One of China’s largest e-commerce companies, JD.com (JD), has launched a new effort to accelerate the advancement of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology. The new business accelerator, called AI Catapult, will partner with blockchain startups to develop and test applications and build new businesses, JD.com announced.

JD already has an AI development program, which has focused on drones, robotics, automated machinery and supply chain technology. JD is also using blockchain technology for product and food safety.

AI Catapult, which will be based in Beijing, starts with an inaugural roster of companies that have already made advances in their field. They include the Chinese fintech pioneer Bankorous; Australia’s cryptocurrency leader CanYa; Bluezelle, the blockchain-powered database service based in Singapore; London-based Nuggets, the e-commerce payments and ID platform built on blockchain; and Devery, a blockchain powered, open-source, product verification protocol.

CanYa recently completed Australia’s second-largest initial coin offering, raising $12 million in cryptocurrency Ethereum over a 30-day period. In December, JD.com, Walmart (WMT) IBM (IBM), and Tsinghua University announced they had formed an alliance to leverage blockchain to help enhance food safety.

IBM and Walmart, in August, announced a new consortium to enhance food safety, using IBM’s blockchain technology. IBD’S TAKE: A wave of venture capital investment is pouring into blockchain technology startups, many of them directly involved in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Read more from investors.com…

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