Chinese state media People’s Daily has published a commentary stressing that while blockchain can help provide the breakthroughs needed to overtake competitors it should not be compared to cryptocurrencies, which China banned in 2017. The commentary, which comes a week after Chinese President Xi Jinping called for more research and investment into blockchain, emphasised that the opportunity brought about by blockchain did not mean people could speculate in cryptocurrencies. “The group study session of the Central Politburo of the Communist Party of China has stressed [the importance] of blockchain and opened up the imagination space for the development and application of it,” People’s Daily wrote, adding that “we also need to be rational.” “Blockchain technology innovation does not mean speculating on virtual currency, we should prevent the use of blockchain to speculate on scam currency.” Blockchain became a hot topic for debate after Xi appealed for greater urgency in its development. The technology would play “an important role in the next round of technological innovation and industrial transformation”, Xi told members of the Politburo last month. Could ‘Blockchain Day’ become a reality in China? China outlawed bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in 2017. Last year authorities shut down numerous blockchain-related news accounts on the WeChat social app and banned hotels in downtown Beijing from hosting events promoting cryptocurrencies, as part of a renewed crackdown on activities related to digital money. In April this year, the country’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) unveiled amendments to its guidance for adjustments to the nation’s industrial structure, including categories that are encouraged, restricted and eliminated. Cryptocurrency mining was to be eliminated immediately. In 2016 Beijing established a research institute backed by the People’s Bank of China to study the possible launch of the country’s own digital currency. However, in September central bank governor Yi Gang said China does not have a timetable for the launch of a digital currency, saying more work was needed to address a series of regulatory issues. 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 .