Chinese Internet Giant Tencent Launches Blockchain Accelerator

Announced on the company’s website on April 29, the “Tencent Industrial Accelerator” is open to both early-stage and mature blockchain startups, with a total of 30 places available.

Tencent, the operator of Chinese social media app WeChat, is launching a blockchain accelerator.

To qualify, projects must have at least one financing round behind them.  Applications are being accepted until June 6.

What does the accelerator offer?

Tencent’s blockchain accelerator will focus on a variety of recruitment areas including industrial blockchain solutions and blockchain applications for data sharing, supply chain financing and digital asset transactions.

Other recruitment areas will focus on blockchain for sectors such as government affairs, energy, education, logistics, manufacturing, agriculture and public welfare.

Successful applicants will be given four mentoring meetings throughout the year, a host of industry networking and business opportunities, and access to Tencent’s blockchain-as-a-service platform. They will also have a chance to make an overseas visit connected to their blockchain industry area of interest.

Development areas of interest isolated in Tencent’s announcement include smart contract security, trusted identity and computing solutions, multi-party governance mechanisms and consensus algorithms.

Shortlisted projects will be announced for a second round of judging at the end of June. The cost per person for participation in the accelerator will be 100,000 RMB — just over $14,000.

The national scope of Tencent’s blockchain development

As recently reported, Tencent’s digital bank WeBank has announced plans to integrate the smart contract Digital Asset Modeling Language for the consortium blockchain “FISCO BCOS” —  the chain that will undergird China’s national Blockchain-Based Service Network (BSN).

BSN launched for commercial applications earlier this month, six months after it was first rolled out for testing.

Alongside WeBank, Tencent Cloud, Huawei and Shenzhen Securities Communication are all founding members of the FISCO BCOS blockchain platform.

Chinese Insurers Tap Blockchain to Speed up Coronavirus Payouts

Blockchain technology is reportedly helping to streamline medical paperwork processing for insurance service providers as global coronavirus containment efforts continue.

Leveraging blockchain’s ability to process information transparently and efficiently, insurance service providers are relying on the technology to speed up claims payouts in over 27 coronavirus affected Chinese cities, as well as Hong Kong, according to a report by South China Morning Post on Sunday.

Xiang Hu Bao, an Chinese online mutual aid platform owned by Ant Financial, has added the coronavirus to its list of eligible claims, enabling a one-time payout of 100,000 yuan (US$14,320) for those affected by the virus.

The claims sharing platform was built on a blockchain network, leveraging the technology to service its 104 million users by speeding up settlement claims and reducing fraud. The service has been made available on Alipay, the most used mobile payments app in China and globally.

An Ant Financial spokesman in Beijing told the South China Morning Post that due to blockchain’s “trust-free nature”, Xiang Hu Bao has been able to process claims and conduct payouts at a much faster rate than with traditional methods.

The move also increases transparency in a claimant’s process once their documentation has been submitted, as all parties involved can view the entire process on-chain within 24-hours of a patient visiting a clinic or hospital.

In Hong Kong, 26 reported cases including one death have compelled Blue Cross Insurance (Asia-Pacific), a subsidiary of the Bank of East Asia (BEA), to adopt blockchain technology to ease pressure on healthcare services by shortening the time it takes to verify back-end data.

Blue Cross Insurance’s blockchain platform allows for up to 1,000 transactions per second and eliminates the need for human intervention, prompting an increase in policy holders since its launch in 2019, the report says.

Chinese Central Bank Official Calls for Commercial Bank Blockchain Adoption

The head of the technology department at the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has called for commercial banks to adopt blockchain technology in digital finance.

As reported by Reuters, bank official Li Wei spoke Monday at a forum in Shanghai on commercial bank adoption.

The central bank is already currently developing its own digital yuan that is expected to launch soon. The potential launch of the Facebook-led Libra cryptocurrency payments network prompted calls for the PBoC to accelerate work on the digital currency.

Li Wei’s comments come hard on the heels of Chinese president and general secretary of the Communist Party Xi Jinping’s call for widespread blockchain adoption in China on Friday.

“We must clarify the main direction, increase investment, focus on a number of key core technologies, and accelerate the development of blockchain technology and industrial innovation”, Xi said at the time.

Alongside a 16 percent leap in bitcoin’s price over the weekend, blockchain-related Chinese tech stocks jumped following Xi’s comments,. Bloomberg reports that the Shenzhen Information Technology Index jumped 5.3 percent Monday, with dozens of firms shooting past the daily 10-percent onshore limit.

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