China Assertive on Blockchain, Less on Cryptocurrencies


Right now, Fintech experts are looking at new documents from China talking about the need for the country to accelerate development of blockchain technologies.

In it, Zhou Ping of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology cites domestic blockchain standardization work going back to 2016: Ping also bears the weighty title of secretary general of the China Blockchain Technology and Industry Development Forum and is also Software Engineering and Evaluation Center director at China’s Electronics Technology Standardization Research Institute.

“China’s blockchain standardization roadmap is the standard system framework,” Ping wrote, according to a popular translation of the document originally posted in Chinese.  “The blockchain standards are divided into five categories: foundation, process and method, credibility and interoperability, business and application, and information security. … The development of the reference architecture standard is conducive to unifying the understanding of the blockchain, and has important guiding significance for selecting and applying blockchain services and building blockchain systems in various industries.”

Leaders such as Ping cite “misunderstandings” and “immature” views of technology applications as obstacles to further industrial and institutional development.

Looking at the private sector, one can see how the Middle Kingdom is moving toward blockchain options.

Alibaba is China’s most popular online marketplace, rivaling American creations like eBay and Amazon. Alibaba’s Jack Ma has gone on the record to defend blockchain technology, and the company holds a surprising number of blockchain patents.

However, recent news shows Ma has no love for cryptocurrencies.

I said honestly, I know very little about it, and I’m totally confused,” Ma recently said of Bitcoin adoption, according to reporting at Smartereum. “Even if it works, the whole international rules on trade and financing are going to be completely changed.”

Jack Ma is not the only one equating cryptocurrency booms with the Internet bubble of the early millennium and excessive speculation and volatility. For traders who want to evangelize BTC or some other coin, it’s important to understand the difference between embracing blockchain and embracing something like Bitcoin.

In other words, the Chinese seem to be enthusiastic about using blockchain as a way to track transactions – to prevent counterfeit goods, to aid in combating money laundering – to make business more transparent.

That’s different then having a robust market for speculating on coin prices, which is something that Chinese government officials and private sector leaders both seem reluctant to sign onto.