China’s largest bank releases blockchain whitepaper

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has released a whitepaper that delves into the use of blockchain technology in finance. The bank, considered to be the largest in the world by assets, looked at the progress China is making in blockchain, the challenges that lie ahead and how it can integrate blockchain with emerging technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).

The bank partnered on the whitepaper with the Trusted Blockchain Promotion Program. This is a subsidiary of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a state research unit that promotes technological advancements.

Titled “The Whitepaper on the Development of Blockchain Financial Applications,” it focused on the use of blockchain in banking and other financial services. This has been blockchain’s biggest application, it points out. The bank also acknowledged the challenges and pain points that have hindered the widespread adoption of the technology in finance and went on to propose solutions.

The whitepaper also revealed that currently, China has 420 registered blockchain service providers. Of these, 72 offer blockchain-based financial services, with 120 types of services currently on offer.

According to a report by Sina Finance, ICBC has been conducting blockchain research and development since 2016. The bank has already developed its own blockchain network for enterprises. It has also deployed blockchain solutions to track transactions during the coronavirus pandemic, the report says. These solutions have been integrated into the Red Cross Society of China’s operations in Guangxi and by the Zhuhai Charity Federation. ICBC is working with other charities as they seek to integrate the solutions as well.

The bank has also been working on marrying blockchain with other emerging technologies. These include AI, big data, 5G technology and IoT. It then conducts research on how such hybrid systems can transform supply chain management, trade finance, payment systems and more.

The whitepaper comes just days after the People’s Bank of China revealed that the country’s digital yuan will be in use by the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The distribution of the CBDC has been relegated to four banks, with the ICBC being one of them. The distribution will start with four cities before the eventual national rollout.

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