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China Aerospace Industry Turns to Blockchain for Invoicing Issues

The Chinese State Aerospace Industry is looking to utilizing blockchain technology to update some of its electronic invoicing.

According to a government announcement posted by State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Ltd will be fulfilling state plans for using blockchain for invoicing for tax purposes.

The government website article reportedly suggested that 1.31 billion electronic invoices were circulating its system in 2017 and forecast that this would rise to 54.55 billion by 2020. The article claims that the government has issued some 2.5 billion such invoices to date which cover such services as delivery, filing, inspection and tax reimbursement.

With a system which appears to be severely overburdened, it appears to be also suffering from other issues such as over-reporting along with false reports and traceability problems. China Aerospace’s blockchain system for electronic invoices is designed to overcome some of these administrative hurdles and what it has called “pain points” and streamline tax data sharing making it more efficient and cost-effective.

In May, the State Administration of Taxation in China’s fourth-largest city Shenzhen teamed up with tech giant Tencent to deal with a similar issue relating to tax loopholes and accountability. That blockchain system targets efficient circulation and issuance of tax invoices and protects the authenticity of legal documents.

In other news from China, Ripple has suggested that it is targeting the country with a DLT solution to speed up cross-border payments. Jeremy Light, vice president of European Union strategic accounts at Ripple confirmed:

“China is definitely of interest, it is definitely a target… China is definitely a country and region of interest.”

Ripple’s interest in the region is no secret after it struck a deal earlier this year with Hong Kong-based financial services firm LianLian International targeting cross-border transactions.

 

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China Releases Blockchain Guidebook for Bureaucrats

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has published a blockchain guidebook that observes the technology’s key features scientifically, the origins and future applications, as well as approaching challenges.

An official’s guidebook

The publication was announced on 13 Augus in a press release on the CPC website. The book, ‘Blockchain – A guide for Officials’, covers many facets of the nascent technology which will offer counsel to government officials.

In an excerpt from the book in the chapter ‘From Internet Thinking to Blockchain Thinking’, Ye Hao, president of People’s Network writes:

“We call on the industry peers to continue to look at the blockchain technology with a development perspective. Looking at the blockchain label from a scientific perspective, look at the blockchain industry with a strategic eye, look at the blockchain business opportunities with a calm eye, promote the sustainable and healthy development of the blockchain industry.”

The introduction of the book allows for the CPC to assist other government authorities on how to better understand blockchain, establish a common ground from which they can work together and drive adoption of the distributed ledger technology on a national scale.

Looking ahead

The publication arrives at a time when huge levels of funding directed at blockchain are pouring in across multiple mega-city projects in China: USD 80 million for blockchain startups in Shenzhen, USD 1.6 billion in Hangzhou and USD 1.48 billion for Nanjing City.

Furthermore, the “number one urban project” in China, Xiong’an, is now set to become a “dream city“; this is thanks to a recent partnership between the latest mega-city and blockchain development firm ConsenSys.

International language of learning

Comprehensive studies that call for the widespread understanding and adoption of blockchain are emerging from every corner of the world. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information (MIIT) in collaboration with Tencent Holdings released a report detailing the numerous economical enhancements that distributed ledger technology (DLT) offers.

In Scotland, a paper was recently released, bullishly calling for the Scottish government and industries to rally around this tech and innovate alongside the rest of the world with it. Similarly, the United States Chamber of Digital Commerce also published a guidebook in a bid to generate discussion and understanding of virtual tokens, urging that regulatory policies need to develop sooner rather than later.

A top senior economist from the Bank of Canada also released an extraordinarily-detailed research paper describing the potential benefits of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). A US-based, world-leading IT industry trade association released another guidebook that gives focus to blockchain applications in the public sector.

Educational literature, backed by the world’s largest governments and industry representatives, is a boost to the credibility of blockchain. Perhaps they will also serve as a means for a global blockchain consensus at some point in the future.

 

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Academia in China Receive Millions for Blockchain, E-Payment, AI Research

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.

Collaboration

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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10-Year Token Payment Delay Show Rare Developer Commitment

Beijing-based startup Nebulas has made the decision to postpone the initial coin offering (ICO) team’s token payments. They added an additional seven years to prove their determination for the company’s success, in a rare case of altruism for the lambasted industry.

