The R3 blockchain consortium continues to attract attention in the financial world, as they have welcomed their first Chinese member in the form of Ping An Group. This partnership has nothing to do with the consortium seeking US$200m in additional funding, though.
In a rather surprising turn of events, the R3 blockchain consortium added its first Chinese member in the form of Ping An Group [2318:HK]. Up until this point, Chinese firms have tried to distance themselves from Bitcoin and blockchain as much as they could, as the government is not too keen on cryptocurrency. However, they seem to be warming up to the concept of blockchain technology as of late.
R3 Blockchain Consortium Keeps Growing
However, now that Ping An Group has joined the ranks of the R3 blockchain consortium, it appears Chinese enterprises has taken notice of the potential this technology holds in financial markets. This announcement brings the total number of R3 blockchain consortium players to 43, all of whom are active in the world of finance or fintech.
Chinese companies in the financial world had been noticeably absent in the blockchain race, up until now. Keeping in mind how some of the biggest financial institutions in the world are based in China, that came as quite a surprise. Ping An Group is the first commercial player to take the plunge, and the addition of this inter-dealer broker can be seen as a milestone for the blockchain consortium.
Jessica Tan, COO of Ping An Group, told the media:
We are excited about joining R3 and look forward to developing and using blockchain technology to create a more efficient way of managing financial assets digitally end-to-end.
It is important to note Ping An Group may appear to be a local Chinese insurer, they are partially owned by HSBC. In fact, HSBC acquired 48.22% of H shares through different subsidiaries, and the financial institute has an overall 16.8% stake in Ping An Group, which makes HSBC the biggest shareholder. Given their involvement in the R3 blockchain consortium, it sort of makes sense to see Ping An join as well.
Ping An Group joining the R3 blockchain consortium comes at a time where plans are circulating regarding the Chinese government looking to issue their own digital currency. If that would be the case, China is not the only country considering to do so, albeit these ideas are meeting a lot of resistance from financial experts.
The Chinese Digital Currency Concept
Despite the concerns regarding countries issuing their own digital currency, the People’s Bank of China is actively considering this concept. The financial institution held a seminar on digital currency earlier in 2016, at which time they also revealed their own plans for the digital money.
The financial institution is keeping a close eye on the evolution of blockchain technology, which they may want to use for issuing their own digital currency in the future. Whether or not Ping An Group joining the R3 blockchain consortium is a direct result of this stance by the PBoC, remains unknown.
Chinese financial players showing an interest in blockchain technology is a positive sign in general, as this decision could bring positive attention to blockchain technology and perhaps even Bitcoin in the country in the long run.
PBoC will – most likely- use a permissioned ledger if they go ahead with their plans to issue digital currency. A decentralized approach such as the bitcoin blockchain will not be used, as PBoC wants to remain in firm control over the digital currency and its issuance. Moreover, it is not clear if this digital currency would replace the Yuan, or if it will be issued alongside the CNY.
What are your thoughts on Ping An Group joining the R3 blockchain consortium? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Daily Mail UK
Images courtesy of Ping An Group, R3, Shutterstock
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