Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Nanjing City, the capital of China’s eastern Jiangsu province, has launched a 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) investment fund to fuel PRC blockchain development.

Positive crypto news from China has been in short supply since 2017, when Beijing, ever keen to maintain a tight grip on all things financial, clamped down on crypto trading and mining. The country’s government has, however, remained open and supportive of other innovative technologies and this very much includes blockchain.

In May, President Xi Jinping told the country’s leading scientists and engineers that blockchain was a breakthrough technology that can help “reshape the world.” And earlier this month China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology called for a more relaxed regulatory framework to help enable an “industrial scale” technological breakthrough.

The Nanjing fund is formed by the Beijing-based Zhongguancun Blockchain Industry Alliance – made up of a core group of Chinese blockchain companies and government research institutes – and was announced at the inaugural Industrial Public Chain Summit.

Unsurprisingly, the fund’s aims fit closely with those of China’s Made in China 2025 strategic plan. It hopes to enable blockchain research and development for cross-border trade platforms while also aiding projects in the healthcare, energy, intellectual property, and environmental protection sectors. Early beneficiaries of the fund reportedly include the “asset life-cycle management” focused Universal Decentralized Asset Platform Foundation. Nanjing, which will now aim to become a blockchain base, is already helping startups move to the city.

While China clearly wants to fast-track domestic blockchain development its disapproval of crypto-currency mining would appear to be growing stronger. In recent months, increasing numbers of Chinese crypto mining factories have moved to more welcoming markets – such as Canada and Norway – which offer more politically-supportive environments coupled with cheap power. Furthermore, a recent announcement, leaked from the Xinjiang provincial government, might indicate it is set to eliminate “illegal” Bitcoin mining operations. Xinjiang utility companies will, by the end of August, be obliged to start reporting and shutting down crypto mining operations in the far western province.

Meanwhile, faced with ever-more confused policy indicators, industry observers are left waiting for signs of a cohesive long-term Chinese blockchain strategy.

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