China’s president Xi Jinping has publicly acknowledged the potential of blockchain technology, industry website Coindesk has reported.
During a speech at an annual academic conference hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences on Monday, Xi touched upon blockchain and other technologies driving a “new generation of industrial revolution”.
"Ever since the start of the 21st century, a new generation of industrial revolution is substantially reshaping the global economic structure ... with artificial intelligence, internet of things and blockchain constantly making application breakthroughs," Xi said, as quoted by Coindesk.
The Chinese president also said that the company would launch national laboratories with high standards to foster research and development of technology infrastructure.
While Xi did not touch upon how blockchain could benefit China’s economy, his comments mark the first time he has endorsed the technology in public. As noted by Coindesk, Xi’s remarks came a few days after it had been revealed that China's State Council had ordered the country's Guangdong Free-trade Zone to accelerate blockchain development and application. According to media reports published last week, on May 4 the State Council issued an order indicating to the local authorities that it sees blockchain as playing a key role in the region's economic reform. The order addressed a number of strategies to bolster the effort, including accelerating the development of financial technologies by "developing and implementing blockchain applications under existing regulatory frameworks".
While China issued a ban on initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency exchange trading in September, the country’s authorities have remained interested in the technology that underpins most crypto assets. Earlier his month, Li Ming, director of the Blockchain Research Office at the standards institute under the auspices of China’s IT Ministry, said that the country had launched a dedicated working group to develop national blockchain standards by the end of next year. According to him, Various government agencies are involved with the group, which will be called the Blockchain and Distributed Accounting Technology Standardization Committee.