While Canada has delayed its crypto regulation update until 2020, Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia) and General Michael Hayden are joining other prominent leaders in the crypto space at Korea’s Block Seoul event. Could it be the East is winning the blockchain race, attracting the brilliant minds of the West while the Western countries become client states?

Blockchain in South Korea

South Korea is an extremely tech-savvy country that has heavily invested in its internet infrastructure. Samsung and LG have already established themselves as global brands in technology and consumer electronics. Seoul is ranked as the world’s “leading digital city” and a tech capital of the world. South Korea’s top two crypto exchanges (Upbit and Bithumb) are among the top 25 exchanges.

While Korea had its own ICO crackdown, its citizens were already deeply invested in blockchain, contributing to 14 percent of the global crypto market. South Korea lifted the ban later. Korea has taken it even further by potentially integrating blockchain in its voting system.

There is also another boosting factor in Korea: games. The gaming industry is one of the most blockchain-friendly industries. According to Jared Psigoda, CEO of BitGuild, “gamers in particular understand cryptocurrency because virtual money has been a part of gaming for the last 10 years. For example, dating back to World of Warcraft, there was a $100 million market for buying digital gold.”

China’s stance

China is another major player in the crypto-sphere, hosting a substantial share of Bitcoin miners. In 2017, estimates suggested that 50 to 70 percent of all Bitcoin mining took place in that country. Despite strict regulation of cryptocurrencies, China has been significantly more bullish on blockchain. China’s president declared blockchain as “a part of technological revolution” and it is one of the first countries to mention the technology in a state-level policy.

“China is more centralized and top down than the US, but they see the value of the technology,” says Joyce Yang, CEO of Global Coin Research. “In China there are a lot of crypto companies and projects being built, although they are not allowed to market to the citizens, the products are being offered everywhere outside of mainland.” China has more blockchain companies than any other country on Earth.

As Kevin Hobbs, the CEO of The Vanbex Group explains: “Since September 2017 China has banned ICOs, prohibited crypto exchanges and blocked foreign exchanges.” Vanbex is a Canadian company with a great community in China. “That being said I was recently in China at multiple conferences and visiting with multiple blockchain companies and heard nothing but good things about the support the government is giving them. Their work ethic was incredible to see and their belief that blockchain is the future was very evident. I think those countries have a work ethic that gives them a competitive advantage and the ability to move faster to be ahead of the rest.”

Ironically, while some see China as a country of low-quality products, the flaw has actually lead to the birth and acceptance of at least two revolutionary technologies: chatbots and blockchain.

Chatbots were first introduced in WeChat, years ahead of Telegram and Facebook: the reason being numerous product safety scandals. Likewise, numerous counterfeit products have boosted blockchain’s acceptance in supply chains, where it is used to track the products and ensure they are genuine.

Impact of regulations

As regulations and bans kick in, blockchain companies look for safer alternatives. This has turned some territories like Gibraltar and Malta into bases for many ventures and ICOs. Switzerland managed to attract South Korean blockchain platforms ICON and HDAC, while Singapore and Hong Kong took advantage of the bans to become the region’s havens for ICOs and blockchain startups.

Hong Kong is taking blockchain development very seriously, and has announced that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority will be working with some of the biggest banks in the world to spearhead a new blockchain platform that will streamline trade finance.

State of blockchain in the US

While the United States dominated the early days of the internet, blockchains are truly cross-border, with millions around the world participating. While the US slowly tiptoes on the technology, rival governments are investing heavily in blockchain research and development. Ultimately, they may monopolize the industry and set their own standards, leaving the US to play catch up.

But, many still look at blockchain with skepticism. As an executive at a Wall Street firm who had been trying to position itself as a leader in the technology puts it, “[blockchain] became a solution in search of a problem.” Vermont was considering blockchain-based public recordkeeping, but a report found that a switch would have high costs and “very limited possible benefits.”

It seems that the US has already fallen behind the blockchain development curve. “The US generally moves slower, as there are not many bodies in the government who understand crypto, and the policymakers want to be more careful in approaching something they don’t understand,” explains Joyce Yang. “And frankly, I think out of all currencies out there, crypto and non-crypto, Bitcoin is the biggest threat to the global power and influence of the US dollar.”

