Inside the JBI: China’s New Blockchain Research Effort

The government of the Chinese province of Jiangsu is backing a new research effort, JBI,  aimed at offering unbiased information to businesses coming up to speed on blockchain.

Launched in September 2016, the Jiangsu Huaxin Blockchain Research Institute (JBI) is now going public via CoinDesk as the first state-owned enterprise to focus solely on blockchain tech. Already, the group, backed by parent firm Beijing Huaxin Electronics Enterprise Group, claims to have roughly 100 employees at its office in Nanjing working to develop its product.

According to executive director of operations Michael Yeung, the group in many ways can be read as a reaction to the growing hype in the blockchain industry, as well as the increasing desire global governments have shown for becoming active on R&D.

At CoinDesk’s offices in New York, Yeung and five of his colleagues discussed how international businesses in the sector are aggressively targeting the Chinese market, and how this has created a new appetite for informational services domestically.

Yeung stressed that unlike established consortium groups, JBI intends not to be “beholden” to corporates, and that its government affiliation makes it able to focus on overall ecosystem health.

He told CoinDesk:

“The hype for blockchain in China is massive. There’s different ICOs [initial coin offerings] with pretty girls running around and DJs. But we’re also serious about blockchain and the future. They’re willing to try blockchain.”

With this backdrop, the JBI will seek to offer services working on academic research, education, political engagement and product development centered on blockchain tech.

Senior members of the group include research directors Kraken Yu, formerly of consultancy Chainsmiths; Paul Jones, a former consultant at consultancy CryptoIQ; and Phillip Fox, a former treasury accountant at New Zealand’s ASB Bank.

The group’s launch further comes amid an active time for blockchain in China. In addition to new policies levied on bitcoin exchanges, the country has seen the launch of new blockchain efforts by its domestic insuranceand lending industry, as well as major technology firms like e-commerce giant Alibaba.


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