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Decentralized Drunkards: Baijiu is on the Blockchain

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Well, this is just getting ridiculous. In an unnecessary and somehow unsurprising turn of events, baijiu is now on the blockchain.

The sorghum-based millet wine is officially on the ledger, thanks to Guxiaojiu, a start-up founded last year by an ex-Xiaomi executive. Though they’ve been eager to tout their new liquor as a blockchain-enabled inebriant, they haven’t really outlined what that entails. Instead, they’ve kind of skirted around the issue, mysteriously pointing to it as incorporating “blockchain tracking technology.”

Related:

Baidu’s New Blockchain Game Wants You to Help Build a Universe

Apparently, that technology will help deter bootleggers from imitating their no-name baijiu brand. It comes across as the latest play in a now-common marketing scheme in China, and also a very simple one: put “blockchain” in everything. Edward Evenson, Product Manager at blockchain developer Wanchain’s Beijing office, explains:

Guxiaojiu’s move to incorporate blockchain into their brand strategy comes as no surprise. As a new company attempting to compete in an established market, Guxiaojiu recognizes the benefits of associating itself with blockchain and cryptocurrency, and they aren’t the only ones. Just last year Kodak and Long Island Iced Tea Corp. jumped onto the hype train and witnessed explosive results, with their company stocks shooting up as high as 300%.

While supply chains are an excellent use case for blockchain, each company doesn’t need its own. There will likely only be a few dominant chains in the future. Meanwhile, Guxiaojiu can enjoy some much needed attention at little cost to them.

Much like your favorite hot sauce, blockchain can be the secret ingredient that changes a run-of-the-mill startup into an exciting and buzzworthy company. In fact, by July of this year, the number of new companies in China that featured “blockchain” in their name was already six times greater than the number for the entire year of 2017.

If you’re a scholar, and want to learn more about China’s blockchain ecosystem, check out this explainer, also from Edward Evenson:

China Explained: Where Now For China’s Blockchain Market?

If you’re a lecherous drunk, and want to learn more about the quickest way to get from zero to hammered, here’s some baijiu background:

Firewater Shots and Moutai Worship: A Baijiu Pilgrimage to China’s “Liquor Golden Triangle”

Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a Shanghai-based writer, producer, and multimedia artist, and the Associate Editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip-hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school so he could train at the Shaolin Temple, but now just uses it to interview rappers.

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