China Merchants Bank (CMB) announced that it has become the first bank in the country to issue blockchain electronic invoices.
According to China Knowledge, the news comes just one month after the bank revealed its intention to launch a blockchain eInvoice. Management at the Shenzhen branch explained that the technology, which is connected to the blockchain platform of the Shenzhen Tax Bureau, allows for transactions to be traced, and the information cannot be tampered with.
This isn’t the first blockchain-based project for CMB. The bank has also implemented cross-border payment, inter-industry contract, ABS and bill transfer since it started building its blockchain application in 2016.
And while China has been wary of cryptos, eyeing them with suspicion amid speculative trading that has seen both fortunes made and lost, it is embracing blockchain. In May, President Xi Jinping stated that blockchain remains a “breakthrough” technology, while a handbook also appeared, geared toward educating government officials on blockchain. It was reported that the total investment in blockchain from China stands at $3.6 billion in the last two years.
Then in September, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China said, through its chairman, that the bank will train its sights on developing blockchain projects. And this is no minnow among financial firms: 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 that same month that the People’s Bank of China is in the “testing” phase of trade finance done over blockchain. The initiative spans several banks, and includes authentication efforts and regulatory oversight. The project will “help banks to conduct business authenticity audit[s], reduce business costs, improve business efficiency [and] prevent and control business risks.”