Chinese Blockchain Startup Hires VC Exec to Lead North American Expansion

The startup’s global expansion came after it received a rare official endorsement and financial backing from the Shanghai government in January. Its public chain project raised $35 million from major investors such as Sequoia and Huobi via a private token sale in 2018.

Blockchain startup Conflux has hired Eden Dhaliwal, the former head of crypto at Outlier Ventures, as a managing director to lead its expansion in North America.

The Beijing-based firm is set to open an office in Toronto within two weeks. It is assembling a ten-person team to conduct research and seek local investors and business partners, Dhaliwal said.

“Generally, our network is going to be a pathway and conduit into the China market for our partners in North America, given our traction in the country”, he said.

Conflux’s blockchain uses a proof-of-work mechanism, similar to the bitcoin network’s, to reach consensus on the state of the ledger with its native tokens. The firm claims the public permissionless network is able to scale up while maintaining the same level of security as any PoW network.

Dhaliwal joined Conflux on Jan. 1. He left the Toronto office of London-based Outlier Ventures at the end of December after working at the fintech venture capital firm for over three years. Dhaliwal will remain an advisor of the firm. He previously worked at DLT Labs and Techstars.

Outlier Ventures has backed a spate of blockchain protocol providers. The firm participated in a $4 million funding round in smart contract language creator Agoric in May along with Ripple. It led a funding round with Polychain in Haja Networks, which offers open-source products facilitating interoperability between different chains.

Conflux aims to provide a public decentralized platform where developers can create applications and marketplaces, Dhaliwal said.

“We think there are opportunities to expand beyond ethereum, especially in the decentralized finance space”,  Dhaliwal said. “Our early focuses are definitely on DeFi and open finance such as decentralized exchanges, stablecoins, payments, remittance and lending.”

“We are also going to be focused on ecosystem development that involves everything from partnering with other projects in the Web3 stack, decentralizing our mining to working with startups”, he added.

Conflux has also set up an office in Nigeria as a base to build a presence in Africa. The firm sees great potential there since most of the countries do not have a legacy system, according to Dhaliwal.

Toronto is one of the largest financial hubs in North America and it has a very strong developer community, Dhaliwal said. It is a convenient place for the team to network in New York as well, given the Canadian city’s close proximity to the Big Apple, he said.

Chinese Banking Giant CCB Expands Blockchain Platform as Volume Breaks $53 Billion

China Construction Bank, one of the largest Chinese commercial banks, has expanded its trade finance blockchain platform with new abilities, including cross-chain and inter-bank transactions, as trading volume surpasses $53 billion.

Speaking in Beijing at the official launch of the upgraded platform BCTrade2.0, CCB vice president Ji Zhihong said the new platform will leverage blockchain technology to provide better financial services for Chinese exporters, according to a Chinese media report.

Launched in April 2018, the platform has to-date processed over $53.5 billion transactions between exporters, banks and non-bank financial institutions, he said.

The platform offers factoring and forfaiting services that enable exporters to get immediate cash by selling their medium and long-term receivables at a discount price.

The new feature’s cross-chain function will allow the bank’s 54 domestic and international branches to process transactions with each other, as well as another 40 banking institutions, including both state-owned and foreign banks, commercial banks and non-bank platforms.

The bank has appointed its subsidiary Jianxin Financial Services, capitalized with $230 million, to operate and maintain the new platform. The Shanghai-based fintech firm was founded last April by the bank’s affiliates, according to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.

The launch is the bank’s latest effort to increase the efficiency of its banking system for export trade financing with blockchain technology. It completed the debut blockchain-based trading via a factoring transaction in January 2018, according to a statement from the company.

“The move is in line with China’s economic plan to promote trade amid the One Belt One Road Initiative and help grow the real economy in the country”, the bank said in the statement.

All four major state-owned commercial banks in China – CCB, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, and Agricultural Bank of China –  have launched blockchain-based financial services initiatives in the past two years.

ICBC, the largest bank in the world by assets, has used its online blockchain financing platform to help small and medium companies with factoring transactions. The bank gathered 1,300 users with $6.4 billion transactions in the first nine months since its launch last February, according to a statement from the bank.

Bank of China processed its first international money transfer to South Korea in dollars via its patented blockchain payment system last August, while Agricultural Bank of China helped farmers with online trading by using its e-commerce blockchain financing system in August, 2017.

China’s central bank started to run the Bay Area Trade Finance Blockchain Platform last September to help small and medium companies to finance in the areas between Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong province in southern China.

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