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BEYOND Expo Summit: Broad applications of blockchain and related technologies in banks – panellists | Macau Business

Emerging technologies like blockchain are not only confined to applications in start-ups and technology enterprises, but traditional players like banks also see the benefits of such applications, said Zheng Bin, the deputy CEO of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Macau) (ICBC Macau).

The executive of the Macau subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned bank made the remarks on Wednesday during a panel discussion at the 2023 BEYOND International Technology and Innovation Expo (BEYOND Expo).

“Though we are a traditional bank, we have robust expertise in technology and many of our services have incorporated Web 3.0,” Zheng told the panel under the title “Crypto Finance: Risks and Rewards”. Web 3.0 is a new term that includes concepts of decentralization, blockchain technologies, cryptocurrencies, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

“These applications could help optimize the [banking] experiences for our customers and ensure their data protection,” the ICBC Macau deputy CEO remarked.

“For example, we have been in talks with the [Macau] government to use blockchain architecture to issue consumption cards to local residents, enhancing the convenience and efficiency of the process,” he illustrated. Consumption cards refer to the electronic consumption vouchers issued by the Macau government to support residents during the Covid-19 pandemic in the past three years.

Zheng and another panelist, Leo Li, Lead of Web3 Ecosystem Development of Chinese tech firm Alibaba Cloud, pointed out that supervision is required for the development of Web3.0.

The ICBC Macau executive hails the digital yuan as an example that achieves “a good balance” between regulation and cutting-edge technologies. It incorporates blockchain technologies but is not decentralized like other cryptocurrencies with the backing of the state.

The digital version of the Chinese yuan, also known as Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), is the sovereign digital currency issued by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). It has undergone trials and tests for years, but there is no timeline for a nationwide launch.

Other panel discussions of the consumer technology summit on Wednesday also focused on Web3.0, blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and the metaverse. The panelists included executives of venture capital firms from China, Singapore, the United States, and beyond.

John Sun, the chairman, and CEO of contactless smart card and mobile payment provider Macau Pass, also took the stage and concurred that some forms of regulation and supervision are required for the development of Web 3.0.

Describing himself as “a true believer” of blockchain, Mr. Sun added that his team had focused on “establishing Macau as a smart city” and advancing its digital transformation in the past year since AGTech Holdings — an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba — completed the acquisition of Macau Pass last year.

The consumer technology summit is one of the four summits held at the 2023 BEYOND Expo, a three-day technology event held in Macau from Wednesday until this Friday.

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