Blockchain Research and Insight - Kapronasia

Blockchain technology's momentum has grown significantly in China and it’s clear that this technology is here to stay. Since Chinese New Year, frequent good news has accelerated this trend – The People’s Daily published a whole page talking about how to develop this technology, and it’s been a hot topic even in the ongoing “two sessions” National Party Congress.

The top three tech giants in China -  Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, previously did not talk much about their blockchain development, but with a much more receptive public and regulatory environment, they have revealed a bit more about where they have been focused.

China is on the verge of creating another uninviting barrier for the cryptocurrency market, however nothing has been set in stone yet. Xinhua, one of the main news outlets in China, released another elusive yet pressing statement on February 5, 2018 laying out some of the government's plans to further hinder Chinese citizens from accessing international cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs.

Bitcoin has grown rapidly in 2017 and its grabbed the attention of industry leaders and CEO’s, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. In January, Zuckerberg released a comment that indicated that Facebook will be looking to research and potentially adapt Blockchain technology.

XRP has become one of the most hyped cryptocurrencies, outperforming both Bitcoin and Ethereum last year. Much of the hype comes from XRP’s connection to its creator company Ripple Labs, but this link may not be as useful as many hope.

The recent hype around Bitcoin continues to bring uncertainty to the financial stability of countries. Whilst some countries are accepting Bitcoin others are rejecting it and the threats that they perceive it holds.

Evident concern on the volatility and the unforeseeable future of cryptocurrency exchanges have caused the South Korean government to take heightened steps to further inspect new crypto-trading accounts due to an “overheated market” and a number of money-laundering cases. The announcement of this act alone was followed by a downward spiral of 11% in Bitcoin's value.

China has long seemingly been opposed to all things crypto, having previously banned ICO’s and virtual currency trading. However, in the latest development of China’s war on crypto, it is now reportedly set to shut the Bitcoin mining industry.

With the craze surrounding Bitcoin, many are concerned that the crypotcurrency’s price is over valued and a result of too much hype. However, Blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, is captivating the attention of many and is widely regarded as the future of technology. So much so in fact, many countries have already launched or begun looking into the possibility of creating their own Blockchain based, state sponsored cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin and blockchain technology has raised the specter of dis-intermediation for the leading global banks in the last few years.

The crypto space is evolving rapidly, from bitcoin in 2009 to over 900 different crypto-currencies in 2017. The space is emerging and developing at an exponential rate. Blockchain technology has been following a similar trend with more and more potential uses being found every day. The potential for innovation is endless, this is only the beginning.

There has been significant news published in the last week regarding regulation around initial coin offerings (ICOs) especially around the Chinese Government's position on ICOs in China. Finally, at 3.00pm, September 4th this Monday, seven important Chinese government departments including the PBOC, issued an announcement to stop any ICO transactions and defined ICOs in China as illegal fund raising. Strict ICO regulatory is the right choice but is this ‘One-size-fits-all Policy’ the right answer?

For several weeks earlier this year, the PBOC (Peoples Bank of China) focused on bitcoin exchanges and halted crypto-currency withdrawals from the main exchanges; now ICO’s (initial coin offerings) have grabbed their attention. With ICO’s growing in popularity they are hard to ignore, In China since the beginning of the year there have been 65 ICO’s, that have raised over 2.6 billion RMB. As such, the PBOC has been considering banning ICO’s as they expose investors to a very high risk and “illegally absorb public funds.”  

03 Jul 2017

A brief on ICOs

Written by

Over the past few weeks, little-known ICOs have grabbed the media's attention. ICOs, or 'Initial Coin Offerings', have become a new way for individuals and start-ups to obtain funding. A significant number of these ICOs are originating from China, so we decided to take a look at the dynamics behind these new funding vehicles. 

Blockchain technology has become one of the hottest topics in China Fintech. So when Ant Finance, the most valuable tech unicorn company in the world, announced they were working on a blockchain-based solution for the charity space, it captured lots of attention - but what is behind the move?

Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently confirmed the application of the block chain-based technology to trade finance transactions. This is a clear indication from the traditional banking sector of their support for the disruptive technology. The bitcoin’s underlying technology finally is seeing practical use.

Last week China’s central bank announced the possibility of launching its own digital currency on its official website. What is behind the government's push to launch a digital currency? Control money outflow? Better monitor cash transactions? 

So over the past week, the internet has been aflutter with talk of Bitcoin and China again. A March 10th Goldman equity research note entitled 'The Future of Finance' offered a few comments about Bitcoin in China seem to have reignited the debate about Bitcoin's place in the Middle Kingdom. There are a lot of misconceptions out there, we felt we needed to set a few of them straight.

According to the latest hardware specifications of bitcoin mining manufacturers, even with it no longer makes sense for individuals to mine on their own - even in China where electricity is somewhat cheaper. Except if they are willing to wait a long time. 

Ripple Labs announced partnerships with two U.S. banks, which will allow their customers to make same-day distributed money transfers at a very low-cost. How about partnering with Chinese banks? Could Ripple in China work with banks in a space where Bitcoin in China has struggled?

Bitcoin has seen its reputation in the eyes of the general public drop following various security breaches (i.e. Mt Gox) that have left many uncertain about the digital currency’s legitimacy and future. In addition, people are starting to question if Bitcoin really has a place in the market and if there is actually a problem that it solves – there is almost a malaise in the eyes of many who are getting tired about reading about it. Although Bitcoin might be hitting headwinds, security enhancements are underway and blockchain technology seems to be thriving.

Seven months after the PBOC's crackdown on bitcoin exchanges in China and we're seeing a resurgence in talk about what Chinese bitcoin exchanges are doing and where they are going. While accusations of falsifying trading data and questions about bitcoin's future in China still abound, China's bitcoin exchanges want to move on and forget the past, but are they going in the right direction?

We are pleased to announce the release of Zennon Kapron's book on the Past, Present and Future of Bitcoin in China. "Chomping at the Bitcoin" will be released on the 25th of August.

After successive Bitcoin crackdown by mainland regulators, banks and online merchants, Bitcoin is left hanging in China.

Fiona Zhao, one of our analysts here at Kapronasia, has been covering bitcoin in China from the beginning. Here she lays out the reasons why bitcoin in China won't survive. 

After couple of months of low trading volume and little news, BTC China, previously the largest and still one of the most prominent bitcoin exchanges in China has moved the goalposts for other exchanges (and the PBOC!) by launching the first physical Chinese Bitcoin 'ATM' at the IC Coffee Shop in Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park in Shanghai on Tuesday the 15th. In addition to the physical ATM, BTC China released a new mobile Web appcalled “Picasso ATM”, which is actually the main theme of the ATM launch.

On China's supposed bitcoin 'd-day', April 15th, BTCChina launches Shanghai ATM what could be the country's first bitcoin ATM. Kapronasia was onsite on launch day and will have an update tonight on our experience using the ATM.

China's first Bitcoin ATM

As Chinese New Year wraps up and people (very!) gradually come back to work in mainland China, we wanted to take a step back and look at where we are with Bitcoin in China for the year of the horse.

Over the past week, Robocoin Technologies announced they were expanding their Bitcoin ATM offering into Asia with planned ATM installs in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

It sounds trite if you’ve read my other posts on Bitcoin in China, but ‘wow! What a week it has been for Bitcoin in China’. With the PBOC effectively cutting off (legal) funding of accounts on exchange platforms, is there a future for the currency in China?

Kapronasia began researching Bitcoin in China in August 2013. Our Bitcoin in China report released on September 18th mentioned that in the future there would be two factors that really influence the fate of Bitcoin in China: the Chinese government’s attitude towards Bitcoin and Bitcoin’s acceptance as a method of payment, at least initially, by merchants.

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