TL;DR: China state-run media, Xinhua News Agency, released a carefully crafted statement, characterizing President Xi Jinping as pushing for a greater national interest in blockchain “as an important breakthrough.” Xi reportedly also urged the country to “increase investment,” and “accelerate the development of blockchain technology.” Needless to write, the blockchain-not-bitcoin crowd is no doubt firing up venture capital funding proposals with ample quoting from Xi’s latest words.
President Xi Praises Blockchain as “Important Breakthrough”
When the political leader of 1.4 billion people says just about anything, the world takes notice. And when that leader, as of Spring 2018, will effectively serve without term limits for the rest of his life, those words carry even more weight. China’s President Xi Jinping is that man. Xi gave his thoughts at the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on 24 October 2019.
It’s an essential executive board of a kind, made up more than two dozen heavies, selected internally, who run the Communist Party. Considering their relative minuscule number compared to the power they wield, it could be argued the CPC is the most important deliberative cabinet on the globe. This particular iteration is its 19th and will likely last until 2022.
“We must take the blockchain as an important breakthrough for independent innovation of core technologies, clarify the main direction, increase investment, focus on a number of key core technologies, and accelerate the development of blockchain technology and industrial innovation,” the state-run media agency lauded. “Chen Chun, a professor at Zhejiang University and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, explained the issue and discussed opinions and suggestions,” it noted.
Blockchain as Cure-All
The report turns surreal, as Xi allegedly employed phrasing such as “the application of blockchain technology has extended to digital finance, Internet of Things, intelligent manufacturing, supply chain management, digital asset trading and other fields,” and compared China’s progress to that of other “major countries in the world” who “are accelerating the development of blockchain technology.” He then called “to accelerate the development of blockchain technology and industrial innovation, and actively promote the development of blockchain and economic and social integration.”
Lest Xinhua News Agency readers are to come away with Xi perhaps giving mere lip service to a buzzword, the President and CPC General Secretary seemingly suggested blockchain to be a cure-all. A rough Google translation had him insisting, “It is necessary to strengthen the research on blockchain standardization and enhance the right to speak and rule in the world,” which is probably an allusion to market dominance. The agency published no numbers in terms of funding and resources that might be directed toward blockchain.
Xi wishes to use blockchain to help with “industry ecology,” from AI to “big data,” stream-lining businesses, reducing waste, mitigating against banking problems, and even to “actively promote the application of blockchain technology in the fields of education, employment, pension, precision poverty alleviation, medical health, commodity anti-counterfeiting, food safety, public welfare, social assistance, etc.,” according to state-run media. The timing of such rhetoric is interesting, especially after the grilling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took from US lawmakers on the same day as he seemed to plead with them countries like China were much more forward-thinking in the blockchain, digital space.
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