JD.com to open blockchain research lab

Chinese e-retailer JD.com will be setting up a blockchain research lab in cooperation with the Ying Wu College of Computing at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and the Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS).

In a press release, the NJIT said the laboratory “will focus on solving efficiency and stability challenges that are the most significant bottlenecks restricting the wider application of blockchain, and explore new applications of the technology.”

Leading the joint effort will be Jian Pei, president of JD Big Data and Smart Supply Chain, Qiang Tang, assistant professor of Ying Wu College of Computing, and Zhenfeng Zhang, ISCAS vice-chief engineer.

Pei said, “With more than 300 million customers, JD.com recognizes the pivotal role being played by blockchain in improving transparency in the supply chain and delivering greater peace of mind to Chinese consumers about product quality and safety.”

NJIT President Joel Bloom said, “NJIT is delighted to partner with one the leading ecommerce companies in the world and one of China’s premier research labs to work on cutting edge-blockchain and cybersecurity technologies.”

ISCAS Deputy Director Zhong Hua said, “Through this partnership we will bring about blockchain innovation and promote industrial applications of blockchain technology.”

JD.com began using blockchain in its operations, in a partnership with global meat merchant Interagri, to better track its meat supply. The problem of counterfeit and unsafe meat has been an issue particularly in China. As part of its advocacy for safe food purchases, the ecommerce giant has collaborated with Walmart, IBM, and Tsinghua University in launching the Blockchain Food Security Alliance.

It has also joined forces with Xingye Bank and Huatai Securities, in launching its asset-backed securities powered by blockchain, and has partnered with IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle, among other firms, in launching a Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) platform.

Since August, JD.com customers have been able to build, host, and use their blockchain apps on the JD Blockchain Open Platform.

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