On the 29th of October, it was reported that the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has applied for 41 patents related to its enterprise blockchain platform. China’s Cebnet revealed the news along with the bank’s 60 ‘core technological breakthroughs’ and its blockchain developments.
As one of the country’s top four banks, along with China Construction Bank, the Agricultural Bank of China and the Bank of China, the ICBC has the resources and reach for a head start in blockchain. According to Tuesday’s report, it’s already achieved major milestones.
The bank has explored artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and 5G solutions along with distributed ledger technology (DLT). Its existing enterprise blockchain platform is used for fund collection, clearing, and disbursement plus bank-enterprise processing.
The 41 blockchain-related patents include a financial security system, node resource expansion, billing node intelligent switching, and cluster computing.
ICBC’s platform was involved in launching a financial service email network. With blockchain, businesses could set up accounts trusted by suppliers. The system is now used by supply chains including China Railway and contributed to streamlining the corporate loans process.
In China, funding for SMEs is a pain point many blockchain applications aim to address. This week’s report claims the ICBC project helped issue 610 million yuan ($86 million) of bank loans.
Though it’s not just for commercial finance applications. The ICBC has reportedly worked with the Guizhou local government in south-west China. There, its blockchain platform managed a poverty alleviation fund. Likely similar to western financial inclusion initiatives, the DLT system has disbursed over 7 billion yuan ($1 billion). Another project was with the Xiong’an authorities to manage funding infrastructure, including roads and sewers.
The ICBC, like many of China’s major banks, is no stranger to blockchain. It joined the Hong Kong trade finance platform eTradeConnect launched last year. Two months after that launch, the China Banking Association project was released, for which the bank piloted a blockchain Letter of Credit. Just last week, its latest initiative was deployed in Chengdu. Multiple ICBC branches were involved in the cross-border trade platform pilot, which is now officially launched.