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Potential applications for blockchain. (Picture: China Internet Report)

China sees spike in companies with blockchain in their name

Despite banning crypto exchanges, China wants to be a frontrunner in blockchain technology

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

Cryptocurrency may be banned in China, but there’s a blockchain boom of sorts happening right now.

The number of companies with “blockchain” in their name soared in the first seven months of the year, with 4,000 companies registered from January to July 16 -- that’s six times as many compared to the entire year before, according to the South China Morning Post.

In comparison, the US has only 817 -- about a fifth of the number in China.

The China Internet Report 2018 highlights how heavily the country is betting on blockchain: 41% of all startups receiving funding in the first quarter of 2017 were related to blockchain.
Potential applications for blockchain. (Picture: China Internet Report)

There are now over 17,000 companies that list blockchain -- or qukuailian as it is known in Chinese -- as part of their business activities. But whether those companies actually use the technology is a different story.

As the price of bitcoin spiked last year, a number of companies sought to jump on the bandwagon by adding related terms to their names -- despite previously having very little to do with the technology.

And this isn’t limited to China: New York-based drink maker Long Island Iced Tea announced it was changing its name to Long Blockchain Corp and would start exploring blockchain technology -- a move that saw its stock jump more than 200 percent. (It later abandoned plans to buy bitcoin mining equipment.)
There was even a sports bra company that turned to digital currencies -- but was soon suspended from trading by the SEC.

One Chinese startup wants to build a blockchain toothbrush to mine coins while you clean your teeth

For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters, subscribe to our Inside China Tech podcast, and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report. Also roam China Tech City, an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus.