BAT’s Blockchain Battle is Underway
On the night of November 25, western media broke out the news that Xiaomi furtively engaged in Bitcoin mining business while Lei Jun himself has never expressed any interest in cryptocurrency in public. However, it’s disclosed that two companies under his flag are suspicious of doing business with Bitmain’s cofounder, cryptocurrency giant Wu Jihan.
Almost no one doubts the authenticity of the news at a time when bitcoin’s value is on the verge of breaking “million dollars”, instead, they are calculating how Lei might have profited in the business.
The author combed through what BAT has done in blockchain recently to give you a whole picture of the hunting ground.
Recently, Baidu’s biggest news is the launch of a new digital currency application called “P2P CDN.” The entire model is exactly the same as the “CDN Economy” set by Thunder: rewarding virtual tokens via users sharing bandwidth, while tokens can be exchanged for cash or gifts.
The project can be traced back to March 2015 with the name of “Baidu Gold Mine”. It already had a certain amount of players in its own circle before dipping into the current cryptocurrency wave. Though Baidu denied it has any relation to cryptocurrency, many people think that the name change of “Baidu Gold Mine” is suspected of taking advantage of the popularity of Thunder’s WKC.
There is currently no evidence that the underlying frame of “P2P CDN” uses blockchain technology. But the one to be sure is that Baidu has decided to participate in Hyperledger, which was already announced in October this year.
Besides, blockchain application in finance is another direction of Baidu in this field.
In May this year, Baidu Finance took hands of Billions Leasing, Huaneng Trust and other companies to develop a blockchain technology-based asset management platform, resulting in the issuance of the first blockchain-based ABS (asset-backed securities) project in China which was already approved on August 17 by the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
The rationale behind is: blockchain as a professional technology to deal with credit issue is regarded as the best approach to be adopted in ABS projects whose financing is based on credit.
Besides ABS, Circle, a payment app, is another blockchain application in the remit of Baidu’s investment.
Compared to Tencent and Ali, Baidu’s financial business has always been a short board. Whether it can regain the competitive edge through the blockchain-based financial technologies still waits to be seen. Anyway, it’s Baidu’s biggest wager besides AI.
In contrast, Tencent found its own way in the field of financial technology relying on WeChat Pay unexpectedly, and it may be more inclined to return to technology.
Recently, Tencent blockchain TrustSQL formally launched BaaS (Blockchain as a Service) platform and opened for test.
There are optimistic views that this is the first time that an Internet giant has launched a blockchain platform, to some extent a milestone in the development of the blockchain. It will help lowering to a great extent the technology threshold for blockchain startups. This is indeed very ” Tencent”, starting from pre-research to accomplishment issuance to business application.
However, it doesn’t mean that Tencent is abandoning the Finance + Blockchain” mode. Earlier, Webank initiated the founding of the first blockchain industry association in mainland China: Financial Blockchain Shenzhen Consortium, focusing on the research and application of blockchain technology.
In August this year, AliHealth announced the pilot project of “Medical Unit + Block Chain” in cooperation with Changzhou, Jiangsu Province in an effort to solve the problems of information isolation and data security that has been long plaguing medical institutions.
Last July, Ant Financial started blockchain technology use in Alipay’s donation platform to solve the intractable problem of the transparency of charity funds.
In March, Ali announced its partnership with PwC to develop a cross-border and blockchain-based food supply chain to reduce fraud in food products.
As far as Ali’s direct involvement is concerned, it is still widespread and fragmented. It can be seen that it is infiltrating this completely new field with a probing attitude like a pony crossing water for the first time, which is inseparable from the structure of its entire user layer.
However, Ma is playing big on capital level. He is the first largest shareholder of the blockchain concept stock of Hundsun Technologies Inc.
It is reported that the business of Hundson is mainly for providing to financial institutions with IT software products and services, it is a financial IT company in China which has a “full license”.
Semi-annual report of Hundson 2017 shows that blockchain technology has entered the test phase. The company’s FTCU consortium blockchain has been introduced to support the business scenarios of contract chain and private equity chain. At present, the technology research and development of the basic service of the FTCU consortium chain has been completed and development and client end testing is under way.
Obviously, compared to Baidu’s desperation and Tencent’s technology exploration, Ali’s speeding its own layout in secret, which adds to the vagueness of the hunting’s result. Anyway, I like it as long as it’s speeding up the blockchain’s application.