German engineering giant Siemens plans to invest in blockchain startups and projects through a newly created business unit backed by $1.1bn in capital.

The company announced today that it would spend the money over a five-year period, focus on areas related to artificial intelligence and next-generation propulsion systems for smaller aircraft, as well as “decentralized electronification”.

Siemens said in a statement:

“The new unit will also concern itself with so-called blockchain applications that are designed to make data transfer in industry and in energy trading, for example, simpler and more secure.”

The new unit, dubbed “next47”, will open offices dedicated to the effort in China, Germany and the US.

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