The Chinese fintech incubation zone located in the Guangdong province has officially started its operations, Chinese news outlet Chinese Software Developer Network (CSDN) reports Dec. 21.

According to the article, the zone — which officially opened Dec. 20 — has a total area of 120 square kilometers and already hosts the headquarters of over 20 companies. The zone and its administration will reportedly offer the companies project financing, office space and policy guidelines, and will overall “promote the transformation and application of technological achievements.”

CSDN notes that the Guangdong financial high-tech zone will “focus on the major needs and major pain points of the financial [industries] encouraging blockchain and other technologies in finance, manufacturing, trade.” The zone will begin with fostering pilot projects, and then will move forward in order to “culvative a group of blockchain financial technology enterprises and innovation teams.”

In November, the “Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao Dawan District Blockchain Alliance” had been established to promote innovation and sustain the development of blockchain tech. CSDN mentions the three districts as areas for expanding the use of the technology.

China, which has long been cracking down on cryptocurrency by banning both domestic and foreign exchanges, and even crypto-related social accounts, seems to be heavily investing in blockchain technology. As Cointelegraph reported this week, a media copyright protection alliance has been created in Beijing to provide copyright protection employing blockchain technology.

Also in December, Shenzhen, a major city in the Guangdong Province and home to the first economic special zone in China, announced that it will use blockchain technology for electronic tax invoices.

A supposed Bitcoin (BTC) millionaire has been arrested in Hong Kong after “making it rain cash” on the streets, local English-language news outlet the Shanghaiist reported on Dec. 17.

On Sunday, a swathe of 100-Hong Kong dollar bills were thrown off a roof in Sham Shui Po, one of the poorest Hong Kong neighborhoods. Wong Ching-kit, a local cryptocurrency enthusiast, purported Bitcoin millionaire, and entrepreneur who owns the Epoch Cryptocurrency website, is reportedly believed to be responsible for the stunt.

In a video posted on Epoch’s Facebook page, he is seen asking “does anyone believe that money can fall from the sky?” before money starts falling from a high building behind him.

The description of the video details a competition wherein participants can allegedly win large cash prizes. In another video Ching-kit reportedly describes himself inside a luxury car as some kind of “god” that “steals from the rich and gives to the poor.”

According to Shanghaiist, the man was subsequently arrested by local police, reportedly before performing another publicity stunt. Shanghaiist reports that he was detained for “disorderly conduct in a public place” while live-streaming with a stack of cash in his hand.

Leo Weese, a member of the local crypto community, tweeted that Ching-kit is not a Bitcoin millionaire but is instead “running a pyramid-like scheme.” The police reportedly claim to have only recovered 6,000 Hong Kong dollars ($767) while “a popular Twitter post claims, unreasonably, that ‘100’s of millions of HKD’ was dropped from the rooftop.”

In May 2018, organizers of a blockchain conference in China were subjected to harsh criticism after they arranged a performance including a Mao Zedong impersonator. An actor dressed in a grey Mao suit gave a speech in the style of the Chairman, wishing success to the audience in an accent from Mao’s birth province of Hunan, declaring:

“You are worthy of being called the great sons and daughters of the Chinese nation, and I thank you in the name of Mao Zedong.”

The organizers reportedly broke a law prohibiting the use of the image of any past or present leader in promotional activities and television advertisements.

Earlier that same month, a Ukrainian initial coin offering (ICO) publicity stunt on Mount Everest resulted in the death of a sherpa. Social network ASKfm sponsored “crypto enthusiasts” to climb Mount Everest and place a Ledger wallet holding 500,000 in ASKfm tokens at the peak. The sherpa died during the descent.

A research report by the Hong Kong Exchange (HKEX) argued that fintech firms using cryptocurrency should be subjected “to the governance by the Securities Law”.

HKEX Finds Risks In Large-Scale Deployment of Blockchain In Securities Industry

The stock exchange of Hong Kong, Asia’s third-largest operator by market cap, published a report on fintech applications and related regulatory framework. Focusing on blockchain and AI applications in the securities industry, the paper explored how they could be integrated into trading, clearing, settlement, and regulation, in a feasible way.

The exchange’s Chief China Economist’s Office and Innovation Lab discussed how blockchain is regulated differently in different jurisdictions and found that the “principle of consistency requires that […] the issuance of digital currencies and digital funds must be governed under the existing securities regulatory framework”.

“The public fund-raising activities of shares issuance by issuers — which do so with merely a prospectus published on the Internet but without any underwriter nor compliance with the IPO registration procedures or strict disclosure requirements — must be rectified by subjecting them to the governance by the Securities Law.”

The report also found challenges for blockchain in private equity markets from a legal compliance perspective as e-certificates of ownership need to be approved by regulators as well as legal departments.