*This post is credited to Entrepreneur.

New research has revealed that Chinese investors are diversifying portfolios with the addition of digital assets. The findings come as Beijing continues to relentlessly clamp down on anything to do with the emerging industry.

According to the 2018 addition of the annual “White Paper on the New Middle Class” report, crypto-currency has been added as a new asset class occupying around 10% of people’s portfolios. The report said this is the first time it has included digital currencies as part of its metrics. Financial writer and university professor Wu Xiaobo, from Zhejiang University, publishes the paper in order to shine more light on the spending and investing habits of China’s burgeoning middle class.

The research suggests that this socio-demographic group is mostly risk-averse. Just over 9% of those surveyed stated that they accepted the risk of a loss over 15%. The report also surmises that with this in mind it is unlikely that the number investing in crypto-currencies will rise higher than 10% considering their wild volatility.

Since the beginning of 2018 Bitcoin and crypto-currency markets have crashed over 70% to their current levels. However, anybody that has done any research would know that this has happened several times before and things have always bounced back. There is also the fact that digital assets could become a form of wealth protection as in the case in Turkey and Venezuela where political upheaval and rampant inflation devalued national fiat currencies forcing citizens to turn to crypto.

The Chinese government has been battling to reduce the level of crypto-currency ownership within its borders. The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has issued warning after warning on crypto and initial coin offerings (ICOs), which is not unusual considering the no central bank would be in favor of a decentralized currency which puts control back into the hands of the people.

Chinese citizens, who are well-used to their firmly interventionist central government, have quickly moved to direct peer-to-peer crypto trading channels as the exchanges have moved their operations overseas to avoid the crackdowns. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which can cost as little as $30 per year, are also being used in China to access exchanges hosted in other countries but blocked at home.

Beijing is now also censoring social media and chat apps such as WeChat to prevent the population reading about crypto-currencies. Chinese citizens, however, seem to continually find new ways to continue with their crypto habits.

*This post is credited to Asia Times

COST OF LIVING
Your idea of a reasonable cost of living likely depends on where you live. The price of food, accommodation, and basic necessities varies widely across the planet. Wages tend to reflect the living costs locally.

A total amount of 0.21 Bitcoin (BTC) $6351.01 -0.25% is equivalent to just under USD $65 per day, equating to around USD $2000 per month. There are inhabitants of major western cities who live on less than this. In China, where a cheap meal can cost as little as $1, many could consider it a fortune.

21 DAY CHALLENGE

The real challenge faced by He You Bing — a pseudonym alluding to her love of Bitcoin — was to pay for everything with Bitcoin using her mobile phone. Especially as the Chinese authorities continue to wield their ban-hammer without abandon The most recent actions are those against offshore exchanges and crypto-news-outlets.

The first few days of the challenge in Beijing saw little success for Bing. The only thing Bing managed to spend money on was a rental bike, allowing her to visit more vendors. They all refused to accept Bitcoin, meaning Bing lived on ketchup sachets, leftovers, and wild fruit from trees. She slept in 24-hour McDonald’s restaurants.

COMMUNITY CHEST

Just as Bing had given up all hope, her story started to get some attention. People found her on WeChat, offering to convert Bitcoin to fiat. By day six when the challenge moved to Shenzhen, her WeChat supporters numbered three thousand.

They would sell her toiletries, buy her clothes, and even book her hotels for Bitcoin. Over time, her supporters began to search out Bitcoin-friendly vendors on her behalf and relay the information to her.

THE END IS IN SIGHT

Bing is now nearing the end of the challenge in the southern city of Guangzhou. Although the majority of those that Bing meets are still unaware of Bitcoin or skeptical of her challenge, she has developed a strategy for finding people who will exchange her Bitcoin.

In a country where the authorities are currently taking such a hard-line stance against cryptocurrency, it is nice to see that Bitcoin is still going strong amongst digital communities. Perhaps even more impressive is the willingness of these communities to support their fellow members.

