When China’s President, Xi Jinping, publicly announced support for blockchain technology in October it was seen in some quarters as a new bullish stance that marked a turning point in official policy. However, the country’s engagement with blockchain has been undeniable for some time and as the Nikkei has reported, China has already filed three times as many blockchain related patents than the U.S.A.
According to the data provided to Nikkei by Astamuse, a Tokyo-based research firm, China registered more than 7,500 blockchain patents in 2018 alone.
Into the Open
President Xi’s announcement, and subsequent media coverage, paved the way for developers, entrepreneurs and institutions behind these patents to bring their projects into the open without the fear of castigation.
One of China’s most esteemed universities – Fudan University in Shanghai – have released an article detailing their progression in blockchain development which correlates with President Xi’s stated belief that the country must take the blockchain as an important breakthrough for independent innovation of core technologies.
Beginning in 2013 under the guidance of Professor Kan Haibing, Fudan University have already registered several patents and “authorised research.” The scope of application for research appears to be wide and includes “…a decentralised authorisation and certification platform,…news source tracing,…[and] platforms for education certification and cross-university course selection.”
While Professor Haibing’s project is focused on security aspects of the technology, the efficiency angle is in the hands of another team under the leadership of Professor Zheng Lirong who are seeking to utilise a “Flexible co-Chain [that is better for] adapting to the application or individual requirements.”
Fudan University is also part of a cross-university project to enable each participating university to act as a node for an up-to-date network of student records.
The research is not being confined just to university classrooms though and Fudan have been working with Shanghai Huahong Jitong Smart System Company to build a data service supply chain platform intended for governmental business.
Looking ahead, Professor Haibin said, “In the future, we will set up more courses to provide guidance to students with different professional backgrounds and skills who want to participate in blockchain research, and produce talents in a more general and comprehensive way.”