China goes bullish on blockchain

China is really bullish on blockchain, the technology that verifies bitcoin transactions.

An official at China's central bank official has urged commercial banks to "step up their application" of blockchain.

Li Wei is the head of the technology department at the People's Bank of China. According to Reuters, he made the remarks at a forum in Shanghai, and said China should "embrace digital finance."

Li's remarks exemplify China's recent bullishness regarding blockchain, and reiterate its wish to implement the tech across a range of industries.

And late last week, China's President Xi Jinping called for greater levels of research and investment into blockchain during a meeting with Communist Party officials.

China's official state-run news agency, Xinhua, quoted Xi as saying blockchain would serve "an important role in the next round of technological innovation and industrial transformation."

He added that China wanted to gain an "edge" over other major countries in terms of blockchain research and development.

"Major countries are stepping up their efforts to plan the development of blockchain technology. Greater effort should be made to strengthen basic research and boost innovation capacity to help China gain an edge in the theoretical, innovative and industrial aspects of this emerging field," said Xi.

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Both Li's and Xi's comments can be viewed as part of the wider, ongoing 'Tech Cold War' between China and the United States, in which the two countries are competing to develop and master a range of emerging technologies.

Hinting at this wider goal, Xi is also said to have "demanded deep integration" between blockchain and "other information technologies including artificial intelligence, big data and [the] Internet of Things" during last Thursday's meeting.

For his part, US President Donald Trump has made few explicit comments about blockchain to date, though in July, he notably tweeted his disapproval of "Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies," which are underpinned by blockchain technology.

And the Chinese premier's remarks come after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned that the US would cede its dominance over the global financial system to China if it doesn't embrace technologies such as cryptocurrencies.

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