Seize the day? More like seize the chain, according to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In remarks made during a “collective study” on blockchain to the political bureau of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee on October 24th, the leader of Asia’s biggest superpower called on his colleagues to focus on speeding up innovation around blockchain, which he hailed as a “core technology” for China going forward.
Notably, the call to action appears to be Jinping’s first public comments on blockchain. Similarly, the committee’s workshop seems to mark its first dedicated meeting on the insurgent technology.
Specifically, the Chinese president called for increased investments toward blockchain applications that could be used to optimize a range of domestic industries, ranging from digital finance to supply chain management.
According to a summary of Jinping’s remarks provided by the Xinhua News Agency, the president said “China has a good foundation in the field of blockchain” and that it was time for the country’s leadership to “actively promote the development of blockchain and economic and social integration.”
Per that transcript, Jinping added:
“It is necessary to promote the deep integration of the blockchain and the real economy, and solve the problems of difficulty in financing loans for SMEs, difficulties in controlling the risks of banks, and difficulties in departmental supervision … [We should] actively promote the application of blockchain technology in the fields of education, employment, pension, precision poverty alleviation, medical health, commodity anti-counterfeiting, food safety, public welfare, social assistance, etc.”
An Explosion of Interest?
If President Jinping gave a public speech that blasted blockchain as a threat to China’s sovereignty, an acute chilling effect would have like spread across the global blockchain industry.
Instead, the Chinese president has formally declared his country will be embracing the technology as one of the future cornerstones of its sovereignty, and buzz and debate have surged in and around the cryptoeconomy accordingly.
Su Zhu, chief executive officer of Three Arrows Capital and co-publisher at the Uncommon Core essay outlet, said the development will have both short-term and long-lasting ramifications due to how far Jinping’s comments will reach.
In addition, Jinping’s blockchain remarks seemed to catalyze a temporary boon of buy pressure in the cryptocurrency ecosystem on October 25th as traders appeared to take the news with more than a pinch of optimism.
Of course, cryptocurrencies are but one innovation in the blockchain sector, and cryptocurrency prices are only a piece of the bigger picture.
Even still, the majority of top coin and token projects saw their valuations spike on Friday as the Chinese president’s brow-raising comments made the rounds. At the time of this article’s writing, bitcoin (BTC) was up 15 percent to $8,650 USD intraday; ether (ETH) was up 12 percent to $182 and Binance Coin (BNB) up 10 percent to $18.80 in the same span.
The Libra-Yuan Debate Hangs Heavy in U.S.
In recent months, China has been ramping up its efforts to build out a digital yuan that in some respects will be similar to Facebook’s proposed Libra stablecoin.
The social media giant has been using that reality to attempt to gain some leverage with U.S. lawmakers, many of whom are skeptical of the Libra’s potential overreaches but are similarly worried about lagging behind China in technological innovation.
In testimony to U.S. legislators this week Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg echoed previous testimony from Libra project lead David Marcus in saying the stablecoin project represented an opportunity to keep pace with global competitors, namely China.
“Libra is going to be backed mostly by dollars and I believe that it will extend America’s financial leadership around the world as well as our democratic values and oversight,” Zuckerberg said.