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Chinese Central Bank Descends On San Francisco For Blockchain Research

A team of delegates from China’s central bank has concluded a visit to San Francisco, designed to provide better insights into the underlying technology behind the blockchain.

In a bid to gain a better understanding of the technology and its possible use cases, along with feasible approaches to regulating blockchain development, a team of senior executives met with blockchain startups in the region over the course of several days last week.

The team from the bank was joined by representatives of the Shanghai New Financial Research Institute, along with the Peking University Digital Finance Research Center, as part of a broader drive to build knowledge around the technology in practice.

According to local media reports, the visit comes as a precursor to a forthcoming research report, which will look at how fintech development and regulation in the U.S. could help shape Chinese policy.

The report is being published jointly by the Shanghai New Financial Research Institute and the Peking University Digital Finance Research Center, and their findings will be of significant interest to the bank, as it attempts to gain a better working knowledge of the blockchain and its implications for financial services.

Central banks across the world have been increasing their efforts to get a handle on distributed ledger technology, following a number of trials and proofs-of-concept developments by central banks globally.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has already concluded initial tests with R3’s Corda platform, while authorities in Colombia became the latest central bank to begin testing discussions this week. They join central banks across Europe, North America, South America and Asia in embracing the technology, and its potential for radically reshaping financial systems both locally and globally.

Speaking to the importance of the technology to the development of China’s nascent financial and capital systems, Yao Qian of the Digital Currency Research Unit at the People’s Bank of China said it was incumbent upon existing stakeholders in China’s financial systems to shape the future direction of blockchain technology and regulation.

The delegates met with representatives from companies and startups in the space, including Coinbase, Circle, Ripple, Sofi and Prosper, holding conversations about both the technology and local approaches to regulating fintech developments.

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