For a wider overview of blockchain technology see Rick on InsurTech here
This month we speak to the CEO of ChainB, James Gong, China’s leading blockchain publication. Although ChainB hasn’t entered the insurance industry, James has a seen several blockchain based Chinese InsurTechs and has a sense of how blockchain can be relevant for insurers.
- Will there be a regulatory restrictions placed on blockchain inititatives in China similar to the recent restrictions on ICO’s?
For us, we don’t think it would be treated as restrictive as ICO, since the general atmosphere towards the blockchain industry in China is relatively positive, especially for that the blockchain technology is listed as one of the key FinTechs in the thirteenth five-year development plan.
- What is the most interesting use case of blockchain within the insurance industry?
There have been a series of promising use cases focused on insurance now both in China and overseas, such as Lloyd’s sees great potential in blockchain for its transparency, high efficiency and other smart features. In China, the leader is Zhongtuobang, an application and platform to realize shared medical care through mutual participation from multiple actors in the healthcare value chain.
- It seems some of the use cases for blockchain in insurance could also be achieved by the use of an encrypted databases that would store data in an immutable, albeit centralised manner
Actually, an encrypted database cannot fully ensure immutability, since the centralized manner of such databases means the data can be accessed, while in blockchain, the core features are decentralised and immutable, it’s therefore impossible to change the data on the chain because it’s not stored in a single location by definition.
- In terms of insurance use cases, which are the most promising blockchain startups in China?
Beijing based Zhongtuobang is probably the most innovative in terms of blockchain startups. However Ping An and Alibaba seem even more promising in terms of deploying blockchain.
- Which will have a more disruptive effect on the insurance industry – blockchain or AI?
We think both these two technologies have immense ability to disrupt the world, and in the future there may even be some use cases to combine blockchain with AI, but AI and blockchain are still early stage and have been developed on very distinct principles. I think it’s difficult to pick which will prove the most disruptive force now.
- It seems blockchain is still in its infancy, how long will it take blockchain to reach scale in the insurance industry? Is this dependant on finding a proven use case?
Yes the architecture underpinning blockchain is still early stage, so generally speaking, it may take at least three years to see some scale in insurance industry. And, we think the future mode of insurance based on blockchain could be totally disruptive, it may not be a simple combination of the blockchain technology and insurance products and services, but a completely brand-new business model.
To read the latest insurance innovation news and features in Chinese on WeChat visit our page at: