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JD.com launches blockchain accelerator

JD.com Inc. said Feb. 27 that it launched AI Catapult, a Beijing-based accelerator program that will focus on blockchain startups.

Beginning in March, participating startups will collaborate with the Chinese e-commerce giant to test their technologies across JD's operations, including its online marketplaces and logistics network.

The program's first cohort includes Chinese fintech company Bankorous, Australian cryptocurrency business CanYa, Singaporean database service Bluezelle and British consumer blockchain platform Nuggets.

AI Catapult is designed to help JD make wider use of blockchain technology to increase efficiency and customer satisfaction. It is also expected to help JD's research division for artificial intelligence to develop improvements to blockchain technology, particularly in scalability, security, privacy, efficiency and energy consumption.

JD has already been applying AI and blockchain technology to its logistics, supply chain and retail operations.