Last week JD.Com, China’s largest retailer announced a new blockchain research lab in conjunction with both US and Chinese universities. The colleges are the Ying Wu College of Computing at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The initiative is a multi-year effort to explore consensus protocols, privacy and security in decentralized applications. The lab aims to solve the energy efficiency and “stability” issues that JD sees as significant bottlenecks to blockchain adoption.
Dr. Jian Pei, President of JD Big Data and Smart Supply Chain said: “With more than 300 million customers, JD.com recognizes the pivotal role being played by blockchain in improving transparency in the supply chain and delivering greater peace of mind to Chinese consumers about product quality and safety,” he said.
In August JD.com launched its JD Blockchain Open Platform targeted at enterprise customers. The platform helps companies to build their own applications and host them on public or private clouds. It’s a Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) platform designed with one-click deployment. There are also plans for an appstore where JD.com will act as quality controller.
A wide range of applications are available including track and trace for goods, transaction settlement and digital copyrights.
First to launch on the platform was China Pacific Insurance Company (CPIC) which deployed a traceable system for e-invoices. The system applies unique blockchain IDs to each document to streamline the accounting process.
At the time Dr Pei commented: “JD Blockchain Open Platform is a culmination of the expertise and experience in blockchain technology that we initially developed for our own operations, to provide more visibility to consumers.”
The company implemented blockchain tracing internally for more than 400 brands and 11,000 SKUs on JD.com. Additionally, it partnered with IBM and Walmart for the Blockchain Food Safety Alliance in China.