China's IT Ministry: 2017 Saw 'Exponential' Blockchain Growth

Forty percent of all Chinese blockchain startups emerged in 2017 alone, according to a new report published by China's IT Ministry

May 21, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:58 a.m. UTC

Nearly 40 percent of all Chinese blockchain startups emerged in 2017 alone, according to a new white paper published by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

by the ministry's Information Center on Monday, the blockchain industry paper indicates that currently China has 456 startups that focus on blockchain technology development and applications as part of their core business. While the number of new blockchain firms in 2016 had tripled compared to that in 2015, 2017 saw "exponential" growth, it says, with a total of 178 newcomers to the space.

Meanwhile, corresponding to that trend, similar momentum was also seen in equity financing for blockchain startups. According to the government data, currently there are 249 equity financing initiatives that directly relate to blockchain startups, and nearly 100 of them got started in 2017.

That number marks more than the total recorded from 2014 to 2016, the paper says, and also notably, the industry has already seen 68 equity financing initiatives for blockchain startups in the first quarter of 2018.

Published as a comprehensive summary of the blockchain outlook in China, the 157-page white paper marks the latest effort by the Chinese government to bring knowledge of the nascent technology to the public, and shed light on future development – especially regarding regulatory frameworks.

While reiterating the importance of maintaining the ban on initial coin offerings, the ministry also argues in the paper that China's current patent law – completed a decade ago – may already be outdated when it comes to protecting intellectual properties for blockchain technologies.

For example, as explained in the paper, the patent law in China now only seeks to protect those technology use cases that can be specifically outlined by patent applicants.

"But blockchain is an underlying technology that has a wide range of application scenarios. It is both difficult and expensive to require patent applicants to list all potential and specific use cases in order to gain intellectual property protections," the paper wrote, adding:

"If we want to protect blockchain technology IPs, then we have to to make certain adjustments to how the patent law is being practiced."

Read the full white paper below:

China flag image via Shutterstock

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