The ICO team were initially planned to be paid through reserves of the startup’s native NAS token over three years following the offering before they agreed this could take place over the forthcoming decade instead.

Nebulas’s marketing director Becky Lu said that the decision was made so that the team could focus their efforts on the ”technical vision” of the company. She said that the decision was not easy as there were still many risks surrounding the blockchain industry and the future value of NAS, saying ”I think that shows our determination”.

Further to this commitment, a blog post from the company on Medium says it will publish the addresses of the undistributed NAS tokens. These make up 55% of the total number of tokens, with 45.5 million currently in circulation.

With the number of ICOs failing to provide the business that they have promised at a shamefully high level, Nebulas’s commitment stands out and sets a high standard for quality.

Its ICO raised USD 60 million in December last year through sales of NAS. The current NAS market cap stands at approximately USD 54.9 million.

The Nebulas project

The Nebulas white paper describes the project as a “value-based blockchain operating system and search engine” with an objective of finding solutions to three key blockchain issues. These include measuring the value of blockchain applications, creating a prosperous and long-term ecosystem, and continuing the development of an existing blockchain.

It harnesses a measurement system titled the Nebulas Rank, developed to find real values using “liquidity, speed, width, and depth of capital”.

 

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China’s IT Ministry Focuses on Blockchain for Data Security

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has listed a blockchain research laboratory in its list of key labs for the year, published by the government department on Monday.

The MIIT is looking to accelerate blockchain adoption by building a strong ecosystem to support a variety of industry sectors and the expansion of the technology across these fields.

This particular lab has been titled the Key Laboratory of Blockchain Technology and Data Security Industry and Information Technology, listed as supervised by National Industrial Information Security Development Research Center.

Several proposals for accelerating blockchain adoption has come from the MIIT recently, as reported by local news outlets. Xinhuanet details that the MIIT’s interest is focused on the expansion of blockchain outside of the financial sector into the Internet of Things, intelligent manufacturing, and supply chain management to name a few.

The ministry plans to expand the reach of blockchain promotion in areas especially regarding strengthening computing power, storage capacity, building a good industrial ecology, and promoting the healthy development of the blockchain industry.

The article also acknowledges that the MIIT is aware of accompanying risks to the infant industry, including the possibility of technical loopholes.

July saw the MIIT’s deputy director call for the country to work collaboratively to foster blockchain’s growth on an industrial scale in a statement posted on the department’s website, where he also praised the technology’s security potential with regard to preventing “information tampering and forgery“.

The post added that it would be particularly beneficial to harness blockchain as a core technology while realizing it “from a strategic perspective”.

Despite China’s harsh stance on cryptocurrency, the country has been an international spearhead for blockchain development research. Even president Xi Jinping has been vocal on the positive potential of blockchain, saying he expects technological breakthroughs to be achieved with the country’s research.

 

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Bitmain Aiming for $18B IPO, Biggest Crypto-Related IPO in History

Bitmain, the largest manufacturer of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining rigs, is aiming for a USD 18 billion initial public offering (IPO) when it launches on the Hong Kong stock exchange in Q4 2018 or Q1 2019. This would be by far the largest cryptocurrency IPO in history.

In general, there aren’t many cryptocurrency or Bitcoin-related stocks and those that do exist have very small capitalization. Bitmain will be the first major Bitcoin- and cryptocurrency-related stock, with a projected opening market cap of USD 40-50 billion, which is actually nearly half of the total Bitcoin market cap at USD 108 billion as of this writing on 12 August 2018. This will be on a similar scale of the some of the biggest IPOs in history, such as Facebook which had a market cap near USD 90 billion during the launch of its stock.

Bitmain just successfully completed a USD 1 billion pre-IPO funding round in rapid fashion, pumping its valuation up to USD 15 billion. This is on the heels of its Series A and Series B funding rounds which pulled in USD 50 million and USD 400 million respectively. These rounds have seen Bitmain’s valuation progressively and rapidly grow in less than a year.