*This post is credited to Bitcoinist

For a couple of years now it has appeared as if the Chinese government is seeking to “have its cake and eat it too” when it comes to crypto assets and blockchain technology. The simple phrase “blockchain not Bitcoin” has become the country’s defining strategy when it comes to the space, and the difference in approaches that the government has taken regarding closed v. open ledgers and assets is a study in contrast.

Consider the following – all of which happened in the last month:

  • The Chinese Communist Party website released a primer on blockchain technology that included discussion points on its key features, use cases, and challenges
  • China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), is supporting the development of a blockchain-based trade finance platform that will streamline interbank payments and help SMBs get access to a wider range of financing tools
  • China’s Supreme People’s Court released new rules stating that blockchain technology is an approved method for storing and authenticating digital evidence
  • The Bank of China, not to be confused with the PBoC, revealed plans to aggressively invest in the development of fintech and blockchain technology

At the same time, the CPC has been overtly hostile to any and all activities related to crypto assets. Last September the government banned all ICOs in the country, regardless of whether or not they are securities, and in the same month local Chinese exchanges were ordered to cease operations. The end result, in the last 12 months 90 different cryptocurrency exchanges and about 85 ICOs have closed in China. Now the government extended this ban to over 100 international exchanges that served the Chinese market, ending one of the last options that crypto traders had without using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Furthermore, the government is blocking crypto-related accounts on the country’s predominant social media platforms such as WeChat.

This leads to two critical questions:

  1. Why is the government taking such a Jekyll and Hyde approach?
  2. Is this strategy sustainable?

A small anecdote and an example can help shed some light on the Chinese mentality.

10 years ago, a senior official within the George W. Bush administration gave a speech in New York City on America’s foreign policy. The discussion eventually turned to the U.S.-Chinese relationship, and the official shared a conversation that he had with a counterpart in Beijing. The American began discussing what kept him up at night, mentioning the invasion of Afghanistan, the Global War on Terror, and future attack in the U.S. as key concerns. He then candidly asked the Chinese representative the same question, expecting an answer along the lines of controlling Tibetan unrest or maintaining peace across the Taiwan Strait. Instead, he got a one-word answer, the number 8. Upon being asked for clarification, the gentleman said he was referring to a need to maintain at least 8% GDP growth on an annual basis to keep unemployment low and the country stable. He made it clear that nothing less than the stability and legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) was at stake. 

The takeaway from this conversation: the Chinese government focuses on domestic stability above all else, and economic growth is the key enabler. Therefore, officials in Beijing will not let crypto, or any other technology, threaten its authority or legitimacy to rule.

As a sign of the government’s commitment, it is important to note that this is not the first time that China has retrofitted a breakthrough technology for its own market. While most enthusiasts praise the business models and success of leading Chinese technology firms such as Alibaba and Tencent, they exist in their current state today largely because of the protection provided by China’s “Great Internet Firewall” as well as protectionist regulatory measures that delayed or outright prevented American companies like Facebook from accessing the market. Additionally, these firms all enjoy close ties to officials in Beijing and collaborate with Internet monitors to ban speech and content that is contrary to domestic stability, showing that censorship and success are not mutually exclusive.

That said, the stakes are higher this time around and taking this same approach to blockchain technology is nothing less than a double-down of its strategy vis-à-vis Google and Facebook. Firstly, blockchain technology is naturally distributed, which is a significant complicating factor, but not insurmountable. However, never before has the government had to deal with cryptoassets and cryptocurrencies that cannot be banned or sanctioned without blocking the Internet as a whole. Monetary policy plays a key role in China’s economic strategy, and if Bitcoin or another crypto asset or crypto currency was to gain widespread acceptance, it would limit Beijing’s ability to steward the country forward in continued prosperity in more ways than one.

For instance, if Bitcoin or a stablecoin became a medium for exchange, especially for international trade, it would limit the efficacy of China’s exchange rate policies that have historically supporting its export industry. Additionally, crypto assets are extremely volatile, and investors in the space often hear the common disclaimer that they need to be prepared to lose all of their holdings. China has almost 1.4 billion citizens, and if even a small percentage of those individuals lost 90% of their holdings, as many investors in the U.S. did last year, it would cause a significant strain on their social service programs.

