In a world first, the Chinese City of Xiong’an will be home to a blockchain deployment program, transforming the newly-established ‘number-one urban project‘ into a “dream city”, backed by President Xi Jinping.
Over the past three decades, urban development in China has been exploding; major cities have been receiving record levels of funding, and areas such as Shenzhen and Shanghai’s Pudong have been placed on a special list for development throughout the past 40 years.
Xiong’an is one of the most recent additions to the list of “mega-cities” and has been a largely underdeveloped area. In April, plans for the Xiong’an New Area were revealed as well as documents guiding the cities development through to 2035.
Bolstered by blockchain
These ambitious developments have received a rocket-fueled boost as a significant partnership between Xiong’an and blockchain development company ConsenSys.
On 23 July, ConsenSys and the Xiong’an government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the “dream city” project, marking the first time that Xiong’an has publicly recruited a foreign development studio to aid in its blockchain efforts.
Blockchain is high up on the city’s technological agenda, it is one of several technological fields that the government has listed as part of cutting-edge and can transform Xiongan into a leading tech hub for the country.
Joseph Lubin, Ethereum co-founder and ConsenSys founder said in a statement, “As one of our first major projects in the People’s Republic of China, we are excited to help define the many “use cases” that could benefit from the trust infrastructure enabled by Ethereum technology.”
According to the South China Morning Post, the full MoU has not been published, though in a statement ConsenSys wrote, it would “… follow with agreements addressing different aspects of this innovative multi-faceted initiative, and establish Xiongan as a next-generation smart city and a leading blockchain innovation hub”.
ConsenSys has several global partnerships on the go; Ireland is in partnership with the studio to develop and deploy Ethereum-based blockchain platforms and products, and the Philippines, for example, are working with the studio to bridge gaps between the unbanked and traditional financial services.
Billions upon billions
China is pumping extraordinary amounts of money into domestic blockchain developments. In April, one of the specially designated mega-cities Shenzhen was reported to be investing CNY 500 million (USD 80 million) into blockchain startups in the city in a public-private partnership.
Before that, the city of Hangzhou received USD 1.6 billion to invest in blockchain effort. The funding project has already opened a Blockchain Industrial Park with ten blockchain projects from around the world being “successfully contracted” into it.
Most recently, Nanjing City is set to receive CNY 10 billion (USD 1.48 billion) worth of investment to support public blockchain projects in another public-private fund that will support academic innovations, blockchain startups as well as established companies seeking to adopt blockchain technology.
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