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Chinese President Says the Blockchain Technology Will Accelerate the Advance of the Life Sciences

During the 19th Academician Meeting of the Chinese Academy of Sciences alongside the 14th Academician Meeting of the Chinese Academy of Engineering held on May 28th, 2018, the President of China, Xi Jinping, addressed the participants by expressing his optimism regarding the blockchain technology. The Chinese president said this emerging technology was part of a technological revolution that would accelerate the advance of the life sciences.

During his speech, Xi Jinping, was talking about the blockchain technology and other new technologies currently being developed around the world. The President of China said these technologies represented a new and important advance of science. He said: “Since entering the 21st century, global science and technological innovation has entered into an unprecedented period of intensive activity. A new round of scientific and industrial revolution is reconstructing the global innovation map and reshaping the global economic structure. The new generation of information technology represented by artificial intelligence, quantum information, mobile communication, internet of things, and blockchain accelerate the breakthrough in application and have bred new life science fields represented by synthetic biology, gene editing, brain science, and regenerative medicine.”

Even though Jinping mentioned the blockchain technology only once during his speech, it is an important thing since this was the first time the Chinese president talked in public in favor of this emerging technology.

The President of China assured that in order to maintain its competitive position of China when it comes to the development of the blockchain technology, his country would launch national laboratories for investigation and technological development, with the goal of fomenting the creation of infrastructure in the future. However, Xi Jinping did not provide any further details regarding this topic. He added: “If China is to flourish and rejuvenate, it must vigorously develop science and technology and strive to become the world’s major scientific center and innovative highland. We are closer to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation than at any time in history. We need to build a powerful world of science and technology more than any other time in history.”

The comments regarding the blockchain technology made by the Chinese president seem to be in line with the statements given previously by other representatives of China. In these statements, the Chinese authorities accept the advantages of the blockchain technology and encourage its development. At the same time, the Chinese authorities deny the relationship between this emerging technology and the cryptocurrencies whose use is penalized in the country.

On a similar note, a Chinese blockchain research institute known as the Banknote Blockchain Technology Research launched a blockchain-as-a-service platform named the Blockchain Registry Open Platform. The platform whose goal is to facilitate the supply chain tracking and identity management was launched on May 28th as well, on the same day the president Xi Jinping gave his speech during the aforementioned meeting.

A few weeks ago, the Chinese government initiated the definition of standards for the blockchain technology through the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). Likewise, the authorities announces the aforementioned ministry would work together with a group of experts to create an evaluation index for public blockchain networks.

During last month, the creation of investment funds backed up by the Chinese government to develop projects related to the blockchain technology in the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Hangzhou was announced. The goal of these governmental investment funds is to provide support to the aforementioned projects and build a strong community around the blockchain technology.

Despite the positive attitude towards the blockchain technology and the constant support for the development of this technology expressed by the Chinese authorities, the situation is completely different when it comes to the cryptocurrencies.

The regulations for the cryptocurrencies in China are extremely inflexible. In September last year the Chinese authorities banned the initial coin offerings (ICOs) on its territory. Afterwards, in February this year the regulatory authorities decided to ban the operation of the cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. We can conclude the Chinese government is in favor of the blockchain technology and against the cryptocurrencies.

Albert Xuan, the project manager at Liaoyuan, a consulting firm and incubator for startups, said: “In China, blockchain’s still developing, really great.” Xuan added that approximately 100 to 200 people traveled from China to New York in May this year to attend the Blockchain without borders conference that gathered around 650 people.

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