In blockchain, China may have found a hit

Studying blockchain technology has become a communistic and national movement in China after Chinese president Xi Jinping’s public endorsement on CCTV. From civil servants, to business wo/men, to students, to stay-at-home moms, the public is encouraged to study Introduction to Blockchain, on “Xuexi Qiangguo” (学习强国), an app designed to teach Xi’s thoughts, users are now encouraged to study 

Quickly following Xi’s recent national call-to-action was an announcement from Huang Qifan, vice chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges. The statement alluded to the imminent birth of China’s national cryptocurrency: the DCEP

Old wine in a new bottle? 

Yet, despite overwhelmingly positive responses from the market,  with a surge in bitcoin price and Chinese blockchain-related stocks, hardly any of the published rhetoric is new. 

Blockchain technology has long been on the national agenda. Projects ranging from ConsenSys’s collaboration with Xiongan, the future capital of China, to Wanxiang’s 30 billion smart city initiative, and five years of discussions about issuing a national cryptocurrency mean that exactly none of the recent announcements ought to come as a surprise.

So why then is the Chinese government making such a public splash all of a sudden?

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A new weapon to claim tech supremacy 

If we zoom out and look at the overall technology space in China, we can see that the country has been playing a catch-up game. It’s been dependant on many foreign technologies, with chip making the most obvious example. Fearing that one day the trade war between China and the US would reach an unagreeable situation, the Chinese government recently announced a $29 billion investment in chip Innovation, to help close the gap. 

Blockchain came at a time when China is looking for a technology breakthrough to lead. The timing is perfect for two…

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