JD.com launches blockchain start-up incubator program


JD.com is cozying up to the blockchain as of late, from initiatives to use blockchain technology to trace the supply chain of meat imported from Australia to a Food Safety Alliance formed with IBM and Tsinghua University. In its latest move to integrate the blockchain into company operations, China’s second largest e-retailer is launching an AI Catapult Accelerator (AICA) program to help develop talented blockchain startups.

The lucky first AICA group includes six blockchain technology companies including CanYa, Bluzelle, Nuggets, Republic Protocol, Devery, and Bankorus. The six-month incubator program will provide companies with marketing, PR, and global business advice.

CanYa, an Australian startup chosen for the program, is a blockchain-fueled marketplace that lets users find and book digital services. It lets users pay for services P2P using cryptocurrency. The company hopes to be a bridge between cryptocurrency and the larger gig economy.

In a company statement, CanYa co-founder and CEO John-Paul Thorbjornsen, said, “This is a validation of CanYa’s business model and global disruptive potential. JD is one of the most significant technology companies in the world, to have their full support and backing is huge for our platform and the acceleration of blockchain technology.”

This isn’t JD.com’s first venture into blockchain technology. The company has already launched programs to enhance food safety and traceability in China. In a February interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Yongli Yu, President of a JD supply chain research unit, said, “Whole-process traceability is not a new concept but blockchain makes it really possible. Throughout the world, and particularly in China, consumers increasingly want to know how their products are sourced, and JD is dedicated to using technology to promote complete transparency.”

Last December, Walmart, JD.com, IBM, and Tsinghua University Launch a Blockchain Food Safety Alliance in China. The program is intended to approve traceability of the supply chain of food products in China – especially those imported via cross-border e-commerce. The alliance is supported by IBM’s Blockchain Platform and expertise, Tsinghua’s cultural and industrial understanding of Chinese food production, and Walmart and JD.com’s massive consumer reach to pilot new technologies.

While blockchain technology has the potential to transform every industry – from healthcare to e-commerce – JD.com is ensuring its place at the top of the e-commerce foodchain by investing well and early in the technology that is just starting to gain traction in the mainstream.

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