China’s President Xi Jinping has called for the country to accelerate its adoption of blockchain technologies as a core for innovation. Xi made the comments at a Politburo Committee session on blockchain technology trends on Oct. 24.

Blockchain adoption promotes innovation

Xi stressed that the implementation of integrated blockchain technologies is key in promoting technological innovation and transforming industries. He told the committee:

“We must take blockchain as an important breakthrough for independent innovation of core technologies, clarify the main directions, increase investment, focus on a number of key technologies, and accelerate the development of blockchain and industrial innovation.”

Blockchain, not Bitcoin

Xi’s push for greater blockchain adoption comes against the backdrop of China’s long-standing aversion to — and a crackdown on — cryptocurrencies. Authorities in the country first banned ICOs in 2017, quickly followed by cryptocurrency exchanges.

There have even been reports that at least one government agency is considering a ban on cryptocurrency mining.

Digital currency arms race

Unsurprisingly, the one cryptocurrency that the Chinese government doesn’t seem to have an issue with is its proposed central bank digital currency (CBDC). Despite reports throughout the summer that the launch of this was imminent, officials from China’s Central Bank last month said that there was no timetable for the launch of the CBDC.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has been referencing the threat of Chinese superiority in the digital currency space in an attempt to sell U.S. lawmakers his plans for the Libra stablecoin.

"China is moving quickly to launch a similar idea in the coming months. We can't sit here and assume that because America is today the leader that it will always get to be the leader if we don't innovate,” he argued in an official statement.