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Northumbria leads UK-China blockchain technology seminar in 800-year-old historic setting

22nd March 2019

Northumbria academic Professor Yu Xiong has led an international forum exploring how innovations in Blockchain technology can foster links between UK and the Chinese businesses, and new opportunities for collaboration.

The China UK Blockchain Application Forum was held at the historic Magna Carta Island near Windsor, widely regarded as the site where King John signed the Magna Carta more than 800 years ago. It was attended by Innovation UK, cross-party parliamentary innovation groups and world-leading academics in Blockchain technology from universities, including UCL, London School of Economics, Durham and Northumbria.

Blockchain is an emerging technology that is revolutionising the financial industry by changing the way transactions are made and recorded. By allowing digital information to be distributed but not copied, blockchain has created the backbone of a new type of internet and a peer-to-peer network built on the thee pillars of decentralisation, transparency and immutability – unchanging through time.

Professor Xiong, Chair of Technology and Operations Management at Newcastle Business School, said: “Blockchain is fundamentally changing the trust mechanism, and therefore the behavior, displayed in financial transactions; put simply it has the potential to reshape how we do things. Its applications also stretch far beyond just economic considerations, which will inevitably have wider impact and benefits on society. This presents significant opportunities, which is why bringing high profile Chinese and UK delegates together in this seminar is so significant. We were able to explore how Blockchain technology can help facilitate greater collaboration between businesses and organisations from both nations – something which should resonate with continuing Brexit uncertainties.

“I was also delighted to Chair the event from the historic and famous Magna Carta Island – the first time an innovation-inspired seminar has been held here. The UK has a rich history, as well as a high capability for innovation, which is why it was so symbolic to hold the forum here. China is also the world’s second largest economy and is seen by the UK Government as a natural innovation partner.”

Delegates to the seminar included Mr. Yuanfeng Chen, Chair of Magna Carta Island International Innovation Centre, Professor Jiang Duan, Director of Blockchain Research Centre of China, Mr. Guoyu Du, Co-founder of UKDE, Dr Jean-Francois Fava-Verde, Innovation Lead-Digital from Innovate UK, Professor Julian Williams, Co-Director in the Institute of Hazard and University of Durham, Dr. Garrick Hileman, Head of Blockchain Research from LSE. Also attending were Professor Birgitte Andersen, CEO of Big Innovation Centre, Mr Rob Fletcher, Geospatial Platforms and Solutions Manager, Satellite Application Catapult, Professor Paolo Tasca, CEO and founder of UCL CBT, Dr. Junyi Han, Han Senior Solution Architect from Minder Technology and 99P Recycling, Dr. Yunming Shao, Vice President and Investment Director, Tus Holding UK, and Dr. Tao Xu, Managing Director of Yitu Tech EU.

For more information on the China UK Blockchain Application Forum, or the Magna Carta Innovation Forum series please contact


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