Understanding JD’s Interest in Blockchain Technology


Mar. 16 2018, Updated 7:32 a.m. ET

JD launched accelerator for blockchain startups

Last month, JD.com (JD) launched a new accelerator program for AI (artificial intelligence) and blockchain startups. JD’s AI Catapult, as the program is called, launched shortly after JD’s Logistics unit joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (or BiTA).

BiTA was set up to develop and promote blockchain standards for global freight and logistics companies. Other BiTA members include United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx (FDX). Global shipping giant Maersk is also involved in blockchain work for logistics in partnership with IBM (IBM).

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JD’s AI Catapult backing six startups in first wave

JD’s blockchain accelerator launched with the backing of six startups, including China’s financial technology company Bankorous and Australia’s cryptocurrency specialist CanYa. Other startups backed by the program are Singapore-based blockchain-powered database service Bluezelle, London-based identification platform Nuggets, and product verification protocol provider Devery.

JD’s AI Catapult will focus on areas such as operational efficiency, energy consumption, security, and scalability.

Leveraging blockchain to cut costs and inject more transparency

JD hopes to partner with these startups under its AI Catapult accelerator program to develop new applications and businesses around their technologies.

In blockchain technology, logistics companies see the potential to cut costs and bring more efficiency and transparency to their operations. From JD to Amazon (AMZN) and Alibaba (BABA), e-commerce companies are making logistics investments to speed up their own order fulfillments and to generate extra revenue by delivering orders on behalf of other sellers.

JD’s revenue jumped 38.7% year-over-year to $16.9 billion in 4Q17.


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