The reason Bitmain has such a high valuation is it is pulling in tremendous profits, after cornering the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining markets. Bitmain sells the most equipment for mining, the mining pools Bitmain operates control nearly half of Bitcoin’s total hash rate, and Bitmain has a tremendous stash of Bitcoin’s from its massive in-house mining operation. In total, since 2016 Bitmain has profited USD 2.3 billion, but it is expecting USD 2 billion in profit during 2018 alone.

Bitmain’s best chips released to the public so far are 16 nm, but it has an arsenal of 12 nm, 10 nm, and 7 nm chips for mining it is ready to release to the public. These more powerful chips will increase the efficiency and power of their cryptocurrency mining rigs, reinvigorating sales and dominance over the mining manufacturing market. It can plan this release to be in a slow succession, so it can keep its dominance and profits long term. Its 7 nm chips are approaching the quantum tunneling limit, and it will be difficult to make transistors smaller after that point due to the fundamental nature of physics, so 7 nm Bitmain miners could be the most powerful Bitcoin mining rigs possible.

Bitmain stock will provide a way for investors to invest in the infrastructure of cryptocurrency, an indirect way to invest in Bitcoin.

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Singapore VC Firm to Launch $10 Million Crypto Fund, Follows Blockchain Investment Trend

Singapore-based Venture Capital firm Golden Gate Ventures is to launch a $10 million fund targetting crypto and blockchain start-ups that use innovative DLT, in what appears to be a growing investment trend.

Golden Gate Ventures will call the fund LuneX Ventures and will be funded primarily by high net worth individuals. The main focus of LuneX investment will be aimed at early-stage companies such as cryptocurrency exchanges and cybersecurity providers

The LuneX fund becomes the first such fund, set up by a traditional markets company in the region. Head of Growth at Golden Gate, Kenrick Drijkoningen, who is heading the project sees the recent downturn in the cryptocurrency markets as no hurdle to success. He points out:

“Despite the fact that public markets are down, the amount of talent that’s moving into this space is exciting. There are young entrepreneurs who are passionate about this space and want to build an ecosystem.”

One of these is Tushar Aggarwal, host of the Decrypt Asia podcast, who is to collaborate on the new project. Drijkoningen himself points out that the project is planned for the long-term and that the invested capital would be spread through a range of areas including ICO’s and previously-existing cryptos, along with investments into other crypto and blockchain products. Currently, about half a dozen deals are reportedly in the pipeline

The talk of a blockchain revolution, a term cited frequently over the past months, would certainly include such projects as these involve crypto custody and banking. Such blockchain investment funds are growing in popularity as traditional investors seek to make inroads into blockchain and crypto by another route to get ahead of the rush if it happens.

The recent Chinese venture in Nanjing sparked the new term “blockchain revolution” as the country appears to have ramped up its support for blockchain technologies with a CNY 10 billion (USD 1.48 billion) investment fund, focusing primarily on the public blockchain projects. The new fund was announced and reported to be formed by the district government of Jiangbei — new area in Nanjing city and the Beijing-based Zhongguancun Blockchain Industry Alliance, a cooperative alliance between blockchain companies and government research institutes.

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tZero to Receive Largest Recorded Investment for Blockchain Startup

Chinese private equity firm GSR Capital has confirmed it signed a letter of intent to invest USD 270 million in blockchain startup up tZero, making it the largest recorded investment to such a company, according to Forbes.

Atypical investment structure

The USD 270 million investment came with an 18% stake in tZero, a platform for trading blockchain-issued securities, with GSR confirming it will spend another USD 104.55 million for approximately 10% of the platform’s parent company Overstock’s shares. Additionally, the private equity firm has pledged another USD 30 million in tZero’s initial coin offering (ICO).

This funding would bring the aggregate investment past USD 404 million, pushing tZero’s company valuation to USD 1.5 billion, surpassing its parent Overstock.com (USD 1.07 billion) despite the flagship product not even having been launched yet.

Independent letters of intent were configured and signed by all parties to secure the deal.

Sonny Wu, GSR Capital’s chairman and founder, told Forbes that his company has a long-term view on scaling the platform globally. This investment is GSR Capital’s first public blockchain venture, with its previous history focused on electric vehicles and clean energy.

tZero executive chairman and CEO of Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne, said that the money would be used to open more tokenized securities exchanges internationally for uses such as his SEC-licensed US platform. He envisions tZero’s token to be listed on each of these exchanges.