“To recognize equity rights and other corporate operations, regulators may need the help of multiple centers to enable related authoritative entities to participate in the blockchain for exercising their respective responsibilities and at the same time to enable information transparency and timely sharing.”

The authors also show concern about the risks of a large scale deployment of blockchain in the securities industry.

“As each node has a ledger of the whole chain, any successful hacking will not only expose data of the hacked node to theft but also expose all data in the full ledger to potential replication.”

As to the applications of blockchain in the securities industry, the document explained that its distributed, decentralized, encrypted, extensible, and programmable nature, have the potential of being used in post-trade clearing and settlement, as well as asset rehypothecation and in the private equity market.

Hong Kong Stock Exchange was recently on the news after Bitmain, one of the largest players in the crypto mining industry, filing for an initial public offering on the exchange and disclosing $2.5 billion revenue in 2017 alone, as well as gross profit of $1.2 billion and cryptocurrency holdings of approximately $105 million in cash.

China and the USA have been competing with each other in every field to gain global dominance. The same competition seems to have entered the cryptocurrency industry as White House, understanding China’s Bitcoin Dominance is now backing Ripple Labs.

Its BTC vs XRP as two global superpowers look at a crypto world

China is, by far, the undisputed world leader in bitcoin mining — with Chinese mining pools controlling more than 70% of the bitcoin network’s collective hash rate, the measuring unit of the processing power of the bitcoin network.

Many in the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry have expressed concern about how much control this gives China over bitcoin, with the Beijing-based Bitmain Technologies mining more than half the world’s bitcoins creating an oligopolistic to near monopoly situation.

While China’s dominance is fairly visible, the United States doesn’t want to stay behind in this race. According to the reports coming in from the White House, it appears U.S. president Donald Trump’s White House is also worrying about China’s bitcoin dominance and Ripple Labs executive, are suggesting the U.S. administration is interested in ripple (XRP) adoption to offset China’s bitcoin strength.

Ripple Lab’s chief strategist, Cory Johnson, was quoted saying in a wide-ranging interview with crypto-focused magazine Breaker that

“The White House, in particular, seems to be thinking about what it means to have 80% of bitcoin mining taking place in China and a majority of ether mining taking place in China,”

“When you look at XRP, there is no mining, so from a foreign-control aspect or from an environmental aspect, XRP is a very different beast. And in conversations we’ve had with the administration, they seem to get that and think that might matter.”

China manufactures most of the world’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining equipment and its massive mining farms are supported by the country’s cheap electricity prices, giving it dominance in bitcoin while for Ripple, Ripple Labs controls 60% of the ripple supply and the XRP tokens don’t require any mining. This situation of Bitmain’s dominating control over Bitcoin’s mining and Ripple’s majority control over XRP has received a lot of criticism from the industry as these being centralized in hands of few. A lot of experts believe that this war of the US vs China may intensify the centralization issues as both global superpowers would want to control these cryptos.

But according to Weiss Rating’s latest tweet Ripple’s XRP is more decentralized. The tweet says Ripple is moving towards decentralization whereas the open-to-everyone model of Proof-of- Work mining resulted in oligopolies instead of decentralization it promised to create.

The attention and backing the crypto curries are getting from respective global giants could do amazing news for cryptocurrencies but concerns over-centralization and control still looms. One can only wait and watch how these countries play out their moves to gain supremacy in global as well as crypto worlds

American Economist Nouriel Roubini has stated that cryptocurrency is more centralized than North Korea in a tweet October 7.

New York University professor Roubini, better known as “Dr. Doom” for his alleged prediction of the 2008 Financial crisis, has repeatedly criticized claims that decentralized in cryptocurrency exists.

In his tweet today, the Harvard-educated economist again repeated his argument, this time calling crypto’s decentralization a “myth” and provocatively comparing the phenomenon to North Korea:

“Decentralization in crypto is a myth. It is a system more centralized than North Korea: miners are centralized, exchanges are centralized, developers are centralized dictators (Buterin is “dictator for life” ) & the Gini inequality coefficient of bitcoin is worse than North Korea.”

The so-called Gini index is a measure of distribution, often used to evaluate economic inequality in a particular country or region. Roubini continued his comparison in another tweet several minutes later, claiming this time more specifically that Bitcoin’s (BTC) inequality coefficient was the worst in the world:

“Miners, exchanges, developers are centralized […] the inequality coefficient of BTC is worse than North Korea that has the worst inequality on earth. Crypto beats Kim Jong-un in regards to centralization and inequality.”

As Cointelegraph reported in May of this year, Roubini called BTC a “gigantic speculative bubble” that “feeds on itself,” calling claims crypto could be decentralized “just bulls**t.” Back in November 2017, he predicted that Bitcoin would “find its end” as more countries establish stricter regulation modelled on China’s current approach to crypto.

