Nearly half of the 26 publicly listed banks in China say they deployed blockchain applications in 2017, according to a report.
Chinese banking industry news source CEBNet said Friday that, among the 26 Chinese banks, 12 of them disclosed in their annual filings that blockchain applications were adopted for various use cases over the last year.
The 12 institutions include major state-owned commercial banks such as the Bank of China, China Construction Bank and the Agriculture Bank of China, as well as other privately held ones, including China Merchants Bank and other city-level entities.
The applications that have been adopted range from using blockchain technology to issue invoices and cross-border loans to ID authentication processes.
For example, according to the annual filing from the Agriculture Bank of China, the state-owned entity has developed a decentralized network to offer unsecured loans for agricultural e-commerce merchants that it said offers an automatic loan issuance process.
Similarly, China Construction Bank also disclosed in its financial statement that it has launched a blockchain-based platform that provides cross-bank and cross-border loan issuance for small businesses. The bank further boasts that the platform has so far processed transactions that worth a total of 1.6 billion yuan, or $251 million.
Taking another approach, Bank of China said that it has completed testing for a distributed IT infrastructure to be deployed across its branches for further development of a blockchain-based digital wallet.
The banks' en masse move to adopt blockchain comes at a time when the country's banking regulator has also praised the benefit of applying the technology in the financial sector – especially when it comes to improving the efficiency of loan issuance.
Recent patent applications, as reported by CoinDesk, also indicated that China's state-owned banks have been exploring ways to use blockchain technology to solve data storage issues and to streamline certificate authentication processes.
China Construction Bank image via Shutterstock