China Greets Blockchain With A Smile
Since the birth of Bitcoin, the terms "blockchain" and "cryptocurrency" have gone hand in hand, with many using the two words to complement each other in a similar context. Although it is widely recognized that acceptance of the blockchain directly implies acceptance of cryptocurrencies, China has taken a different approach, with innovators within the country trying to push the development of blockchain technologies, while at the same time they hinder the adoption of cryptocurrencies.  According to a report by Asia Nikkei Review, a source of news in Asia, Chinese companies have clearly led the blockchain patent race, with Alibaba alone accounting for more than 10% of patent applications blockchain of the world. China's infatuation to innovation blockchain has taken on the whole country, with Internet giants like Tencent and Baidu having issued a staggering 56% of 406 patents worldwide .
To put this statistic at 56% in perspective, the United States, which is unquestionably the world's most important technological superpower, is responsible for only 22% of patent applications focused on the blockchain.
As from a table of the report (seen on the right), the People's Bank of China takes the cake when it comes to the most decentralized ledger technology patents (DLT)
presented by a single entity, with the Chinese central bank that issued 68 documents in recent years. Following are the 68 PBOC patents: Alibaba, Bank of America, nChain Holdings, Beijing Rui Josie Technology Development, Mastercard, Jiangsu Tongfudun Information Technology, Cloud Minds (Shenzhen) Technologies, China United Network Communications and Hangzhou Qulian Technology.
John Eastwood, a Taiwan-based partner at Eiger Law, commented on China's relentless push for the adoption and development of blockchain, stating:
Blockchain is a new technological landscape in which it could be very profitable for Chinese companies to conquer significant territories in their language of patent application. The holding of numerous patents helps to provide a legitimacy that helps many companies in the blockchain business to attract investors or buyers.
Chinese blockchain pioneers have found a good variety of industries to apply DLT, including supply chain management, global financial transactions (remittance), postal services, health care, and more.
Alibaba's Blockchain chain
Alibaba, China's second-largest company, has taken a rather open approach when it comes to blockchain. Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba and one of the best-known entrepreneurs in the world, has openly supported the DLT. Speaking at the launch of his company's blockchain centric remittance service in Hong Kong, Ma said:
Blockchain technology can help overcome the challenges of security, sustainability and inclusion. It could change our world more than people can imagine.
And it seems that the company has not adopted an "all talk, without action" approach, with the $ 450 billion giant making a series of moves to accommodate blockchain technologies in recent months. More recently, Alibaba has begun to explore the use of blockchain in the healthcare sector, working with the city of Changzhou to verify and "protect" a patient's medical data on a blockchain.
While China has undoubtedly taken a leading role in the so-called "blockchain revolution", the heavy-handed government seems hesitant to say yes to cryptocurrencies, or at least for now.
Photo of Theodor Lundqvist on Unsplash