Chinese billionaire investor and media mogul Bruno Wu is planning on building a $300 million blockchain, cryptocurrency, and artificial intelligence (AI) hub in Hartford, Connecticut for talent development.
According to Business Insider, the Seven Stars Cloud (SSC) group is the main investment entity in the project and is owned by Bruno. It announced plans to build a “Fintech Village” in the area in July. The center will serve as a hub for the company and others to collaborate on tech projects, mostly involving cryptocurrencies, robotics, and machine learning.
According to documents obtained about the hub by Business Insider, a related FinTech college project is also set to be launched at the Hartford campus. The company is also going to form partnerships with universities and colleges in Connecticut as well as offer tech-related courses, specifically in relation to cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence.
Bruno Wu settled on the location because of its proximity to numerous institutions of higher learning, such as the University of New Haven, Yale University, University of Connecticut, and the University of Hartford.
According to Bitstamp head of business Miha Grcar, the shortage of talent in the industry is more worrying than bitcoin’s price volatility. He states, “Globally, the pool of talent — people with experience in blockchain and distributed-ledger technology — is somewhat limited. This is a big challenge.”
SSC has reportedly secured $23 million in funding from the Changan Investment Group. They have also been granted a $10 million loan by the Connecticut state government.
China Leads the United States in Blockchain Patented Applications
The SSC move will contribute to the United States’ position as a major blockchain development zone.
China still leads the U.S. when taking into account the number of blockchain technology patents registered, though. Presently, the Asian nation has about four times the number of registered Artificial Intelligence patented applications than the U.S. It also has three times the number of registered blockchain patents as the United States, and is the world leader in the category.
Additionally, in the past two years, the number of logged blockchain patents in China has grown by five times.
The main driver of exponential growth in this sector is the Chinese government, which has gone out of its way to support the industry through subsidies. The semiconductor industry has also flourished because of this, giving competitor nations a run for their money.
The Chinese government has paid a lot of attention to startups and provides support for promising technologies and innovative ideas. This support gives small tech companies a competitive edge in the international scene.
Moreover, patents in China are not as expensive to obtain as in the United States and take a shorter time to acquire.
The Chinese Cryptocurrency Ban
Although trading in cryptocurrencies is banned in China, the country is on its way to becoming a cryptocurrency nation. Prior to the 2017 bitcoin price upsurge, China was the biggest crypto miner and trading hub by volume.
But then came the ban on Initiation Coin Offerings and cryptocurrency trading, and many businesses were forced to return funds to investors. Startups that had ongoing ICOs were forced to seek alternative bases in crypto friendly nations. The news contributed to cryptocurrency prices plummeting by 50 percent, with some coins losing as much as 70 percent of their value. However, prices recovered within a few weeks, a clear demonstration that the crypto fad was here to stay.
With anti-cryptocurrency laws still in effect in China, it’s easy to see why a company such as SSC would decide to open up a cryptocurrency and blockchain development hub in the United States, another country with a sizeable talent pool.