Neer VarshneyFormer TNW writer
Blockchain technology has received an unlikely endorsement from the president of China.
Xi Jinping was speaking at the annual conference of Chinese Academy of Sciences on Monday when he mentioned blockchain among the latest technologies that are making economic breakthroughs. He said:
Since entering the 21st century, global scientific and technological innovation has entered an unprecedented period of intensive activity. A new round of scientific and technological revolutions and industrial changes are reconstructing the global innovation map and reshaping the global economic structure.
The new generation of information technology represented by artificial intelligence, quantum information, mobile communication, internet of things, and blockchain accelerate the breakthrough in application and bred new life science fields represented by synthetic biology, gene editing, brain science, and regenerative medicine.
While blockchain finds only one mention in a larger speech, it further solidifies Chinese government’s approach of ‘blockchain, not Bitcoin‘.
China has taken a stringent approach towards regulating cryptocurrencies.
The authorities initially banned initial coin offerings (ICOs) countrywide in September last year, followed by banning both local and foreign cryptocurrency exchanges. Regulatory hurdles in China forced Binance, world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, to move to Malta instead.
China’s decision of throttling cryptocurrency businesses is particularly interesting given that it saw both the highest amount of cryptocurrency mining and trading in the world before the sanctions.
The Chinese government has instead focused on nurturing blockchain technology in the country. China has seen an exponential rise in the number of blockchain startups in the country, with at least 100 startups emerging just in 2017. Nearly half of the country’s publicly listed banks also utilize blockchain technology.
Earlier this month, China’s state council, central administrative branch of the government, ordered the provincial and municipal governments in the country to accelerate implementation of blockchain technology across several sectors.
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