Tech

Steve Kaaru

This week in tech: Blockchain regulation takes center stage in China, Korea, India and more

Blockchain technology is going to power the future—that much is clear. But in order to do so, there must be enabling regulations and policies that can foster its growth. More countries are recognizing this, and this week saw quite some effort towards embracing the technology from a number of global powerhouses. China continued in its march towards becoming the global crypto and blockchain hub, with India, Korea and even Australia also taking varying steps. The week also saw a number of blockchain startups raise funding, including one which Twitter founder invested in.

In India, one of the country’s largest states is working on blockchain regulation. Tamil Nadu, which is the tenth-largest state in India and home to over 65 million people, is expected to release the guidelines in 10 days. The state joins a few others in the country that have sought to develop their own guidelines in a bid to foster the growth of blockchain.

South Korea could also be on its way to assigning a legal status to cryptos. A presidential committee proposed that country should formally recognize blockchain and cryptos that would allow the country to fully enjoy the benefits that accrue from the emerging technology. On a separate note, the Korea Internet Security Agency revealed that it would provide $9 million to back blockchain startups in 2020.

In Australia, the regulators face an interesting dilemma: does the use of blockchain give some companies unfair advantage over their rivals? The Australian division of Chi-X stock exchange asked the regulators this week to look into the blockchain system implemented by its biggest competitor, the Australian Stock Exchange. According to Chi-X, the ASX could gain an unfair edge over its rivals once it fully migrates to a blockchain system.

China’s march towards blockchain adoption doesn’t appear to be stopping any time soon. If anything, it could be accelerating, with a veteran regulator urging the province of Sichuan to tap hydroelectric power to attract crypto businesses. In Guangzhou, the local government has announced a $140 million subsidy for blockchain startups, although Guangzhou insisted that it’s interested in ‘no-coin’ projects.

The week also saw some top blockchain companies further their involvement in blockchain, led by Chinese tech behemoth Tencent. The company is now leading an international initiative to develop standards for blockchain invoicing, backed by countries such as the U.K. and Switzerland. America’s largest retail food group purchasing organization (GPO) Topco is also getting into blockchain. The Illinois-based company announced that it will begin to use Wholechain, a blockchain network developed by Mastercard that enables tracability throughout the supply chain.

In more adoption news, the week saw the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) announce a pilot blockchain project that targets land registry. The bank, which is the largest source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean, is collaborating with a blockchain startup for the two-year pilot in Paraguay, Peru and Bolivia.

Blockchain startups are back to raising funding, led by CoinList, a platform that allows blockchain companies to raise money via token sales and airdrops. The company, which has received investment from Polychain and the Digital Currency Group in previous rounds, is set to open a crypto exchange with its latest funding. The most notable investor in the latest round is Jack Dorsey, the beloved Twitter and Square CEO. Huobi Japan also issued new shares to a Japanese financial group which raised the exchange $4.6 million.

It was also an eventful week for the crypto mining sector, with two of the largest companies in the space filing for U.S. IPOs. Canaan Creative was first, after months of speculation, filing to list on NASDAQ. For Bitmain, it was a dramatic week in which Jihan Wu, one of the founders, forced out his fellow co-founder Micree Zhan. Just days later, it emerged that Bitmain had also quietly filed for an IPO in the U.S.

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