China's IT Ministry Backs New Blockchain Research Lab

A Chinese government-backed IT research body has launched a new research lab in order to support the development of blockchain technology in China.

AccessTimeIconSep 20, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 6:57 a.m. UTC

Regardless of its recent crackdown on bitcoin exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs), China's government still appears committed to the potential of blockchain in other areas.

According to a report by Caixin, the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) – a research institution under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology – has launched a research facility called the Trusted Blockchain Open Lab in order to support the ongoing development of the technology in China. 

The new lab will conduct research in the area of blockchain, as well as creating a platform for specialists to share their knowledge around the technology.

The news comes amid an evolving conversation about blockchain domestically.

As reported by the China Economic Review, Di Gang, vice director of the Digital Currency Research Institute within the People's Bank of China, warned at an event yesterday that technical blockchain specialists were lacking in comparison to those using the technology for economic reasons.

"There have been many blockchain conferences where the number of business personnel exceeds technical personnel," the official said.

Following China's September 4 ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and later closure of several cryptocurrency exchanges, Reuters reports that Sun Guofeng, director general of the Digital Currency Research Institute, said that the ruling was "necessary and timely" to halt criminal activity in the sector.

However, he stated blockchain itself is a "good technology," adding that "an ICO is not the only way through which one can carry out research into it."

He continued by promising the ban would not have a negative impact on the broader blockchain industry.

Various tech giants in China are also currently working with the technology, including Tencent, who announced a blockchain research partnership with multinational tech corporation Intel at a conference earlier this month. Additionally, payment giant China UnionPay recently filed a patent for blockchain based ATM network, while the Midea Group, an electrical appliances manufacturer, is seeking to patent a method for mining bitcoin with household items.

China yuan image via Shutterstock

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