences, which could include fines or loss of licenses that could reduce revenue or depress share prices.
China has the largest number of internet users in the world, with over 800 million people online, but the country also has strict censorship policies.
In other recent crackdowns by China’s Communist authorities, companies have faced increasingly steep control and regulation by the government. In 2014, Sina lost its license after facing charges of allowing lewd video content to be posted. And last year, Tencent saw declines in share prices when regulators began exercising more oversight on online games, concerned that young people were spending too much time on them.