China is vehemently anti-Bitcoin and anti-cryptocurrency. The country, which used to be a hub for all things Bitcoin, started to disassociate itself from the rising power in the decentralized cryptocurrency in 2017, when it banned all domestic trading of Chinese yuan and other currencies for BTC, Ethereum, and their ilk.
China doubled down on this stance over the past few months, with the country’s central bank continuing to assert that firms dealing with cryptocurrency would be “disposed of,” per one translation, and with other reports indicating that companies dealing with Bitcoin were raided by police or forced out of the country.
Not to mention, articles from state media Xinhua and People’s Daily asserted that Bitcoin is a speculative “air coin” used in dark markets.
Despite this crackdown on cryptocurrency, the country has been all for blockchain, which some like to say is the “technology that underpins Bitcoin.” And this has been evidenced by the country’s blockchain funding numbers.
China is All For Blockchain
According to a report co-authored by both Xinhua Finance and Rhino Data, the former being the financial news branch of one of China’s top state-run media, Chinese blockchain startups bagged 245 investment and financing deals in 2019.
These deals purportedly amounted to a sum of $3.5 billion in capital, which is purportedly 50% lower than the invested sum for 2018 according to a Decrypt Media translation.
The deals were purportedly focused on three main sectors in the blockchain space:
- Blockchain media and industry information
- Digital asset exchanges (which can operate outside of China but be developed within the country)
- Decentralized finance (DeFi).
Cryptocurrency giant Binance, for instance, this year made a large deal with Chinese blockchain information and news outlet Mars Finance, cementing the trend aforementioned.
An especially interest part of the report read (per Google Translate): “The financing enthusiasm in the blockchain sector picked up in October-December.”
This seems to imply that President Xi Jinping’s comments lauding blockchain as a “core technology” to the nation’s future success worked in catalyzing the nation’s growing love for the technology, which it is seemingly prioritizing alongside 5G and artificial intelligence.
Indeed, blockchain is so important that some of the nation’s largest companies and organizations — including state-run commercial bank Bank of China, TikTok operator ByteDance, and Baidu — have launched initiatives that involve this technology.
Crypto Winter Hit Rest of the World Harder
China, compared to the Western world at least, saw a great year for blockchain investment.
This data from Crunchbase published at the end of the third quarter of 2019 showed that the volume for “private funding & ICO events involving blockchain and cryptocurrency companies” had fallen from $12.8 billion in 2018 to $3.38 billion in 2019 (year to date through August 30th), while there were around one-third of the deals taking place.
(It isn’t clear of Crunchbase had access to all Chinese data, as the total funding for Q1 to Q3 of 2019 was $3.38 billion, which is almost as much as only Chinese blockchain startups received in funding for the entire year.
Regardless, this shows that Chinese blockchain firms fared relatively well compared to their Western compatriots.)
This harrowing trend seems to have much to do with the collapse of altcoins in 2019. Last year, Bitcoin dominance surged from 52% to over 70% at its high as a majority of altcoins posted relative losses against BTC, as many projects, especially those birthed in 2017, failed to deliver successful products.
It isn’t clear whether or not blockchain funding will recover in 2020.