China’s online payment system giant Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba Group, has announced the Ant Blockchain Innovation Competition to be held under the theme of “Blockchain Creates Future,” with the intention of accelerating the development and application of blockchain technology.
Ant Financial is inviting startups, enterprises, individual developers, and independent software vendor (ISVs) to participate in the competition to demonstrate their skills in developing practical applications of blockchain.
The company is offering a total of RMB1.8 million (US$270,000) to contest winners. First place will receive RMB1,000,000 (US$150,000), while second and third place will receive RMB500,000 (US$75,000) and RMB300,000 (US$45,000), respectively. Other opportunities for competitors include access to the ATEC fund provided by Ant Financial for outstanding enterprises.
The Blockchain Innovation Competition will task participants with developing and innovating blockchain-based solutions using the company’s blockchain BaaS (Backend as a Service) platform, launched in September 2018. Ant Financial is looking for small- and medium-sized businesses with the ability to come up with the best solutions.
Ant Financial is one the leading fintech companies in China. With a valuation of over US$150 billion, the company is quickly winning over the consumer base in financial and banking markets, thanks to its services that are considered cheaper and more secure than those provided by traditional banking systems. The company is already applying blockchain technology in 15 areas, such as cross-border remittance and commodity traceability.
Jiang Guofei, Vice President of Ant Financial, revealed that over the past two years, “Ant Financial has been working on two aspects about blockchain. One is to improve the technology, and the other is to open it up and accelerate the commercialization of blockchain applications.”
Meanwhile, the company has also launched the fintech lab at Damo Academy, aimed at training blockchain researchers to seek the next big trends in the global blockchain industry, as well as serving as a driver for optimization of the company’s blockchain platform.
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