China’s “Big Five” State-owned Banks Eye Blockchain for Financial Innovation
All of the five largest state-owned banks in China: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), Bank of China (BOC), China Construction Bank (CCB), Bank of Communications, have disclosed their 2017 performance reports by now. The annual reports showed that the five major banks have applied blockchain technology to many application scenarios including poverty alleviation, international trade, housing leasing platforms, e-commerce supply chains, and Xiong’an New Area projects.
According to the repots, ICBC’s Blockchain & Biometrics Laboratory launched the first autonomous controllable blockchain platform in the fourth quarter of 2017. Science then, this platform has provide help for the anti-poverty projects of Guizhou province and their Gongyinju supply chain financial platform.
China Construction Bank has also put a lot of efforts exploring the integration of blockchain technology and trade finance. CCB joined hands with Ant Financial to build a new house renting platform based on blockchain technology in Xiong’an New Area.
On 1 August 2017, Agricultural Bank of China completed the 1st blockchain-based loaning business with the technical support from Hangzhou based blockchain startup, Hyperchain. Two months later, ABC launched an “E-blockchain Loan” system. It also marks the first practical blockchain-based user case in domestic banking industry. The blockchain system works as a financing tool for agriculture, farmers and agricultural products. In addition, ABC is also promoting the development of a financial digital credit system based on blockchain technology.
According to the 2017 annual report of Bank of China, the bank eye blockchain for trade financing. It has promoted biometric authentication technology applications such as fingerprints, finger veins, and voiceprint authentication via this new tech.
The China Construction Bank is also exploring the blockchain digital billing system, according to Fan Haiying, vice president of CCB’s Internet Finance Business Center.
Blockchains has characters of decentralization and anonymity. It can cut the middlemen and irrevocable trading results. Thus, it is suitable for application in financial and e-commerce industries. As the central bank stated that it actively promoted the development of its own digital currency, more and more domestic financial institutions in China start to exploring this emerging technology.