China’s campaign against Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been ongoing since September last year, but that doesn’t mean that they are against the underlying technology. In fact, in 2017 China was found to be leading in the number of blockchain patents held by international companies, with a total of 49 out of the 100 top companies holding the greatest number of blockchain patents being based in China.
Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce platform, currently holds the second highest number of patents, second only to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). However, unlike the Bank of America that has focused primarily of applying for patents, Jack Ma’s Alibaba seems to be taking definitive steps towards developing and implementing a blockchain on Alibaba.
Some examples include:
- Alibaba’s T-Mall and its affiliate logistics company Cainiao, have partnered together to develop a an IoT supply blockchain platform cross-border transactions of over 30,000 products. The ultimate plan is for this platform to create a network that connects 50 countries on its mobile dApp. Part of this includes collaborating with the Australian post to combat the prevalence of counterfeit food in China. They have teamed up with the Xiamen ZhongChuan IoT Industry Research Institute to escalate the development of this project.
- Alibaba isn’t focusing purely on e-commerce. They have also formed a partnership with the government in Eastern China to form ‘Ali Health’. Ali Health is intended to be blockchain-based platform to form a cohesive network of all medical treatment structures in the city of Changzhou. This will allow for decentralized data-sharing and storage of patients’ medical data, without the need to transfer and re-enter the same data at each new medical facility that a patient visits.
Alibaba’s Unlikely to Accept Bitcoin Anytime Soon
Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, has repeatedly stated that Bitcoin is probably a bubble. This is unsurprising, given the volatility of value of cryptocurrencies in general, as well as China’s own decidedly negative stance against ICOs and cryptocurrencies. However, other formerly anti-cryptocurrency countries such as South Korea did an about-turn, so there is always a possibility that China may too decide the same. Such an outcome would likely depend largely on mass-adoption by other countries and even then, China does not usually follow the crowd, unless they see a genuine benefit in doing so. But, all is hearsay, so we’ll just have to settle with a blockchain on Alibaba for now.