Adoption | 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

Where to agree on adopting blockchains into real world business scenarios

William: At Huawei, we follow five principles to adopt blockchain into enterprises. First, blockchain has to be secured, otherwise, the big players – for example, the incumbent banks and large companies – will not use blockchain in doing trade finance and supply chain finance – the two scenarios that account 51% of all the real-world applications of blockchain in China for now. Second, blockchain needs scalability. Third, blockchain has to protect the identity of individuals and it has to be private from the endpoint, through the network, and into the cloud. Fourth, cross-chain capabilities. A blockchain architecture needs to interoperate – or it needs to be programmed – across different protocols, to be taken on by enterprises.

And lastly, we should clarify the use cases, the business problems that are positioned to be solved with blockchain. For example, we at Huawei are focusing on supply chain finance, trade finance, and payments. While also, in the past few years, there are also lots of hype in the blockchain industry in China – and actually, also in many other countries – in adopting the technology. However, we also saw that, last year, President Xi Jinping came out to make the announcement to endorse blockchain. He stated that the field was not an open door to fake solutions, but it should be the underpinning infrastructure for the economy in the country.

Permission blockchains vs. public blockchains: convergent or divergent?

Antonio: Public deployment is the only way for blockchains to preserve integrity, security, and immutability. And meanwhile, neither permission blockchains nor public blockchains can achieve all the characteristics at once that blockchain has inherited – but rather, they are customized for the requirements of specific projects.

Cao: Permission blockchain is a replacement of public blockchain in a transition stage. Indeed, today's permission blockchain is doing better, but as the core of blockchain is decentralization – from my perspective – public blockchain will be the final destination of blockchain technology.

Xuan: Public blockchain used to be very popular in 2017 and 2018 in China and also in the rest of the world. During this time it created a window for the majority to get to know about blockchain technology and the benefits it can bring – but we also saw a lot of fraud and cheating at the same time. The Chinese government still holds a negative attitude towards public blockchain, even up to now.

On the other hand, the system of permission blockchain is considered as more regulated and healthier. Here a larger part of users are enterprises and government workers. They employ blockchain to lower costs and increase efficiency, as well as to secure their data and protect their privacy. In this case, I believe the major use cases for permission blockchains shall lie in the field of the industrial Internet, where blockchain should converge with other emerging technologies like loT, big data and AI to create synergies.

Editor: Luke Sheehan
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