Tencent Spearheads Blockchain Invoice Standardization Initiative

Tencent Leads Blockchain Invoice Standardization

China’s Tencent will take the lead in helping the global blockchain industry standardize invoices sent on distributed ledger technology (DLT), China’s Global Times reported on Tuesday (Oct. 29).

Tax regulators in China granted approval for Tencent to lead an initiative aimed at developing international standards for invoices sent via blockchain-based platforms, reports said. Dubbed “General Framework of DLT-Based Invoices,” the project will also see support from the U.K., Sweden, Brazil and Switzerland.

“The project shows China’s industry and market activity in blockchain tech application,” Li Ming, director of the blockchain research department at the China Electronics Standardization Institute, told the publication. “eInvoicing is an appropriate field for blockchain application probes and trials currently, which could, in turn, promote tech development.”

The initiative will focus on verifiability and transparency, which are key when multiple parties are collaborating on a blockchain-based application, Ming added.

According to the report, the standards would be the first in the world.

The standardization project was discussed by participants of the initiative during a recent meeting organized by the ITU, the United Nations’ information and communications technologies unit. Along with Tencent, representatives from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, as well as taxation regulators from China, also participated.

According to reports, a recent report by asset management firm Guosheng Securities found that “as of Aug. 10, more than six million blockchain eInvoices have been issued, and more than 5,300 companies have been registered in China to use blockchain eInvoices since the first [eInvoice] was issued by Tencent on Aug. 10, 2019.”

Invoice standardization is viewed by proponents as a way to streamline straight-through processing of invoices for senders, recipients and related third parties. In the procurement function, for instance, invoice standardization allows back-office platforms to automatically aggregate, categorize and transmit invoice data into appropriate systems for invoice processing, approval and payment.

Some jurisdictions, including Australia, have launched their own initiatives to promote invoice standardization for invoices sent from government agencies or the private sector.