More funding is being pumped into the blockchain infrastructure in China as four universities are receiving a grant for an interdisciplinary research effort to examine artificial intelligence (AI), enhancing the security of electronic payment systems and blockchain technology applications.
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Business School has partnered with the University of Hong Kong (HKU), the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), and the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) to work on the research project; the project grant value sits at HKD 157 million (approximately USD 20 million).
According to a local media outlet China News, the project is to be captained by professor Tan Jiayin, a renowned academic. His most prominent work, ‘Strengthening Hong Kong’s Strategic Position as a Regional and International Business Center’, places him as a perfect candidate for the role as it gave focus to network security, blockchain and AI.
The academic institutions will be studying these emerging industries and challenges to explore and discuss the future of Hong Kong’s bid to become a global financial hub. Additionally, Tan welcomes the participation of banks as there will be relevant research into digital currencies, financial product design and distribution services.
Crypto skeptic, blockchain savant
China is taking a radically different path to the rest of the world when it comes to the multi-faceted world of blockchain technologies. The nation notoriously banned cryptocurrency trading and initial coin offerings, which led many to believe that this would be a nation untouched by the blockchain boom.
This year, however, this has come undone to some degree. Recent surveys have found that almost a quarter of Hong Kong residents have some interest in purchasing cryptocurrencies, despite the ban, with some respondents citing lack of regulation as a contributing factor to their skepticism.
There has also been a dramatic increase of blockchain-related companies emerging in China. Recent research figures show that companies with the word blockchain in their title name has risen from 555 in 2017 to 3,078 in 2018.
That figure comes as no surprise as major Chinese cities have seen eye-watering levels of governmental and private funding pumped into blockchain startups as well as other blockchain-related projects.
The city of Hangzhou received USD 1.6 billion for blockchain projects with some of the funding opening a blockchain industrial park in the city, and Nanjing City obtained USD 1.48 billion to support academic innovations, startups and established companies seeking to integrate blockchain technology into their business.
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