Most of China's biggest banks are already using blockchains

Quick Take

  • All of China’s state-owned banks and some of China’s most prominent tech giants plan to deploy implementations of blockchain tech 
  • A white paper by one of the biggest banks in China shows that the blockchain is being used for trade settlement, supply chain management, financing, and other areas in the financial services sector
  • 72 financial services companies have registered with the government to provide blockchain-based services

More than 70 financial services firms in China, including every state-owned bank and the biggest tech companies, are deploying blockchain-based financial applications.

That's according to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), one of the nation's largest state-owned banks. 

In a new white paper,  the ICBC said Chinese banks are planning to use blockchains in areas like trade financing, supply chain management, settlement, digital invoices, and other applications.

Four of China's largest tech companies—Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and JD—are also working on their own blockchain-based financial service applications. As the paper notes, most of these blockchains will be permission-based. 

Source: ICBC blockchain financial application white paper


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The document also details some specific applications. For instance, ICBC itself has built a cross-border trade settlement platform between China and Europe that uses distributed ledger technology and smart contracts to authenticate and sync shipping information shared by companies, warehouses, customs, banks, and government agencies. 

According to the white paper, banks and enterprises in China are using blockchains to manage funds, control supply chains, issue securities, and track customer loyalty points.

Around 420 blockchain companies – 17% of which are in finance. One hundred twenty blockchain-based financial services projects – were registered with the Cyberspace Administration of China at the end of 2019, says the ICBC.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Celia joined The Block as a reporter after earning her BA in the History of Science from the University of Chicago. Having spent years pondering over why 2+2 cannot equal 5, she is interested in the history and philosophy of mathematics, computation, and cryptography. She also had a very brief stint at Crunchbase News.