Huobi Labs Announces $1 Billion Global Blockchain Industry Fund
It seems cryptocurrency exchanges are starting to take their responsibility more and more seriously, with Huobi Labs, the blockchain incubator wing of Chinese cryptocurrency exchange Huobi.Pro, starting up a billion dollar global blockchain fund to foster global talent in the space. The fund is being started up together with Tianya Community, a Chinese social networking and forum website.
Part of Huobi’s official announcement reads:
Under the background of the new era of Chinese socialism characteristics, we have given Hainan Special Economic Zone a new mission of economical reformation.
And Hainan looks sure to benefit from this intiative.
As part of the fund’s foundation, a “Global Cultural and Creative Blockchain Lab” is to be built in Hainan Province in China, as well as Huobi China headquarters being relocated to Hainan. A 40,000 square meter blockchain incubator will aim to take on and foster the Chinese talent who is increasingly becoming interested in blockchain and distributed ledger technology, alongside alleged partnerships with some of the world’s top universities to build 10 “GlobalBlockchain+” labs and a global blockchain research institute. 2018 looks set to be a busy year.
Huobi themselves stand to benefit from a fund like this in several ways; the talent they foster will be ripe for the picking to potentially hire back to the Huobi platform, and should any exciting new startups make it out of the incubator, Huobi will likely have the first access to invest in them as a VC – in a similar way to how Coinbase has an early-stage fund with a focus on investing in their own alumni’s businesses. Some of the technological and business innovations that are made as part of the fund’s work will also likely be available to Huobi before anywhere else.
With the Chinese government’s position sitting somewhere between “wary” and “who knows” when it comes to cryptocurrency, this move by Huobi could be seen as a somewhat brash one, but when it comes to straight blockchain technology and investment, it’s a different story altogether. In their blog post, Huobi alleges that the move comes as part of a national-level strategy driven by President Xi Jiping’s personal wishes.
This can be seen to be quite true in terms of China’s recent push into blockchain, with a $1.6 billion fund having been started at the beginning of April in Hangzhou – the city which is host to Chinese tech giant Alibaba. The local Hangzhou government will itself invest 30% of the $1.6 billion, equivalent to RMB 3 billion, in a rather vivid demonstration of belief in the project and underlying technology.
A VC fund focused on blockchain was launched in Shenzhen, sometimes known as the “Silicon Valley” of China in terms of hardware, said to be backed by an initial RMB 500 million ($78~ million equivalent) – and announced just 2 weeks following the $1.6 billion fund in Hangzhou.
Lastly, at Guangxi Autonomous Region’s annual political sessions, known as “Lianghui”, Liu Jian Hong, Deputy Secretary of Science and Technology Department of Guangxi Autonomous Region, said that “Blockchain is recognized globally as the most influential technology to the development path of Web applications, and is recognized as the ‘fifth disruptive computing paradigm’ innovation”, adding that it would bring new industry, capital, and talent to Guangxi.
It appears no region wants to be left behind. The blockchain incubator craze truly appears to be taking a hold on China, which isn’t entirely surprising, with the country having been a technological powerhouse for years now. Several regions wanting to claim the title of blockchain central is of course a positive thing and can only spur on more innovation through competition, so we’re excited to see what Huobi Lab’s new fund will produce both within China and globally, throughout 2018 and beyond.
We recently covered Huobi’s native Huobi Token and why we believe it to be a good investment. Read more about it here.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.