The Chinese government together with Alipay is rolling out a blockchain-based platform for paying bills, a first for the Zhejiang province. Currently only available in Zhejiang, the platform will be used to keep track and pay electricity bills.
Despite always being allergic to the cryptocurrency space, the Chinese government has spent ample time and money into developing blockchain-related networks. The latest push by the state has been to standardize collections for utility and medical payments, currently being rolled out in Zhejiang province.
Alipay is a key partner in this new blockchain-based platform. The project was started by the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Finance together with the Provincial Bureau of Big Data, the Provincial Health and Health Commission, and the Provincial Medical Insurance Bureau. Working with Alipay and its affiliate, Ant Financial, it is leveraging blockchain technology to pay bills for the first time.
As reported by Jinse, Zhejian citizens can now use the platform to make appointments, pay fees, and collect tickets without having to queue up like previously. Users can easily view their medical bills via the app.
Currently, the platform is available for 11 hospitals. It is expected to be expanded to support over 100 hospitals in the province by year’s end.
Building Off the Success of Blockchain in Taizhou
The success in Zhejian comes just a year after a similar concept was piloted in the city of Taizhou. There, it has been a great success with a total of 14.29M copies issued for Taizhou Medical Electronic Bills since.
Chinese authorities have reported that patient visit times have dropped by nearly 60% and waiting times were greatly reduced. This is reportedly being used as a model by the Ministry of FInance in Zhejiang.
Alibaba Looks to Blockchain
Alibaba, the affiliate company of Alipay, is the main company behind the blockchain-based platform. Alibaba is no stranger to blockchain and has previously utilized the technology for tracking insurance claims and rice production.
Alibaba ranks first in the world for blockchain-related patents with IBM a close-second. Jack Ma has been an open advocate of the technology, expressing great optimism for its potential. However, like most Chinese industrialists and authorities, he remains skeptical of cryptocurrencies.
We can expect Alibaba to work with other Chinese provinces to delve further into blockchain technology to power their ‘smart cities’ and social planning programs.
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