Blockchain is one of the fastest growing technologies in the world. After being launched as an underlying platform for Bitcoin ten years ago, the innovative tech has matured to become the most successful technical creations of the 21st Century.
The market was initially ruled by start-ups and small companies, which were purely focused on developing the space. However, in the past two years, the technology has gained tremendous popularity among big business corporations. Several American business giants have invested heavily in the blockchain sector, including Bank of America, JPMorgan, Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, and HSBC. However, a recent report suggests that it’s China which is leading the blockchain space.
Earlier this year, a report by the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) suggested that China filed the most number (790) of blockchain based patents in 2018, closely followed by the US, who had 762 blockchain based patents under its belt. The new reports further confirm the dominance of China in the blockchain game.
According to the report by Blockdata, a Beijing based data service provider, China accounts for over 25% of total blockchain projects in the world. Till November 2018, the world’s second-largest economy had 263 live blockchain related projects, more than any other country in the world. However, this figure grew significantly in the following month, as Beijing based think tank EO Intelligence stated in December that there were about 615 blockchain related companies in the country, with half of them engaged in developing blockchain based solutions for financial companies.
Blockchain activities, in fact, have been growing across the globe. IBM, for instance, has partnered with several governments and private organisations to develop blockchain solutions, apart from launching its own blockchain based payments app. Payment companies like VISA and PayPal have also stepped in the blockchain realm.
In Asia, countries like Singapore, Taiwan, and India are also taking big strides in the space. One Indian tech company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has pledged to lead the blockchain space in the world’s fastest growing economy. The company stated that it will provide blockchain solutions to all the companies in the country, from its tech centres in Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Similarly, in China, there have been tremendous projects under development. Asia’s biggest e-commerce company, Chinese conglomerate Alibaba has been placing big bets on the platform and has already adopted the innovative tech in its supply chain management platform. Contrastingly, China has been quite hostile towards cryptocurrencies and has completely banned ICOs in the country.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, however, has been a strong advocate of blockchain technology. Last year, Jinping endorsed blockchain adoption, voicing the popular argument of “blockchain, not Bitcoin”. The government itself has been promoting the blockchain technology in the country. In 2017 alone, over 100 start-ups were incorporated in China.
Nonetheless, the government has been completely liberal with the blockchain space. China has stringent regulations in place for blockchain based businesses, which were made even more stricter in February earlier this year. Every blockchain start-up must mandatorily register with the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). Last week a list of 197 companies was released, which are to be regulated as blockchain providers. The list included names like Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu.
Many leaders have predicted blockchain to cover almost half of the global economy as early as 2025. If that turns out to be true, China will have played a major role in it. Conditions in China are conducive for blockchain based research and development, mainly due to its high population, and the availability of essential infrastructure.
Also, the government has been finding newer sectors for development, in order to minimise the country’s dependence on the United States, especially after the start of Sino-US trade war. Blockchain space could immensely benefit, if China emerges as the superpower of the innovative sector.