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The Future | Key Takeaways from Webinar ‘Blockchain, China’s Story’
COVID-19 and China
WIM Salon is a technology and innovation-focused event organized by EqualOcean.

On April 26, a few weeks after industry report ‘Blockchain, China’s Story’ was published, EqualOcean held a live webinar on the similar topic. We invited corporate strategy expert and, vice president at Huawei William Genovese, two executives from local blockchain startups – Fuzamei Technology vice president Cao Jing and Mark Xuan, a co-founder of Ziggurat IT – and well-known tech influencer Antonio Grasso, who is also the founder and CEO of Digital Business Innovation Srl. 

In this series of follow-up articles, we will walk through selected insights shared by our guest speakers. The topics include:

Blockchain as a concept

Blockchain adoption

State support in China and other countries

Blockchain and COVID-19

Blockchain in 2020

What will 2020 bring to the blockchain technology?

Antonio: In the near future, we will see the convergence of two or more emerging technologies and I think blockchain can be very helpful to orchestrate the transition emerging from digitalization. We know technological diffusion is a new way of doing business, but it is not only technology that can play along the road. The convergence of two or more technologies can create additional value that builds upon synergies. In this case, we need to foster the merging of different emerging technologies, and I think we are actually already on the way.

Cao: Although I am optimistic regarding the future of blockchain, I am also kind of concerned about its current situation, especially in China.

After the October announcement made by the central government, the business inquiries that Fuzamei received have largely shifted from public blockchain to permission blockchain. We have to admit that a considerable part of the demand is fake demand.

Indeed, the big push from the government side did indeed help people to get to know about blockchain; however, this also spawned some demand that was only motivated by the fact that the central government is emphasizing the technology.

Meanwhile, I think we also have to hold a premise that we should not sacrifice the attempts in public blockchain applications. The current situation is that the Chinese market did not provide these public blockchain players with enough room to survive in 2019, as there was very little demand in the market. After all, as an early-stage technology, it is actually kind of abnormal to have a large demand, however, we more or less see this phenomenon in permission blockchains in the Chinese market.

All in all, there are pros and cons in this current situation. And I expect 2020 will be an unexciting year for the blockchain industry in China.

William: I am very encouraged by what I have seen in China, as the country is setting a very good example with the digital currency in the use of blockchain to bridge the world and the infrastructure underneath industry models – like e-commerce in the financial services industry – but more importantly, at a higher level, bridging the real economy, i.e., what all the participants are doing in living and working, with the institutions like the banks.

This needs to be done all over the world; however, right now we are seeing, from the crises all over the world, that they are still separated. For example, this is certainly seen in my country where the Fed is trying to print more and more money – but that’s not fast enough for people losing their jobs, and China suffers from it too.

So it is a really good idea to use blockchain as a bridge, and I am seeing this coming out in 2020, starting in China with the digital fiat currency and the blockchain service network, to start using the digital currency on the BSN to connect all the parties to partake in a trust fabric.

To conclude, most importantly the objective is going to be an improvement of connecting the real economy with the backbone companies, i.e., the banks. This has been a problem throughout the world’s history, so I am hopeful to see more and more of that being focused on in China and in other countries with central banks moving in the direction of digital currencies and using blockchain.

Xuan: The development of blockchain technology will definitely be driven by the real economy. As the infrastructure of the data and digital assets, blockchain is expected to have a good performance in 2020. After the COVID-19 outbreak, the conflict between the big economies is expected to be sharpened, and in the next stage, we are going to face battles regarding the ownership of data, currencies and digital assets. No matter it is for which of the three, blockchain is always one of the most important infrastructures in these procedures. To conclude, the year 2020 will bring blockchain technology a larger market, more participants and more opportunities.

Editor: Luke Sheehan
ANALYST
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