Xiang Hu Bao, a blockchain-based mutual aid platform operated by payment processor Alipay, has on-boarded over 100 million customers.

The platform, which was launched in October 2018, provides a health plan that covers about 100 types of ailments. Besides being a blockchain-based platform, Xiang Hu Bao doesn’t require its users to pay any admission fees or upfront payment. The risk on this platform is jointly shared by all participants, along with the payouts. With 100 million customers now under its belt, Xiang Hu Bao could get bigger in the future.

China’s Ongoing Love Affair with Blockchain

Besides thriving across the private sector, blockchain technology has also endeared itself to the Chinese government. Ever since President Xi gave its ringing endorsement, the government has made several moves to cement the technology as a mainstay in its economic plan — including a blockchain platform used by the Bank of China to enhance efficiency across the insurance industry.

At the China International Import Expo on November 7, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, Shanghai Customs, and representatives of six banks across the city signed on to join the Blockchain Alliance — a consortium that will help utilize blockchain for enhancing various aspects of international trade.

The Chinese government is also set to spend $2 billion on developing the country’s blockchain infrastructure by 2023. This, as well as the massive investments being made by private sector giants such as Huawei and Alibaba, means that blockchain has come to stay in China.

Alipay and ‘Blockchain, Not Bitcoin’

Unlike blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies have been outlawed in China. Private companies have distanced themselves from them, with names such as Alipay and Alibaba recently denouncing prospective partnerships that would have seen them interact with Bitcoin.

As for the government, it’s stance — which many have dubbed ‘Blockchain, not Bitcoin’ — has been clearly communicated. Authorities in Beijing, Shenzhen, and Shanghai have conducted sweeping investigations into suspected activities of cryptocurrency exchanges in those regions, with several companies already being ordered to shut down their operations and pack up shop for good.

With the way things are going, more cities are set to have similar investigations. Whether or not this is just a precaution to ensure that nothing stands in the way of the proposed state cryptocurrency or not, the Chinese government is sending a message that Bitcoin isn’t welcome.

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Jimmy Aki

Based in the UK, Jimmy has been following the development of blockchain for several years, and he is optimistic about its potential to democratize the financial system. He's an economic researcher with outstanding hands-on and heads-on experience in Macroeconomic finance analysis, forecasting, and planning. He has honed his skills having worked cross-continental as a finance analyst, which gives him inter-cultural experience. He has a strong passion for regulation and macroeconomic trends as it allows him to peek under the global bonnet to see how the world works. Follow him on Twitter: @adejimi

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