Af­ter fi­nance, blockchain may be used in lo­gis­tics, food sec­tors

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - 13 Business - And

When his daugh­ter per­suaded him to buy a black light­weight suit on­line, Kan Jian­feng, 61, a cau­tious dad that he is, raised a host of sharp ques­tions: Is the seller hon­est? How can he make sure that the prod­uct he buys would ac­tu­ally be de­liv­ered (and not swapped with a coun­ter­feit, or, worse, not de­liv­ered at all)?

Kan’s nag­ging doubts arose be­cause un­cer­tainty some­times shrouds on­line shop­ping, with e-tail­ers rig­ging pos­i­tive ratings, ex­ag­ger­at­ing prod­ucts’ qual­ity and mess­ing up on de­liv­er­ies.

To over­come such has­sles, blockchain tech­nol­ogy will likely be used in­creas­ingly in China. For, data, once recorded in a blockchain-based dig­i­tal ledger or reg­is­ter, can­not be al­tered, ex­perts said.

It can be shared among a dis­trib­uted net­work of com­put­ers with no need for mid­dle­men (vi­su­al­ize trans­ac­tions be­tween two par­ties with­out banks in be­tween). De­cen­tral­iza­tion is its hall­mark.

Bettina War­burg, the founder and di­rec­tor of Blockchain Fu­tures Lab, said in a talk: “It’s ba­si­cally a pub­lic registry of who owns what and who trans­acts what.”

De­spite be­ing con­tro­ver­sial, if cryp­tocur­ren­cies such as bit­coin are re­ceiv­ing a ben­e­fit of doubt from cer­tain sec­tions of the fi­nan­cial mar­kets, it is be­cause they use blockchain tech­nol­ogy. Its mosttalked-about ap­pli­ca­tions are in fi­nance.

En­ter­pris­ing Chi­nese com­pa­nies are, how­ever, look­ing to use blockchain be­yond fi­nance in ar­eas such as food trace­abil­ity and char­i­ta­ble works. Layla Dong, CEO and founder of Block­shine, a Shang­hai-based blockchain con­sul­tancy, said, “In China, e-com­merce giant Alibaba’s lo­gis­tics branch got a head start. It ap­plied blockchain to track the ori­gin and desti­na­tion of ev­ery pack­age and all the in­for­ma­tion is trans­par­ent to the clients in­volved.”

Yuan Peizhang, prod­uct man­ager with Bei­jing Chilun Yichuang Tech­nol­ogy Co Ltd, said, “For tra­di­tional lo­gis­tics firms, miss­ing or in­con­sis­tent de­liv­ery in­for­ma­tion re­mains the most dif­fi­cult prob­lem to solve. Blockchain, if comes to its full fruition, will make harder for any­one who wants to fake in­for­ma­tion.”

Ac­cord­ing to Chi­nese re­search firm CCID Con­sult­ing Co, blockchain ser­vices in China are pro­jected to reach 81 mil­lion yuan ($12.63 mil­lion) in sales by this year-end, and 512 mil­lion yuan by 2020. The fig­ure in 2015, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, was “al­most zero”.

E-com­merce com­pany JD, in part­ner­ship with Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Ts­inghua Uni­ver­sity, launched a blockchain al­liance in China to test the tech­nol­ogy for food trace­abil­ity and trans­parency.

Chai Yuet­ing, pro­fes­sor of Ts­inghua Uni­ver­sity’s De­part­ment of Au­to­ma­tion, said, “Blockchain tech’s in­te­gra­tion into food safety is one of the most im­por­tant ways to im­prove life qual­ity of the Chi­nese, and even global peo­ples.”

“If some ap­pli­ca­tion sce­nar­ios al­ready have good de­cen­tral­ized so­lu­tions, and blockchain nei­ther low­ers the cost nor im­proves ef­fi­ciency, then there is no need to in­sist on us­ing it,” said Zhong Xin­long, a con­sul­tant at CCID Con­sult­ing.

To en­sure blockchain’s healthy de­vel­op­ment, China is ex­pe­dit­ing tech­ni­cal stan­dards and guid­ance. The coun­try’s first of­fi­cial guid­ance, a doc­u­ment ti­tled “The Blockchain Tech­nol­ogy and Ap­pli­ca­tion De­vel­op­ment


Ex­ec­u­tives of Asia Nex­gen, a Hong Kong-based bit­coin ex­change, set up a bit­coin “ATM” in Hong Kong, in 2014. Nex­gen had launched the kiosk to en­able cus­tomers to buy bit­coins and store them in their dig­i­tal wal­lets.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.