Therefore, while it is easy to advocate for open policies, there also need to be emergency breaks in the system.

Looking ahead, it is clear that China will continue to rely on strategies that have worked for it in the past. However, it remains to be seen if government officials in Beijing will see the same results. Even with these restrictions in place the country will continue to be one of the most critical hotbeds of innovation in the space. Over time as the industry develops, the government may be more amenable to crypto assets as well.

*This post is credited to Forbes

The news reports that Alipay will start to put restrictions on, or even outright ban, accounts that propagate OTC cryptocurrency trading.

China: Report has it that an Alibaba’s payment affiliate, Ant Financial, is teaming up with China regulators to set up scrutiny for P2P crypto trading on its Alipay mobile app.

In addition to the active monitoring and other potential measures, Alipay will also conduct risk prevention education to users on the platform.

It is clear that Ant Financial is trying its best to stay on the good side of regulators in China, where scrutiny on cryptocurrency in the tightly-regulated market is at an all-time high.

Another major component of the Ant Financial decision comes from the recent legal history regarding cryptocurrencies in china.

In related news, regulatory watchdogs in the country, including the Banking Regulatory Commission, the Central Network Information Office, the People’s Bank of China, and the General Administration of Market Supervision have issued fresh warnings to residents, advising them to be wary of fraudsters who swindle gullible the Chinese people with their fake blockchain and crypto-based Ponzi schemes. “If we find any transactions that we suspect are related to virtual currencies, we take appropriate measures including, but not limited to suspension of related fund transfers and permanently restricting payment collection functions of accounts involved”, said a spokesperson from Ant Financial.

Alipay has identified and closed some 3,000 accounts engaged in virtual currency trading so far. A tweet acknowledged by the Korean Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News that mentioned, additionally says Fiat payment channels will be exceedingly monitored apart from Communication channels and Exchange blocks.

Its a notable move, Chinese citizen have rapidly adopted the technology.

It was previously reported that WeChat Pay, another popular Chinese payments app owned by Tencent, has been scrutinizing and blocking accounts that are found to be related to crypto transactions. In a ruling by the People’s Bank of China late past year, the institution chose to ban all cryptocurrency trading, as well as all Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

*This post is credited to iphonefresh.com

A coalition of Chinese regulatory bodies has issued a joint statement warning against illegal cryptocurrency trading and fundraising activities by “lawless elements” under the guise of “financial innovation” and “blockchain”.

Details of the Joint-Statement

The statement issued on Friday came from the Banking Regulatory Commission, the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, the Ministry of Public Security, the People’s Bank of China, the Securities Regulatory Commission, and the State Administration for Market Regulation.

The regulatory bodies warned against cryptocurrency projects using overseas IP addresses to solicit funds from Chinese residents. These projects also utilize social media, chat apps and celebrities to “endorse” them, spreading speculation to manipulate cryptocurrency prices.

The statement issued reads in part (roughly translated),

“Some individuals claim to have obtained investment quotas for overseas premium blockchain projects in the chat tool group, which can be used for investment, and is most likely a fraudulent activity.”

These projects claim to be based on blockchain technology but are in fact “the practice of speculative blockchain concepts for illegal fundraising, pyramid schemes, and fraud,” the statement added.

The statement also warned against other methods of fundraising such as Initial Exchange Offerings, Initial Fork Offerings and Initial Mine Offerings which are being used to lure residents to invest in digital tokens.

China’s War on Cryptocurrency Continues

This public warning is the latest in the Chinese government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency trading in the country. Starting with the ban on Initial Coin Offerings and exchanges in September of last year, the government has increased efforts this year with the prohibition placed on public cryptocurrency-related promotional activities in the Chaoyang District of Beijing.

Social Media and financial services providers are also cooperating with the government. As reported earlier, WeChat shut down the accounts of some crypto news media outlets on its platform.

