Chinese internet giant, Tencent has been granted a license to operate a “blockchain bank,” by Hong Kong’s Monetary Authority, which is responsible for maintaining the city’s monetary and banking stability. The announcement was made today, at the Wuzhen blockchain conference in China, by Cai Weige, general manager for blockchain at Tencent.
In a keynote speech at the conference, Weige said simply that “Tencent Virtual Bank has obtained a Hong Kong license and is currently preparing a blockchain virtual banking team.”
Few further details were given, however Chinese media hailed the announcement as bullish for the cryptocurrency industry. It follows news, on Wednesday, that Hong Kong’s financial regulator is introducing licenses for cryptocurrency exchanges. The new rules relate to platforms offering virtual securities.
Tencent has long been active in blockchain innovation. It’s the parent company of leading Chinese social media platform, WeChat and operator of its payment system. It’s also a company favored by the Chinese authorities, which has championed Tencent’s research programs.
Analysts at MICA Research, a cryptocurrency research startup were sceptical about the use of “virtual banking licenses” to operate “blockchain virtual banks.” They indicated that Tencent may be responding to China’s new national policy of championing innovation in blockchain technology.
And indeed, Weige echoed the mantra of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, when he referred to blockchain as an key enabling technology, which can be integrated with the Internet of Things and AI.