Ethereum is gaining ground in China as innovators have announced key developments and partnerships during International Blockchain Week in Shanghai.
BlockApps, an enterprise blockchain platform developer specializing in Ethereum technology, has unveiled today a pre-Series A funding round led by Fenbushi Capital, with participation from Black Pine Capital and its affiliate Jen Advisors, the Novogratz Family Office, Radiant Venture Capital and Ventris Capital.
The new capital will be used to fuel BlockApps's expansion into China and address the growing demand for its platform around the world.
Bo Shen, managing director of Fenbushi Capital, noted BlockApps' early success on the Microsoft Azure and Red Hat Openshift platforms in the U.S., adding that his firm will "look to help scale those efforts here in China."
"We see BlockApps as the infrastructural blockchain database of companies in the future," Shen said in a media release.
BlockApps STRATO is a scalable Ethereum-compliant platform for development, deployment and management of enterprise blockchain applications. The platform allows businesses to develop early proof-of-concepts and can scale to full production systems.
Already, BlockApps' new collaboration with Fenbushi Capital has allowed the startup to be involved in two key projects in China: the first one being a pilot program for the multinational, Minsheng Life Insurance; and the second one being a smart cities initiative, Shen said.
Minsheng Life Insurance, one of China's largest insurance companies, has selected BlockApps and Consensus Systems (ConsenSys) to develop an employee appreciation pilot program on the Ethereum blockchain.
The company said in a separate press release that the purpose is to support Minsheng Insurance's sales force. It said that the pilot program will first be implemented within Minsheng Insurance, before expanding into a companywide solution.
Cheng Dong, general manager of Minsheng Insurance's Data Technology Services (DTS) department, said that the blockchain-based employee appreciation and loyalty program for Minsheng "is just the beginning."
"Moving forward, blockchain will provide the foundational layer for Minsheng Insurance to become the leading technology-based insurance provider in China," Dong said. "Blockchain is the future technological innovation infrastructure for modern financial services."
BlockApps' new funding came simultaneously with the announcement of the integration of BlockApps's blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) offering into China's leading cloud providers Alibaba, Microsoft Azure China, Tencent and WanCloud.
Gary Liu, the chief architect and hybrid cloud business director of Alibaba Cloud Computing, mentioned the "strong client demand for Ethereum-based permissioned blockchain." The integration of BlockApps STRATO into Alibaba's cloud marketplace will allow enterprises to "build Ethereum smart contracts to optimize their workflows, reduce costs and improve transparency," he said.
Echoing Liu's statements, Tom Tao, general manager of WanCloud, Wanxiang’s newly formed cloud service, indicated that Wanxiang too "has been receiving rapidly growing requirements from China local enterprises to help them adopt blockchain into their real businesses."
"To partner with BlockApps and bring its leading enterprise blockchain platform BlockApps STRATO to the WanCloud BaaS platform is one of our series of steps to bridge leading edge blockchain technologies with China's local enterprise market," Tao said.
Two particular areas where Chinese businesses and corporations are the most excited about is the use of blockchain technology for supply chain provenance tracking and the tokenization of assets, ranging from commodities to conventional currencies, Andrew Keys, the chief marketing officer of BlockApps, told Bitcoin Magazine.
"Chinese enterprises are beginning to understand the power behind this next generation database," Keys said. "Being able to increase transparency, streamline efficiencies, and drastically reduce costs, blockchains offer the ability to radically redefine IT infrastructures."