Also, the government is moving to block the IP addresses of over 100 exchange platforms. According to Shanghai Securities News, the China National Fintech Risk Rectification Office has identified the foreign IP addresses being used by 124 trading platforms that are still available to domestic investors. In the same publication, it was reported that the regulator would move to shut down domestic cryptocurrency trading websites and any social media accounts that provide support for ICO projects.

*This post is credited Unhashed.

The shutdowns are the latest instance of China’s continuing crackdown on cryptocurrencies, which began last September with bans on local cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs, an unregulated crowd fundraising method involved with cryptocurrencies and often associated with scams.

China has shut down numerous blockchain-related news accounts on WeChat, the country’s top social app, in a renewed crackdown on activities related to cryptocurrencies.

At least eight blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused online media outlets – some of which raised several million dollars in venture capital – found their official public accounts on WeChat blocked on Tuesday evening, due to violations against new regulations from China’s top internet watchdog.

Tencent, operator of WeChat, said in a statement that it has shut down these accounts permanently as they are “suspected of publishing information related to ICOs [initial coin offerings] and speculations on cryptocurrency trading.” It cited regulations enacted earlier this month by the Cyberspace Administration of China, which, among other things, demand content providers within chat apps comply with “national interests” and “public orders.”

The shutdowns are the latest instance of China’s continuing crackdown on cryptocurrencies, which began last September with bans on local cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs, an unregulated crowd fundraising method involved with cryptocurrencies and often associated with scams. Despite government initiatives on adopting blockchain, the central government has made it clear that it does not want retail investors to get involved in cryptocurrencies because of concerns over financial stability.

Blockchain media outlets came to prominence despite the cryptocurrency bans as they fill a niche in providing investors with timely information on cryptocurrency prices, and reviews on blockchain-related projects. Just like other Chinese news services, these platforms rely heavily on WeChat to reach audiences aside from their apps and websites. The blocked accounts on WeChat come from some of the most popular blockchain news platforms including Jinse Caijing and Huobi News, whose apps and sites are still in operation.

In its statement, Beijing-based Huobi, which also operates one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, acknowledged the shutdown of its news account as WeChat’s “broad action targeting industrial media.” Jinse Caijing did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Blockchain news platforms have attracted venture capital funding in China. Jingse Caijing, which started in 2016 and now boasts 350,000 unique daily visitors, raised more than 8 million yuan (US$1.2 million) from Beijing-based Node Capital in a pre-series A round last August. Also blocked on WeChat is Shenlian Caijing, which was founded earlier this year by several veteran Chinese journalists, and raised 10 million yuan from angel investors including Plum Ventures and Dfund.

A major revenue source for these news services is paid content from blockchain-related projects. Jingse Caijing publishes more than 200 articles per day. A featured article on the site, for example, is said to cost 12 ethereum, which is currently valued at about US$3,500.

In March, a commentary published by the website of the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, accused blockchain news outlets of creating articles to manipulate cryptocurrency prices and promote ICO projects. “These ‘media’ outlets have made huge fortune in the speculative waves of cryptocurrencies, but due to their nature, it’s doubtful how long their barbaric growth can keep on going,” according to the commentary.

*This post is credited to South China Morning Post

As money and talent flows into the crypto and blockchain worlds, a persistent question keeps coming up: what is going to be the “killer app” that drives adoption for these nascent technologies? The answer may well be quite simple: gaming in Asia.

That’s the theory for Cryptokitties, the notable purveyor of cute cats. The company has started expanding into China, Japan, and Korea as it attempts to capture a large market of gamer and crypto enthusiasts there, and it is building on the playbook pioneered by Uber when it launched in China in 2014.

Back in March, Andreessen and Union Square Ventures led a $12 million Series A round into Cryptokitties. A portion of that money went into Cryptokitties’ ambitions to expand into Asia. In fact, Cryptokitties’ largest user markets have been, and still are, the U.S. and China, followed by Russia.

