Don’t look now, but the Chinese are innovating in supply chains.
Specifically, reports today show that Alibaba Group, China’s answer to Amazon or eBay, is one of the largest retailers to currently be building blockchain into various systems. In an article in a Chinese newspaper earlier this week, Liu Song VP of Alibaba Group, announced a specific initiative to use blockchain for cross-border supply chain evaluation and management.
Song characterized this new Alibaba blockchain project as an effort to “create a closed-loop ecological system that could be linked with local governments.”
“Alibaba also plans to develop new technologies such as Internet of Things … and blockchain in the fields of customs brokers, international logistics and trade finances, according to Song’s extended remarks to brokerage and investment bank China Galaxy Securities,” writes Max Yakubowski in Cointelegraph this morning.
This is not the first time that Alibaba is making headlines with blockchain.
Some might remember last October when the Eastern retailer filed a patent for blockchain systems that would intervene to stop illegal transactions.
“Jack Ma-led Alibaba has filed yet another application for a blockchain-based patent,” wrote Alex Lielacher on Oct. 10 at Brave New Coin. “The application describes a system which would allow for “administrative intervention” in smart contracts — and continues the trend of Chinese companies dominating global blockchain patent applications … In the application, Alibaba explains that the development of blockchain technology has facilitated the growth of an entire sector due to its inherent properties. The immutability of blockchain provides individual users and businesses alike with certain advantages. Alibaba, however, states that the fact that the blockchain is immutable presents a challenge, especially in the context of any illegal activity.”
In general, Alibaba is seen as one of the largest global companies with one of the biggest stakes in blockchain resources.
Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma has also been vocal about specific applications of blockchain to various industries. One top example is manufacturing.
“AI, Blockchain and IoT will be meaningless tech unless they can promote the transformation of the manufacturing industry, and the evolution of the society towards a greener and more inclusive direction,” Ma said last year, according to reporting by Abhimanyu Krishnan in Invest in Blockchain.
What does this mean for the cryptocurrency investor?
While we’re keeping an eye on big blockchain projects on this side of the pond – think IBM’s Food Trust program or U.S. state government agencies using blockchain for motor vehicle systems, we can also think about how the underlying blockchain technology is taking off in other parts of the world. The Middle Kingdom, as an enormous retailer and exporter, certainly classifies as one of the biggest push points for blockchain in today’s global economy. That can have an effect on cryptocurrency markets. Specifically, look for coins or tokens that are tied to greater blockchain implementation and viability.