Last month, Chinese leader Xi Jinping gave a speech on the value of blockchain technology, calling it “an important breakthrough,” and promised China would “seize the opportunity.”
Following the speech, government-sponsored news outlets began publishing pro blockchain content, cities announced educational funds, and censors declared that calling blockchain a scam on social media is now forbidden.
The Chinese were quick to react to the news, investing in anything blockchain-related and quickly driving up stock prices. The crypto market also benefited from the hype, with Bitcoin gaining more than $1,000 in the 24-hours following Xi’s announcement.
The government’s endorsement of blockchain technology comes after reports that the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is launching a Digital Currency Electronic Payment System (DCEP) to replace cash. If true, China would become the first major economy to release a native digital currency.
Across the Pacific, the U.S is taking a very different approach. A day before Xi’s speech, Mark Zuckerberg sat in front of Congress to defend Facebook’s proposed digital currency, Libra. The response to his testimony was overwhelmingly negative and pressure from U.S. Senators pushed major supporters like MasterCard and Paypal to back out of the project altogether.
China’s new outlook on blockchain technology is leading some to believe that it’s positioning itself as a global leader in the space and that the U.S may fall behind. Despite China’s advancements, the government has yet to reverse its laws banning crypto exchanges and ICOs.
Kevin Werbach, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, believes China’s digital currency is likely another means of government censorship. “China, the world’s biggest censor, has no love for “censorship-resistant” permissionless cryptocurrencies. It understands the threat that stateless money poses to capital controls and other mechanisms of power over a national economy,” he wrote.
Time will tell which country emerges as the leader in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Still, one thing is for sure; Bitcoin is the first successful application of blockchain technology. Just ask the Chinese newspapers!
Wyoming has now enacted a total of 13 blockchain-enabling laws, making it the only US state to provide a comprehensive, welcoming legal framework that enables blockchain technology to flourish, both for individuals and companies. These laws enable innovation and creativity, and are meant to bring capital, jobs and revenue into Wyoming. Read more.
Ledger, the creator of the iconic Nano hardware wallet, is wooing institutional investors to use its technology to custody cryptocurrency for themselves with the help of big-name insurance broker Marsh. Read more.
PLA Daily — the official newspaper of the People’s Liberation Army — is advocating that soldiers serving in the country’s military be rewarded in crypto, should blockchain technology in the country take off, according to the South China Morning Post. Read more.
Facebook’s head of cryptocurrency projects, David Marcus, has said that he sees bitcoin as “digital gold,” and while it’s held back by its extreme volatility, bitcoin “serves a completely different purpose.” Read more.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a plea deal with Konstantin Ignatov for his involvement in OneCoin Ltd., a cryptocurrency project based out of Bulgaria. Read more.
Chainalysis is building a crypto-space risk data clearinghouse for financial institutions. Its new Kryptos platform will help institutions parse regulatory hazards and build risk assessment models. Read more.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is contracting Canadian enterprise blockchain firm Mavennet to build a cross-border oil tracking platform. Read more.
Crypto lending company Celsius Network said yesterday that it has issued more than $4.25 billion in cryptocurrency-backed loans. The growth in the rate of new loans issued by the company has boomed since hitting $2.2 billion less than 90 days ago, the firm claims. Read more.