Ant Financial, China’s largest online payment platform operated by Alibaba, is launching a blockchain innovation competition as part of its efforts to speed up development and implementation of the edge-cutting blockchain technology.
The Ant Blockchain Innovation Competition, with the theme of “Blockchain Creates Future”, was launched Jan.4, 2019 at the Ant Technology Exploration Conference (ATEC) in Shanghai. Enterprises, ISV as well as individual developers who have the ability to create practical applications using the blockchain technology are encouraged to take part in it.
The company offers 1.8 million Chinese yuan ($270,000) in rewards at the contest, 1,000,000 yuan (roughly $150,000) to the first prize winner, 500,000 yuan ($75,000) to the first runner-up, and 300,000 yuan ($45,000) to the third place. At the same time, excellent enterprises emerging during the competition will have the opportunity to obtain the support of 1 billion ATEC fund provided by Ant Financial.
The contest will base on the company’s blockchain BaaS (Backend as a Service) platform which was launched last September with the aim of enabling small and medium scaled businesses to implement and innovate new blockchain solutions.
With a valuation of at least $150 billion, Ant Financial has taken over the fintech industry of China and is rapidly penetrating the consumer base of traditional financial and banking markets with its more efficient, secure and cheaper alternatives to bank services. The company has been experimenting with blockchain technology to potentially use it to underpin its financial services, touting blockchain application in 15 areas in its business including commodity traceability, cross-border remittance, etc.
The blockchain competition aligns with the company’s move to open up Ant’s in-house technologies to the wider commercial sector, as its vice president Jiang Guofei said,
“In the past two years, Ant Financial has been working on two aspects about blockchain. One is to improve the technology, and the other is to open it up and accelerate the commercialization of blockchain applications.”
The company has filed the most blockchain-related patent filings globally, and to strengthen foundational research into blockchain technology, Ant Financial established the fintech lab at Damo Academy, which incorporates and trains a large group of blockchain research talents to research the latest development trends in global blockchain technology, and provide a continuous driver for optimization of the Ant Financial blockchain platform.
As the company founder Jack Ma said when it comes to the reason of establishing Damo Academy,
“Because we believe, in the future, profits will be driven by technology, and the future market size will be decided by innovation.”
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