In August, speaking as a panelist at BlockShow Americas, Roubini attacked blockchain technology, saying that fintech had “zero” to do with blockchain or crypto, arguing that people were doing just fine with traditional, fiat digital payment systems.

A man in China has been been sentenced to three and a half years in jail for stealing power from a train station to fuel his Bitcoin (BTC) mining operations, local media outlet The Paper reports October 8.

According to court documents released today, the sentencing was served September 13 at the Datong Railway Transport Court in China’s northern Shanxi province. In addition to jail time, the individual, a local named Xu Xinghua, has reportedly been fined 100,000 yuan (around $14,500).

Xinghua is said to have stolen electricity from one of the factories at Kouquan Railway back in November and December 2017 to power his 50 Bitcoin miners and three electric fans around the clock. The document states that five of the mining machines were damaged during this period.

As of April 2018, Xinghua is said to have successfully mined 3.2 Bitcoin, earning 120,000 yuan (about $17,400) and running up an electricity bill of 104,000 yuan ($15,000).

In addition to imprisonment and a fine, the court has ordered Xinghua to cover the cost of the electricity charges and has confiscated his mining equipment, The Paper reports.

Charges of a similar nature are not unprecedented in China. In June, a man in China’s Anhui province was arrested for attempting to steal electricity to fund his reportedly “unprofitable” mining operations. The suspect was said to have stolen 150 megawatt (MW) of power to fuel two hundred computers that he used to mine both Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH) – running a bill of over 6000 yuan ($930) daily.

With the country established as a crypto mining superpower due to its abundance of cheap energy and hardware, reports surfaced at the start of this year that Chinese authorities were poised to attempt to quash the industry.

A leaked memo from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to a top-level government internet finance regulator reportedly stated that Bitcoin miners should make an “orderly exit” from the country due to them sapping “huge amounts of resources and stok[ing] speculation of virtual currencies.”

The regulator is said to have subsequently ordered local authorities to wield all available means in their arsenal – including “measures linked to electricity price, land use, tax, and environmental protection” – to pressure miners to cease their operations.

While Ma’s keynote focused on the challenges and common (mis)perceptions surrounding the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) in particular, he reserved a place for blockchain and internet of things (IoT) technology as technological watersheds in the new “data age,” arguing that:

“The data age is major opportunity for manufacturers to reform the industry. But blockchain and IoT will be meaningless tech unless they can promote the transformation of the manufacturing industry, and the evolution of the society towards a greener and more inclusive direction.”

Jack Ma, who now plans to go into retirement, has a net worth of $36.9 billion, according to Forbes. The overwhelmingly popular mobile payment app Alipay, run by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, is said to have 450 million users.

Blockchain is no new topic for the e-commerce titan, as Ma has previously this year rebutted claims that the technology is merely a “bubble,” emphasizing that he has been researching blockchain for years and believes strongly in its potential to address issues of data privacy and security for society at all levels.

Indeed as early as summer 2016, Ant Financial, introduced blockchain technology to improve accountability in its work with the Chinese charity industry, going on to recruit blockchain experts in the company at large the following year.

Fresh data published late August revealed that Alibaba had sealed the top first globally on a new list that ranked entities by the number of blockchain-related patents filed to date; the e-commerce conglomerate has filed a staggering 90 such patents, outflanking even IBM.

Nonetheless, Alibaba has strictly complied with Beijing’s recently redoubled efforts to clamp down on decentralized cryptocurrencies, with Alipay announcing it would block any account that uses its network to transact in Bitcoin (BTC) over-the-counter (OTC) trade.

Ant Financial has also reportedly said it plans to conduct a “risk prevention” program intended to educate users about the dangers of false crypto-related “propaganda.”

The European Central Bank (ECB) has “no plans” to issue its own digital currency, President Mario Draghi told the European Parliament Wednesday, September 12.

Addressing a query by MEP Jonás Fernández, Draghi said “substantial development” was still needed in the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies before the Central Bank would consider using them.

“The ECB and the Eurosystem currently have no plans to issue a central bank digital currency,” he summarized:

“Nonetheless, we are carefully analysing the potential consequences of issuing such a currency as a complement to cash.”

Explaining why no plans were afoot at the ECB, Draghi drew attention to those same factors.

“…The technologies which could potentially be used to issue a central bank digital currency […] have not yet been thoroughly tested and require substantial further development before they could be used in a central bank context,” he told Fernández, adding:

“With regard to the central bank administering individual accounts for households and companies, this would imply that the central bank would enter into competition for retail deposits with the banking sector and lead to potentially substantial operational costs and risks.”

