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Qtum’s New Partnership to Launch China’s First Blockchain Hub

China has a robust cryptocurrency culture, so much so that Emily Parker, reporting for the MIT Technical Review in December 2017, described the country as “The Silicon Valley of the East.”

As Bitcoin began emerging from obscurity in 2016, most bitcoin transactions were in China’s native currency, the yuan. China is also one of the world’s most significant locations for Bitcoin mining, the energy-intensive and computationally exhausting process by which transactions are verified and logged in the blockchain, through which new bitcoins are generated.

In early 2017, when initial coin offerings (ICOs) were just beginning to explode, Chinese cryptoenthusiasts were some of the most ambitious investors in the world. Bloomberg reported that “Sixty-five ICO projects had been completed [in China], raising 2.6 billion yuan ($398 million).” Of course, in September 2017, China took the bold step of banning ICOs altogether. 

Still, cryptocurrencies are about a lot more than just digital currency iterations. For all the attention placed on their soaring values, their underlying technology, blockchains, may ultimately prove to be the most valuable part of this whole movement. Even notable cryptoskeptic and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Jamie Dimon, told Fox Business that “the blockchain is real.”

Two weeks ago, the Chinese cryptocommunity took a big step toward realizing that promise. On January 9, 2018, the blockchain project Qtum announced a collaboration with the 360 Blockchain Research Center and the New Bitcoin (BTN) Foundation. Together, their efforts should yield a premier blockchain laboratory in China.

The goal, according to EContent, is to “promote the development and commercialization of blockchain technology.” Each member of the three-way pact brings unique experiences and expertise to the table.

Based in Singapore, Qtum is a blockchain platform that attempts to bridge the capabilities of the two most popular blockchains, Bitcoin and Ethereum. By doing so, Qtum is pursuing an enterprise-grade blockchain solution that is scalable and capable in ways that neither Bitcoin nor Ethereum can function alone.

By pursuing a “best-of-both-worlds” blockchain scenario, Qtum is attempting to create an enterprise-ready blockchain. Qtum already hosts millions of users on its public blockchain, and its role in the laboratory could help increase that platform.

Qtum’s platform is intriguing to 360 Blockchain, a publicly traded company that invests in crypto startups. Its investments focus on e-sports, human resources, the Internet of Things and consumer loyalty programs. 360 Blockchain’s participation in the laboratory can help ready these categories for commercial use.

Mr. Zhang Yunfan, the secretary general of the BTN Foundation, is equally aspirational in his hope that the research center will accelerate blockchain’s commercialization abilities and lead to enterprise-ready blockchain solutions in the near future.

Commenting on the launch, Yunfan said, “The partnership with Qtum and 360 reflects a broader transformation… from the Internet thinking to blockchain thinking, from the information era to one that is characterized by network value.” 

While the research laboratory is an endeavor by private companies, its location in China is important as well. Despite China’s open opposition to cryptocurrencies and ICOs, the country is thought to view the blockchain as a transformative technology that happens to originate from cryptocurrencies. China is eager to build a national reputation for excellence in technology, and the center will help “raise China’s authority in the blockchain,” according to Mr. Liu Wei, vice president and chairman of 360 Finance.

This thinking reflects a near-universal consensus on blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is much more important than the cryptocurrencies that it is famous for empowering. However, additional development is required before it’s ready to fulfill its hype and potential. By bringing together three blockchain foundations to collaborate on the work, new and better solutions can emerge to make blockchain ready for prime time.

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