Chinese banks, tech companies and other industry giants are reportedly already using blockchain technology in every day business. Blockchain is the form of encryption that cryptocurrency like BitCoin is based on, and some U.S. lawmakers have proposed using it to streamline the process of distributing stimulus checks. If that's the case, China may serve as a blueprint.
Americans have had a difficult time getting their stimulus check from the U.S. government. It has taken the IRS weeks or even months to send some people their relief money during the coronavirus crisis. According to a report by Forbes, several members of congress sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, asking him to "utilize private sector innovations such as blockchain and DLT" to make the process easier. According to another report by The Block Crypto, China may have a preview of the process underway.
The Block Crypto obtained a new white paper from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), which shows that many large financial institutions in the country are already using blockchain technology with some regularity. All of China's state-owned banks, as well as four of its biggest tech companies are now using it in some form.
Chinese banks and companies are using blockchain for things like trade financing, supply chain management, settlement, digital invoices and other applications. The country's four biggest tech companies — Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and JD — are reportedly working on their own financial service applications based on blockchain technology. Most of these applications will be permission-based.
All told, over 70 financial services firms in China are now using blockchain. This could be great news for the fledgling technology, which has been promising for years to completely shift the way money is handled, exchanged and distributed around the globe.
In the U.S., a total of 11 congressional representatives signed the letter asking Mnuchin to adopt blockchain technology for stimulus checks. They not only asked him to do so for future payments, but for the remainder of current stimulus checks that need to go out. They are: Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT), Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-U.S. Virgin Islands), and Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), Co-Chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus.
For updates on your stimulus check, visit the IRS' Get My Payment website. For the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic itself, visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.