He added there was at present “no concrete need” to issue an additional currency within the eurozone, saying demand for cash banknotes “continues to grow” in the EU28.

Draghi continues the wary stance the 28-member bloc has traditionally held on bank-issued cryptocurrency, in contrast to moves by countries such as Russia and China.

Earlier this year, a joint report from the ECB and Bank for International Settlements (BIS) highlighted “side effects” of a potential launch of such a currency, also considering the need for more research beforehand.

Two local governments in West Bengal, India are integrating the application for birth certificates on a blockchain system developed by Lynked.world, a blockchain app company based in the Netherlands.

Bankura Municipal Corporation and Durgapur Municipal Corporation will be using blockchain tech to handle administrative operations such as processing requests and verifying legal identities to make processes like applications for legal documents such as birth certificates more streamlined.

Lynked World CEO and Founder Arun Kumar cited the need for an overhaul of the “cumbersome” systems currently being used for these processes, saying government agencies are still a position where they need citizens standing in front of an agent with their ID in hand to access basic services.

Kumar told CCN that the platform is ready for launch and that both West Bengal municipalities will be able to issue birth certs and other legal documents and other certificates as early as September 2018, with 1 million birth certs expected to be placed on blockchain by the end of the year.

“These Birth and other certificates would be digitally authenticated by issuing authorities (municipalities) and that authentication will be stored on blockchain which facilitates verification of these documents by any third party organization to whom owners provide access.

Basically Blockchain would be used to write the hash value of certificate together with owner of certificate and who issued it for the authentication and verification.”

The LYNK token will be the native token of the platform and enable citizens to make applications. The company broadly specializes in ID verification via its app which includes a digital wallet for storing personal information contained in documents like passports, medical records, academic degrees, and driver’s licenses which can be securely verified on blockchain technology. A QR code is used to quickly connect users to their legal records stored on the blockchain network, greatly reducing the amount of time and money that needs to be spent on basic ID verification.

India has embraced blockchain technology by establishing a blockchain district in the country of 1.3 billion people and pledging to provide regulatory support for companies and startups. The government has also stated its intention to use blockchain technology to increase transparency and reduce government corruption.

Meanwhile, other nations have implemented blockchain ID verification pilot programs in areas like voting from abroad in the US, verifying academic degrees in Australia, and government auditing in China.

The initiative to streamline birth cert applications and put citizen birth records on the blockchain in India is the latest in a series of important steps in adoption that continue to demonstrate the usefulness of the new technology. While it’s arguably too soon to say whether the systems will be ultimately successful, the intercontinental adoption is a strong vote of confidence in DLT as groundbreaking innovation continues to disrupt high-level government systems and pave the way for growth in the sector.

JD.com, China’s largest retailer and e-commerce provider, has deployed an open blockchain platform to enable customers to have their own blockchain solutions to improve the transparency, efficiency and security of their operations, the company announced on its corporate blog.

The JD Blockchain Open Platform expands the company’s Retail as a Service and will allow customers to build smart contracts on both private and public enterprise clouds.

The platform will allow companies to streamline tracking of product movement, property assessments, digital copyrights and authenticity certifications. The company oversees quality control of its offerings on the app store to allow users to customize applications.

Numerous Offerings Available

The platform includes an application store that offers software and numerous blockchain base layers developed by independent software vendors as well as JD.com’s internal development team.

The platform will be especially helpful to companies lacking the capability to develop blockchain solutions on their own.

China Pacific Insurance Company (CPIC) has become the first JD.com partner to use the open blockchain platform. The insurance company applies a unique blockchain ID to each invoice document, improving the efficiency and streamlining the accounting process, thereby strengthening the security governance of electronic invoices.

Yanhong Pan, vice president and chief financial officer at CPIC, said the e-invoice system has improved operational efficiency.

Jian Pei, who oversees big data and smart supply chain at J.D.com, said the open platform was initially developed for the company’s own operations to improve visibility to consumers.

Blockchain Innovation Continues

Earlier this year, JD.com launched AI Catapult, a blockchain and artificial intelligence accelerator, and has developed AI applications at a Silicon Valley lab as well as in China.

AI Catapult already includes companies such as Bankorous, a Chinese fintech provider; CanYa, an Australia based cryptocurrency company; Bluezelle, a Singapore based blockchain-powered database service; Nuggets, a blockchain-based ID platform and payments platform based in London; and Devery, a blockchain based product verification protocol.

Last year, JD.com introduced a blockchain platform to allow customers to track the development process for products and food items they buy. This initiative deployed blockchain based tracing for more than 11,000 stock keeping units and 400 brands.

JD.com will also work with certificate authorities and software providers to examine ways to apply blockchain for business uses, such as enterprise resource planning.