China: No to ICOs, Yes to Blockchain

Technology > IT

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China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has opened a new research facility to support the development of the country’s technological operations called the Trusted Blockchain Open Lab, according to Caixin Media Company Ltd, a Beijing-based media group providing financial and business news and information through periodicals, online content, mobile apps, conferences, books and TV/video programs.  This in the wake of China’s recent tightening grip on bitcoin exchanges and ICOs (initial coin offerings). What this means is China is still interested in exploring other blockchain possibilities.

The new facility that will be conducting blockchain research and creating a platform where experts can share their knowledge on technology is to be run by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).

The opening of the facility comes in the middle of an ongoing debate on blockchains and what to do about them.  Vice Director of the Digital Currency Research Institute within the People's Bank of China, Di Gang, warned at an event yesterday that technical blockchain specialists are lacking in comparison to those using the technology for economic reasons, according to the China Economic Review a research journal devoted to China’s economy and its place in the world economy.  Di said, "There have been many blockchain conferences where the number of business personnel exceeds technical personnel."  

Sun Guofeng, director general of the Digital Currency Research Institute said the ban on ICOs and the subsequent closure of cryptocurrency exchanges on September 4 was "necessary and timely," according to Reuters.  It was needed to put a stop to criminal activity going on in the sector.  Although, Sun said of the blockchain in general that it’s a "good technology, “ stating "an ICO is not the only way through which one can carry out research into it."

Sun maintains that this ban will not negatively affect the broader blockchain industry.  

3 major tech companies in China -- Midea Group, Tencent, and China UnionPay -- have made plans and official filings to research and develop bitcoin mining and blockchain technologies.