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As China Looks to Become World’s Leader in Blockchain, What’s Next for 2020?

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by Tolu Ajiboye · 3 min read
As China Looks to Become World’s Leader in Blockchain, What’s Next for 2020?
Beijing, China. Photo: Unsplash

Since President Xi Jinping’s endorsement of blockchain technology, there have been several new related developments in China.

Blockchain technology by most standards is still quite nascent. Regardless, there are already quite a few impressive applications of the technology, with constant efforts at development. The first and probably the most popular use of blockchain is the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, which went live over a decade ago. However, since then, applications have been seen in several different sectors including finance and healthcare. Because it is still somewhat new, there is still a lot of room for improvement and expansion, and China has decided that it will take the lead.

Back in October, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced to the country that all sectors should look forward to taking advantage of blockchain technology. That speech seemed to fire up the blockchain atmosphere in the country so much that since then, the Cyber Administration of China has registered more than 500 blockchain projects including some from tech giants Huawei and Tencent. As more projects are being developed and registered in China, it’s becoming easier to see that the same energy is not present in other countries.

While it is true that there are a lot of blockchain projects in other parts of the world, the kind of support China has started giving blockchain projects is largely lacking. In the U.S. for example, there are several individual blockchain projects, most notably Facebook’s Libra which is still facing serious backlash. But the government is yet to show serious support for blockchain technology which worries U.S. developers and indirectly allows China to easily take the lead position.

Another thing to consider is that China will likely be the first country to laun People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has already said central bank digital currency (CBDC) is ready and will soon begin testing with a few banks and telecoms giants. Evidently, China is not slowing down.

The good news is that there’s a chance that China’s doggedness with blockchain will cause other countries to wake up, from 2020. Crypto exchange and trading platform head of research Garrick Hileman thinks that these other countries wich its own digital currency. Thell step up soon. Speaking to CNBC, Hileman said:

“I expect Xi’s speech to trigger a domino effect, where over time, we see similar announcements from other governments and leaders around the world.”

If other countries, however, do not step up from next year, China’s dominance might blow bigger than expected. According to Blockchain Valley Ventures partner Sebastian Markowsky, this dominance could be dangerous in the long run because if China takes the lead, the authorities could develop blockchain technology in a way that it benefits them alone, to the detriment of others. At that point, it might be too late for other countries to do anything about it. 

“If this country is big enough and sets the norm, we in the Western world may miss the chance to make sure the system is immutable and fair for all,” said Markowsky, describing it as an “emergency call”.

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Tolu Ajiboye
Author Tolu Ajiboye

Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge. When he's not neck-deep in crypto stories, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie lover.

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