For those unfamiliar with Cryptokitties, it’s often been alluded to as a digital version of Beanie Babies. Cryptokitties are virtual collectibles in the form of cute cats that can be bought, sold, collected and traded with cryptocurrency, with all the transactions listed on the blockchain. Owners who purchase these kitties can then breed them with other kitties to produce new baby kitties.

The company is part of Axiom Zen, the Vancouver and San Francisco-based design studio that originally built the game. Since its launch in 2017, Cryptokitties has also built a third-party app platform for crypto developers called the Kittyverse, open-sourced their digital asset licensing platform, and started a crypto gaming investment fund. The company currently has about 70 employees and is headquartered in Vancouver.

One of the main purposes why Cryptokitties raised venture capital was for geographical expansion. Having ample capital to not worry about cash flow as the company steps on the gas is certainly quite helpful. But as a business, Cryptokitties was already doing fine. Back in June when I was having a discussion with the company, Cryptokitties was already profitable starting in week three.

The company has successfully differentiated itself from many other crypto decentralized apps (dApps for short) companies out there by proving that they could make money first and have a sustainable user base. Jimmy Song from Blockchain Capital  once said, you can make money three ways in crypto, and those are “selling mining machines, starting up Crypto exchanges, and organizing Crypto conferences.” Nonetheless, Cryptokitties was an outlier. With its newly raised money, the team was looking to deploy the capital for hiring, building out it’s Kittyverse, and expanding in Asia.

Asia and China has a Large and Untapped Crypto Gaming Market

Benny Giang, one of the co-founders of Cryptokitties, has been tasked with Cryptokitties Asia expansion since late 2017. Since then, the team has launched Cryptokitties in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. During the launch, in order to avoid another one of Ethereum’s network clogs like what happened in late 2017, the iOS app launch was initially limited to 5,000 new players, based on selected WeChat accounts.

Benny believes blockchain games in Asia are a huge untapped market but with increasing competition. Whereas the intersection of gaming and blockchain users is still pretty limited in the Americas, in Asia, that audience is significantly larger. This is primarily due to three reasons: 1) the awareness of cryptocurrency and blockchain is more prevalent in Asia, 2) the regulatory markets are more developed and sophisticated (for better or worse) in China, Korea, and Japan, and 3) there is a proportionally higher number of gamers in Asia than the U.S.

China is the biggest market in this intersection, but there have been challenges. As Cryptokitties launched and grew in the last year, the company saw competition and copycats (pun intended) from China moving quickly into the market. In the beginning of 2018, just as Cryptokitties was launching in China, Xiaomi, the mobile phone maker that recently IPO-ed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, launched their own crypto collectible called Cryptobunny. Baidu, the large search engine of China, also recently launched Cryptopuppy.

Go to Market Learnings from Uber in China – Identifying the Right Local Partners and Hires

As Benny and team began doing research on the Asia market, they realized that working in a market that’s twelve hours away is not easy. Taking some of its lessons from Uber’s experience in China, they decided that they needed to localize their go-to-market approach.

One of the reasons Uber  ended up exiting the Chinese market was that it did not successfully build a product catered to Chinese citizens. Despite the large sum of money it was pouring into the Chinese market, Uber was still losing market share to Didi. Another suggested reason for the failure was that Uber should have gone to market with a local partner like Didi instead of going head to head with them. The Cryptokitties team knew that they wanted to expand correctly, and subsequently identified a local partner in China to target the market there.

In January 2018, Axiom Zen  partnered with Animoca Brands to publish the Cryptokitties game on mobile in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Animoca is a Hong Kong-based, privately-held developer and publisher of games, with a number of games using popular IP such as Garfield, Ultraman, and Doraemon. By working with Animoca, Cryptokitties was able to build out a localized website for its Chinese-speaking audience, provide native-speaker support services, and host numerous giveaway events.

In my discussion with him, Benny provided some insightful advice on go to market strategy in Asia. First, he mentioned that for a blockchain gaming company like themselves, it is best to find two local partners – one in blockchain and one in gaming – to help navigate the landscape. This kind of well-thought-out, go-to-market strategy requires hard work and local community understanding that very few cryptocurrency teams have achieved.

