For China, cryptos are anathema, while the blockchain is to be embraced, or so it seems in light of recent policy and project announcements.
China has grappled with cryptos, eying them with suspicion amid speculative trading that has seen both fortunes made and lost. Its been months since the country banned initial coin offerings (ICOs) outright, and last month, regulators sounded an alarm about illegal fundraisers done with cryptos. Even social media has been limited in terms of how much can be said about cryptocurrencies.
Last week, the country blocked access to 124 offshore crypto exchanges. The state-run media notes that citizenry cannot use the exchanges, so trading is off limits.
There seems to be a bifurcation between cryptos and blockchain itself, where Beijing wants to bring some use cases into mainstream adoption, and where the road moves away from cryptos. Government officials have even been given handbooks on how blockchain works and can be deployed.
In the latest salvos of blockchain related projects, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China said, through its chairman, that the bank will train its sights on developing blockchain projects. This is no minnow among financial firms. As CNBC states, the 34-year-old bank is the biggest in the country, with reach to more than 500 million customers.
In terms of business-to-business (B2B) applications, news came on Tuesday (Sept. 4) that the People’s Bank of China is in the “testing” phase of trade finance done over blockchain. Estimates are that, in China, the total investment in blockchain stands at $3.6 billion in the last two years, according to numbers published late last week.
Click here to see how the move toward blockchain and away from cryptos is taking shape in China.