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:
State support in China and other countries
How can President Xi Jinping’s remarks in October 2019, encouraging the economy to opt for blockchain as a national focus of innovation, influence the industry status quo?
Xuan: As I mentioned in answering the last question regarding the current status of the public blockchain and permission blockchain in China, the government, up to now, has advocated the latter more than the former. And the remark made by President Xi in October 2019 was a very significant push in the field, providing Chinese blockchain companies with more opportunities.
Looking back to twenty or thirty years ago, people thought that we should put our data in a centralized database to manage it and to increase efficiency. Ten years ago people said that we want all of our data to go to the cloud as it can save the costs, while in recent years, people started to realize that we need to put our data on to blockchain to keep them safe.
Meanwhile, blockchain has become a part of the ‘New Infrastructure’ projects in China, together with cloud services and AI. Therefore, we see the Chinese government now gives abundant support towards the blockchain industry – for example, it provides various application scenarios on its side for blockchain to come into use, like smart cities, and besides, it helps in the construction of infrastructure like the industrial Internet, where blockchain is adopted to build up the fundamental infrastructure for data.
Government support is crucial for the blockchain industry, as the business of blockchain is to build up infrastructure, and most of the players – up to now – have been unable to make profits.
As for Ziggurat, after the remark made by the central government, we got more businesses from the government side, for example, we participated in some smart city projects, in which blockchain is used to secure the data. Meanwhile, we also provided more consulting services to enterprises, like incorporating blockchain into traceability and supply chain finance projects.
William: In China, from a country technology strategy perspective, the announcement of President Xi Jinping on the blockchain service network is almost the next generation of the Internet coming out of China. In this case, for its success to go outside of China as something new for the whole world to use, we need to build bridges between the old and the new. We cannot make the assumption that everything that has been put in place to date will simply disappear and new stuff will replace it. I think this is a fallacy; rather, we need to evolve this new blockchain services network into open standards that are secure, that the whole world can use in terms of the next generation of the Internet.
Is the blockchain industry supported by governments in other countries? How exactly do they help?
Antonio: In Italy – and also in Europe – we do not have the kind of endorsement regarding the blockchain industry like what the Chinese government provides; rather, we are watching blockchain technologies, and talking about how the government can deal with the emerging blockchain technology.
As with cryptocurrency, this involves many aspects that are apart from the technology itself. For example, one of the associated obstacles may be the money laundering-related issues. So we are watching Europe in a situation whereby policymakers are trying to understand what kind of regulations need to be put into action, while they also don’t want to stop the developmental progress of the blockchain technology.
In this case, the European Commission has created a team of experts and professors to try to understand how to manage these issues related to cryptocurrencies which adopt blockchains as authenticators, database, and storage.
I think many economic incentives and benefits can be brought to startups in the blockchain industry that are capable of creating innovations.