Currently, most Western crypto companies do not apply a traditional tech-oriented go-to-market strategy when trying to expand into other regions. Instead, most of them choose to leverage their “global communities.” They would incentivize these regional token holders to do local marketing and encourage them to find more token supporters and buyers in their region. Nonetheless, that type of marketing approach effectively identifies people who want to make a quick buck, rather than users who can sustain a platform.

Secondly, tasteful and culturally-appealing design is also very important when it comes to dApps. Cryptokitties originally differentiated themselves from other dApps by creating beautiful cats on the blockchain that immediately caught people’s attention. They have also decided to apply a similar local strategy in China.

Momo Wang is the creator of the highly popular Tuzki character, a black and white line drawing of a bunny that’s used widely across various instant messaging platforms, particularly WeChat .

Cryptokitties hired Momo as a brand ambassador and contributor to the Artist Series to design kitties for them. By doing so, they are able to appeal to an audience who may have a different local taste.

Benny adds that it is essential for dApp companies to create beautiful websites and great user experiences that appeal to local communities. However, there are also cons when building beautiful websites for a blockchain company that is decentralized by nature. Smooth user interfaces in the form of a traditional website or an app fall under the jurisdiction of a traditional tech business. Internet companies in China, for example, require approval and licensing from the government to be able to operate and serve its citizens.

China has become the wild west of crypto and blockchain, and there will continue to be unforeseen obstacles. It certainly isn’t easy for Cryptokitties to be the first western dApp company to venture into China, but in the next five years, we’ll see a significant number of Western companies heading east – and these early learnings will be invaluable.

*This post is credited to TechCrunch.

WeChat, a messaging, social media and financial services app owned by Tencent Holdings Limited, has deployed a blockchain electronic invoice system at Shenzhen Guomao Rotary Restaurant, making the city of Shenzhen the first in China to issue invoices with blockchain technology.

The blockchain invoice process, which encompasses payment, invoicing and reimbursement, was created in partnership with Shenzhen Taxation Bureau and Kingdee Software.

This system was developed to simplify the process of reimbursing company employee expenses. Previous paper and electronic invoicing processes led to a cumbersome and elongated process of invoice verification, submission, review, and tax returns filing before eventually settling with employees.

How It Works

With this blockchain invoice system, the process is substantially shortened, removing all intermediary actions between invoicing and reimbursement. Any payment made through the WeChat self-checkout is thus effectively a one-click reimbursement process.

For example, an employee of a company after having a company dinner can make payment via the WeChat mobile payment platform. The data from that transaction is the “invoice” and the information from this invoice is synchronized to the financial system of employee’s company and the tax bureau in real time.

This way, information is not tampered with or lost, thereby simplifying the process for all parties involved in the transaction namely the merchant, the employer, tax authorities, and the employee.

Merchants get to save on time and personnel since the invoices are issued automatically at checkout, rather than manual invoice issue and entry of relevant details of the employee’s company for tax purposes. The employee’s company on its part can easily verify invoice by simply logging into its financial system.

The tax regulator can then monitor the entire process of invoicing, circulation and reimbursement in real time, ensuring full and timely tax collection, while the employee can claim reimbursements online.

Tencent-Shenzen Partnership Begins to Pay Dividends

The blockchain powered invoicing solution is a product of the partnership announced in May 2018 between Tencent and The Shenzhen Municipal Office of the State Administration of Taxation.

Speaking about the development, Li Wei, deputy director of Shenzhen tax bureau, said:

“The digital invoice based on blockchain technology has features such as complete traceability of the whole process and non-disruptive information, which consistent with invoice logic, can effectively avoid false invoices, and improve the invoice supervision process.”

At present, Shenzhen Guomao Rotating Restaurant, Baoan District Sports Center Parking Lot, Kaixin Auto Trading Co., Ltd., and Image Tencent Impression Coffee Shop are the first merchants to access and utilize the blockchain electronic invoicing system.

In April, CCN reported that Tencent was developing its own blockchain platform called MySQL, a solution designed  to provide an enterprise class blockchain infrastructure to support reliable blockchain cloud services.

*This post is credited to CCN.