Local Hong Kong Universities Get $20 Million For Blockchain Payment System Research

Local Universities in Hong Kong Awarded $20 Million to Pursue Research Regarding Blockchain-Based Payment Systems

Based on a report from China News on August 12th, it seems that Hong Kong does not want to be left behind when it comes to blockchain technology. Their new desire to get ahead of the game is clear, and the country has even gone as far as to dedicate $20 million to multiple local universities. With that funding, these schools are expected to pursue research and development opportunities in payment systems that utilize blockchain.

As it stands, Hong Kong has limited availability to fintech products, which is causing them to turn their attention to distributed ledger technology. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology was the first to be given the funds towards blockchain technology advancement, specifically dealing with improving security measures. HKUST will be required to work with the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), the University of Hong Kong (HKU), and the City University of Hong Kong (CityU). Their budget is proposed as part of an annual budget, but it is unclear how long the country plans to continue the funding.

The schools must commit to developing a detailed presentation on the transition into this new era of financial technology innovation. They will also be discussing the ongoing growth of blockchain and other applications of how the technology can be implemented.

To lead the research efforts, the government has assigned Tan Jiayin the role of overseeing interdisciplinary research efforts and will be managing the coordination between the institutions. Some consumers may be familiar with Jiayin already, due to his work with on a research effort called “Strengthening Hong Kong’s Strategic Position as a Regional and International Business Center. The project was a collaborative effort between eight different task forces, all of which sought to explore the boundary of blockchain technology, AI, and security on the networks. These concepts were meant to then be applied to the economy in Hong Kong.

Jiayin, to broaden the perspectives in the research, offered an open invitation to banks in Hong Kong to become a part of the research that these universities are covering. It makes sense that they would be included because the grant accounts for the development of digital currencies and other distribution services for financial transactions.

Even though this decision is making headlines, it is hardly the first time that Hong Kong has dived into this type of venture. In fact, they already had revealed their intentions to bring in a financing system based around blockchain back in 2017. They even discussed the potential of the technology to reduce “human intervention and fraud.”

In June 2018, blockchain remittances were tested out between two retailers by Ant Financial, which is part of the Alibaba company. They managed to reduce transfer time to within three seconds of initiating it, which was big news for cross-border transactions. The following month, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority released a statement that they would launch a new partnership with 21 regional banks that would be the solution that blockchain trade finance needed.

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