Alibaba Debuts Its Blockchain Venture In The Healthcare Industry

China’s ZhongAn Tech is planning to use blockchain technology to cut risk and costs in healthcare insurance. ZhongAn, the technology incubator for ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance, was founded in 2013 by Jack Ma, the chairman of Alibaba Group, Pony Ma Huateng, chairman at Tencent Holdings, and Peter Ma Mingzhe, chairman at Ping An Insurance.

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Blockchain tech has often been used in the health insurance industry, as it offers a more effective information distribution between parties, anonymous data pools for research, and new ways to combat the production of counterfeit drugs. China has added blockchain into is 13th Five-Year-Plan, which lays out development plans for the country from 2016-2020. More recently, China’s president Xi Jinping praised blockchain during a speech at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, noting that it is a part of a new technological revolution.

Insurance sales used to rely on agents and individual sales people, however younger generations prefer making online purchases. Insurance clients no longer need to file paper documents as proof, instead they can just say when and which hospital they attended. Insurance is backed by statistics and blockchain will help to connect that massive and varied data. It will be used to manage risk and improve pricing.

Although the Chinese government has portrayed a bullish attitude towards blockchain, they have been less welcoming to cryptocurrencies. The government had imposed a ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the fall of last year, that banned “exchange-like services,” and later foreign exchanges.

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