China just launched its National Blockchain Research Center with the goal of training 500,000 industry professionals in the technology, signaling the country’s continued push for blockchain development for industrial use. Despite Beijing’s cryptocurrency ban, the Chinese government remains bullish on the potential of blockchain, which it has sought to separate from digital assets. The recently launched blockchain research center, which has received approval from the Ministry of Science and Technology, is situated in Beijing and is expected to collaborate with research organizations, universities, and corporations to bolster the growth of China’s digital economy.
In a report by the SCMP, the lead position of the National Blockchain Research Center in Beijing will be handled by the Beijing Academy of Blockchain and Edge Computing, a government-funded research organization that was behind the development of ChainMaker, the first open-source blockchain platform made in China.
During the first month of this year, the Beijing government leveraged Chang’an Chain, a blockchain platform developed by the academy, to enhance the protection and organization of social data and government affairs from over 80 departments. The newly established blockchain research center is set to work with the academy to build a nationwide blockchain network that interconnects existing blockchains in China and provides support to other sectors.
China’s National Blockchain Research Center: Plans and Objectives
One of the objectives of the newly launched National Blockchain Research Center in China is to train half-a-million blockchain professionals in a bid to enhance the industrial use of blockchain technology. Another goal of the institution is to forge a national-level blockchain network that will link up the different blockchains in China and provide support to various sectors.
The research center will also be working hand-in-hand with research institutes, universities, and companies from different industries to support China’s digital economy. Its goals are tailored to align with the Chinese government’s five-year plan.
China’s Continued Push for Blockchain Development
China’s interest in blockchain technology was sparked in 2019 after President Xi Jinping gave his endorsement. In the five-year plan issued by the Chinese State Council in 2021, blockchain was identified as one of the key areas for the country’s digital economy development.
It should be noted though that while China has a strict stance on cryptocurrencies and prohibits their trading, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are allowed under the label of “digital collectibles.”
Experts Warn Against Reading Too Much into Hong Kong’s Web3 Development
Hong Kong has recently sought to become a Web3 hub, with regulations making cryptocurrency a new asset class and an allocation of HK$50 million (US$6.4 million) to boost the development of the Web3 industry. However, experts warn that Hong Kong’s developments should not be viewed as indicative of mainland China’s overall stance on cryptocurrency.
Although some Hong Kong branches of mainland banks have onboarded crypto clients, Beijing’s official stance on crypto remains unfazed.
China’s launch of a National Blockchain Research Center emphasizes the country’s commitment to blockchain development for industrial use, distinguishing it from digital assets. By strategically partnering with the Beijing Academy of Blockchain and Edge Computing, the research center will establish a nationwide blockchain network that integrates with existing blockchains in the country and provide support to various sectors.
Though Hong Kong’s efforts to boost Web3 development may suggest that the city is becoming China’s crypto hub, experts advise against drawing too much conclusions from it. It is worth noting that despite Hong Kong’s advancements, China’s official position on cryptocurrency remains firm.
Giancarlo is an economist and researcher by profession. Prior to his addition to Blockzeit’s dynamic team, he was handling several crypto projects for both the government and private sectors as a Project Manager of a consultancy firm.