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The backstory: China’s tech interests range, but the government definitely has eyes on the Web 3.0 industry to build up its digital economy. Web 3.0, or Web 3, is basically the next version of the internet, where users are connected through a decentralized network and with tech like blockchain and digital assets like cryptocurrency.
While cryptocurrency trading is banned in mainland China, the government is still interested in using blockchain tech in the mainland. And Hong Kong recently made moves to become a Web 3 hub by creating the Institute of Web 3.0 Hong Kong, which will open investments and development into Web 3 and related technologies, including crypto and digital assets, in the city.
More recently: The Beijing Academy of Blockchain and Edge Computing (BAEC), a research institute backed by the government, has already created China’s first open-source blockchain platform. It’s called ChainMaker, aka the Chang’An Chain. This past January, the government started loading up this platform with info from over 80 government departments to “effectively improve the security and order of government affairs and social data.”
At the moment, blockchains in China are isolated from each other, which is a drag on the digital economy. But, the government is hoping to create a national blockchain network to connect them all. The idea here is to develop a blockchain for industrial use instead of just digital assets like it’s usually used.
The development: Last Wednesday, China launched a blockchain research center led by BAEC – the National Blockchain Technology Innovation Center. It wants to train 500,000 specialists to really amp up development in this digital sector. The project is also backed by the Ministry of Science and Technology, and it will work with universities, research institutes and companies to train workers and support China’s digital economy, according to a report from state media agency Xinhua.
China hopes to use this research center to start integrating the blockchain more into the operations of everyday life and create that national blockchain network. Eventually, the goal is to make blockchain a part of China's digital infrastructure.
“Connecting blockchain application platforms and aggregating blockchain application ecology will significantly enhance blockchain innovation capabilities and core competitiveness,“ said Zheng Zhiming, a professor at the School of Mathematics and Systems Science at Beihang University.
“I suggest people not to read much into the Hong Kong policy as it relates to the mainland,” said Zhou Chenggang, CEO and founder of CPIC Investment Management Hong Kong, a subsidiary of the government-backed mainland property insurer China Pacific Insurance (CPI). “So far, the policies remain separate, and there have been no signals of that changing.”