China’s internet watchdog approves 309 more blockchain projects

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China’s Cyberspace Affairs Commission (CAC) has released the second batch of approved blockchain projects, 309 in total by companies in the financial services, healthcare, auto manufacturing, e-commerce, and logistics sectors.

Why it matters: The expanded list of approved projects reflects a growing acceptance from China’s internet authorities toward applications for blockchain technology including financial and public services.

  • The move comes as the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) presses ahead with its planned digital currency project, which could make it the first central bank to issue virtual money at a large scale.
  • Digital asset management and blockchain-based financial services feature heavily in the second batch of approved projects.

Details: Traditional sectors such as finance are embracing and implementing blockchain technology in various aspects of their operations.

  • More than 50 registered blockchain services from the new list are for digital asset management, wallet services, and other financial services including projects from major financial institutions such as the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Ping An Bank, and China UnionPay.
  • Projects by Chinese tech giants also made it on the list, including blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platforms by JD.com, Alibaba Cloud, Baidu, and Huawei Cloud.
  • The list includes government entities as well. For example, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange’s blockchain-based platform for cross-border payments, Hangzhou Internet Notary Office’s blockchain-powered repository service, and the Tax Bureau of the State Administration of Taxation’s blockchain electronic invoice system are included in the most recent batch.

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Context: While the trading of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is outlawed in the country, blockchain technology is used across different industries in China, such as financial services, public services, healthcare, logistics, and manufacturing.

  • The CAC released draft regulations for blockchain-based services in October 2018, aiming to promote “orderly development” of the emerging technology in the country. The draft rules, which came into effect on February 15, require companies to implement real-name registration, maintain correspondence with authorities, and provide relevant information as requested.
  • On March 30, the CAC released the list of blockchain information services that have successfully registered with the filing management system. The first list included 197 registered blockchain projects.