WeBank, launched last year by China’s internet giant Tencent whose instant messaging service Wechat and QQ is used by around 650 million people, is to present at Shanghai’s Global Blockchain Summit on the 23rd of September.
As China’s first online-only bank, WeBank has extended $4.5 billion in loans, but faces stiff competition from Ant Financial’s internet bank – MYbank – as Alibaba and Tencent engage in an epic battle for domination of China’s online payments market which controls more than half of all payments in China.
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They both are known to have joined blockchain consortiums, but it wasn’t previously clear whether they were incorporating blockchain tech internally. The surprise addition of WeBank to the Global Blockchain Summit strongly suggests they are and may even make an announcement (we have no knowledge of the contents of WeBank’s presentation).
They may be highly incentivized to do so as, according to FT, WeChat Pay spent $46 million on bank transaction fees in January alone. Many reports have suggested that such fees can be considerably reduced by the use of blockchain tech which would give either of the two giants a boost and an edge.
The Global Blockchain Summit is to be covered by a subsidiary of Xinhua, China’s biggest and most influential news agency with their president having a seat at the Central Committee of China’s Communist Party. Their addition as participants is a strong indication that the Chinese government is highly welcoming and perhaps encouraging of blockchain development.
Among other more interesting and previously unknown presentations, Cambridge University is to make a blockchain announcement according to a newly released schedule for the event. Besides the suggestion that it has something to do with research, little more is known.
Another announcement is expected from the Boston Consulting Group, a highly prestigious management consultancy firm with a yearly revenue of $5 billion. They are jointly to make an announcement with Sting Labs, but again we have no further information.
The event will feature a presentation by Brian Behlendorf, who has ties with IBM and is currently executive director of the Hyperledger project. He is followed by Microsoft, and WeBank.
Consensys features prominently as the third Keynote Speaker, followed by R3, Santander, Chinaledger, UBS, Ernst & Young and many others.
Overall, the schedule is full of highly interesting and potentially high impact presentations/announcements as the International Blockchain Week becomes the biggest blockchain event ever and the venue for the blockchain space to announce its arrival to the world with 2016 turning out to be the year the blockchain went mainstream – at least with public and private decision makers.
Images from Shutterstock and Wikimedia.