Chinese Online Retail Behemoth JD.com Launches Blockchain Accelerator

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JD.com is a Chinese retailer with more than 266 million customers and over $100 billion in gross merchandise. Their research and development arm has launched a new accelerator, called AI Catapult, to leverage AI and blockchain. The JD.com team will work with select blockchain startups to “test real-world applications of their technologies at scale.”

JD.com already has a reputation for being on the cutting edge of technology trends. Recently, they’ve deployed drones to deliver packages in rural provinces. Robots and self-driving cars are slated to start making deliveries as well.

AI Catapult

The accelerator, based in Beijing, will be called AI Catapult. It will be a mutually beneficial partnership between JD.com and six blockchain companies. JD.com’s artificial intelligence research unit will look for ways that blockchain can help AI, and vice versa.

The six inaugural companies are:

1. Bankorus

A leading fintech company based in China, Bankorus offers an AI-powered robo-advisor to help high net worth individuals with investing. This includes cryptocurrency investing, where Bankorus is pioneering compliant large-scale investment powered by the blockchain. Built on the NEM blockchain, Bankorus believes the shift toward crypto as a legitimate asset class will begin with high net worth individuals.

The company currently manages assets over $30 billion with more than 200,000 clients worldwide.

2. Bluzelle

Bluzelle is a blockchain startup that’s focusing on creating the infrastructure for a blockchain-powered internet. Specifically, they’re interested in decentralized data storage and management. It intends to do for decentralized data what Oracle does for today’s data management systems.

3. CanYa

CanYa is an Australian-based service that lets users pay for digital and home services in cryptocurrency. JD.com will market CanYa’s services to its users as part of the accelerator.

4. Nuggets

Nuggets helps with e-commerce payments and identification, storing that information on the blockchain for security and reliability. They’re based in London.

5. Republic Protocol

Republic Protocol is a private exchange, otherwise known as a “dark pool” in the investing world, where participants can make cross-chain swaps. They support ETH, ERC-20 tokens, and BTC.

6. Devery

Devery is a supply chain tracking protocol built on the blockchain. They help companies follow their products through production and delivery while avoiding counterfeits.

JD.com Blockchain Partnership

JD.com is the major competitor to Alibaba in China. This accelerator partnership will give the participating companies access to resources throughout JD.com’s various business units and retail supply chain. It’s an exciting opportunity for these blockchain startups to test and stretch the limits of their applications in the real world.

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Bennett is an editor at Coin Central and freelance technology writer specializing in blockchain, software development, and AI writing. Visit Bennett’s personal website to learn more about him and read more of his writing.