Byrne noted that raising capital from the businesses home in the US was proving challenging, hence they had to look further abroad. He told Forbes, “US capital is, to be honest, they’re gun shy on this whole blockchain issue… I’m sorry to say the US is not the leading country in the world.”

Hitting into US economics harder, Byrne said that he started the venture to undo what he called the ”original sin” of Wall Street – separating the trade of a stock and its settlement. tZero’s tokenized securities are designed to enable real-time, transparent lending of securities.

Such sentiments have led Byrne to be called the ”scourge of Wall Street” by those whose practices he criticizes, but this does not trouble him. Instead, he believes that the significant investments to tZero show that the tides are turning on traditional Wall Street practices.

 

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Chinese IT Ministry Seeks “Industrial” Scale Blockchain

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIT) is reportedly looking at ways it can push forward its plans for blockchain integration into the financial sector and other industries.

The MIT, established in March 2008, is the state agency responsible for regulation and development of the postal service, internet, wireless, broadcasting, communications, production of electronic and information goods, software industry and the promotion of the national knowledge economy, according to Wikipedia.

A local media report says the MIT wants to progress the use of the new technology forward as it sees it very much in its initial stage. This would involve expanding blockchain, which is principally being utilized in the financial sector, into areas such as supply chain management and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Being a local news report, the news is highly likely to represent more of a government statement than an objective view but it suggests that the government wants to accelerate blockchain in China. The reports says that MIT wants the country to “unite” to provide “a healthy and orderly development of the industry”, according to China Money Network.  It added this will need to be done on an “industrial” scale to integrate it into all areas of Chinese society.

It appears that infrastructures will need to be updated to provide this long-term plan, as the report suggests that MIT wants to involve local departments in boosting the capacity of computing power and storage.

The agency recently released a statement suggesting that the country had experienced “exponential” growth last year along with research by He Baohong of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), that only 8% of blockchain projects launched are still in operation; a fact that the Chinese government would be keen to change.

On 23 July, ConsenSys and the Xiong’an government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a “dream city” project, marking the first time that Xiong’an has publicly recruited a foreign development studio to aid in its blockchain efforts.

This is one of several technological fields that the government has listed as part of a cutting-edge plan to transform Xiong’an into a leading tech hub for the country.

 

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Australian Startup Designs Blockchain Multitask Chip to Track Animal Welfare

A former Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) scientist is heading up a new startup which has designed a blockchain backed multi-tasking microchip for tracking animal welfare.

The startup Ultimo Digital Technologies (UDT) is founded by John Baird, also the chairman of the cybersecurity advisory council advising the NSW government. With the help of students from Sydney’s University of Technology earning up to AUS 100 an hour, the company has designed the incorruptible chip.

The tamper-proof chip takes information directly from the goods via the internet to a secure location that can’t be corrupted and tracks change in temperature, location and radiation levels. Baird claims that the chip could change the future of IoT device communication channels and data storage worldwide. He explained:

Blockchain is completely flexible it can store any sort of IOT data… There’s a lot of people using blockchain for  cryptocurrency, but to actually use them for the storage of IoT data — so you can get that data and store it away securely — I don’t think anyone in the world has done that yet.”

One of its uses, he suggested, is the tracking of animal welfare. Today, a BBC Radio 4 news item suggested that farm animal welfare standards are falling behind in the UK, with concerns over techniques utilized in some farming procedures. These concerns are reflected in other countries too, including the shipment of livestock and their treatment once they arrive overseas.

UDT is currently planning on working within this sector with its first tracked system leaving Brisbane for China in late October. The company will eventually be able to track livestock from the farm itself.

“We can figure out what stress looks like for a cow, and at a later point in the journey, if we can start to see that behavior again we know that the cow is stressed at that point, and… something has got to be done about it,” Baird says.

Sydney Fish Markets are also keen to explore using blockchain for supply chain tracking. General manager Bryan Skepper suggested:

“We’ll be able to have a system where it’s photographed at the point where it’s caught that photo goes into a blockchain ledger, it can never be corrupted and then… the blockchain system will trace that journey.”

Currently, UDT is also trialling an e-nose, which a device which will verify the age, temperature and freshness of fish.

 

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