The China Banking Association says the platform has been designed to standardize and digitize interbank transaction information for trade and financial products. Photo: iStock
On September 4, 2017, the People’s Bank of China shut down local crypto exchanges over escalating concerns that unregulated assets, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, allowed PRC residents to bypass the country's strict capital controls. Photo: iStock

If any more proof was needed that anti-cryptocurrency measures were not having a negative effect on the country’s blockchain scene, Alibaba provided it by coming in top of global entities filing blockchain-related patents. Alibaba came in number one with 90 patents, narrowly beating IBM with 89, and MasterCard with 80, as reported by iPR Daily, a media organization that specializes in intellectual property.

According to a Reuters report earlier this year, the number of new blockchain patents filed reached a record high of 406 in 2017, up from 134 in 2016, and 56% of these patents in 2017 came from China.

The developments have arisen despite Chinese tech giant Baidu joining Tencent and Alibaba to impose new anti-cryptocurrency measures, in line with Beijing’s hard line on digital currencies. WeChat Pay and Ant Financial’s Alipay have been monitoring platforms for cryptocurrency transactions.

Yet with Beijing seeking to further develop the country’s tech space, blockchain is seen as an absolute essential. This is particularly true in the south, where it seeks to develop a so-called Greater Bay Area connecting Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and other Pearl River Delta cities into a powerhouse to rival Silicon Valley.

Asia Times reported last week that the Shenzhen Central sub-branch of the People’s Bank of China, the central bank of the PRC, has officially launched the testing phase of the Bay Area Trade Finance Blockchain Platform Project.

The system will conduct trade and financing activities, including accounts receivable and trade financing, while providing a regulatory system to enable real-time monitoring of various financial activities.

Aside from financial applications, media reports indicate blockchain can now be used to authenticate evidence in legal matters, according to guidelines issued by the country’s Supreme People’s Court.

“Internet courts shall recognize digital data that are submitted as evidence if relevant parties collected and stored these data via blockchain with digital signatures, reliable timestamps and hash value verification or via a digital deposition platform, and can prove the authenticity of such technology used,” the Supreme Court said in an announcement translated by CoinDesk.