When the blockchain era arrives, all transactions will be transparent and decentralized. China, a country with a centralized authority issued an ICO ban in September, seeing how crypto frenzy led $394 million to be contributed towards ICOs in the period from January to June 2017. However, it’s interesting to see how blockchain technology, a decentralized database, is actively making its moves in China, and has attracted international cryptocurrency gurus and blockchain startups to the country.

This year, we talked about the present, past and future of cryptocurrency and blockchain. We have observed some ridiculous ideas trying to raise funding using ICO, how US and Chinese multinational corporates are trying to tackle food safety using blockchain and learned about blockchain’s future at the blockchain side stage at TechCrunch Shanghai 2017. In short, Bitcoin is here to stay; Crypto is as much about ideology as it is about making money; We need to be patient. As we will continue to write about blockchain as stories unfold, we gathered up the most popular blockchain and bitcoin stories of 2017.

1. NEO—China’s Ethereum—is building a smart economy on blockchain

Dubbed the Ethereum of China, NEO has one of China’s most successful cryptocurrencies and is also China’s first open source blockchain. Much like Ethereum, NEO uses a general purpose blockchain and runs smart contracts on it.

NEO has been developing actual products based on the blockchain. The company is betting on what they call the “Smart Economy” which involves creating standards for digital assets, smart contracts, and blockchain-based digital identity systems.

2. Qtum says the trend is building a new business model on top of blockchain

In China, building a new business model based on blockchain has become a trend.

Qtum (pronounced Quantum) is now becoming a toolset and a platform for companies to build their business on top of blockchain. The Shanghai-based blockchain company has their own cryptocurrency called Qtum, which now ranks in the top 20 on CryptoCurrencies Market Capitalization index and provides a blockchain application platform to execute “smart contracts” with a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism.

3. Crypto startup Zeus Exchange uses Chinese tech to transform shares via blockchain

It will soon be possible to buy shares anonymously and securely anywhere in the world via cryptocurrency. And for smaller investors, shares of shares will be available, all for almost no transaction fees.

Russian startup Zeus Exchange, has registered in Singapore and become licensed in Cyprus to trade shares using the smart asset blockchain—the world’s first—developed by Singapore-based foundation, NEM. The not-for-profit foundation is developing its systems in China. The framework that Zeus Exchange will use could be particularly successful in China due to it allowing access to exchanges all around the world via Cyprus. Plus anonymously, and at small scale.

4. Blockchain is shaking up O2O in China and turning cryptocurrency into Pokémon Go

VeChain, a blockchain firm with offices in Shanghai, Singapore, and Paris, sees the technology as a “trust machine.” It assigns each item with a unique ID which is registered to VeChain’s blockchain allowing it to be authenticated and traced to its origin—an important task considering how many fake products there are on the Chinese market.

Beijing-based LoMoStar is building an O2O ecosystem by putting cryptocurrency in red envelopes, also known as “hongbao.” The company’s LoMoCoin (LMC) token can be exchanged for real value (either fiat money, bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies) and it enables marketing and advertising in the LoMoStar ecosystem, according to its CEO, Xiong Lijian. It’s like the Pokémon Go app but with cryptocurrency gift cards.

5. Central bank says all ICOs illegal

The People’s Bank of China has said that initial coin offerings (ICOs) and any related fundraising activities are illegal. The regulator said in its notice that all activity must stop. The bank has conducted investigations into the practice and found it to disturb financial order.

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Eva Yoo

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at evayoo@technode.com

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