The China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), a research institution under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, on Tuesday launched the Trusted Blockchain Open Lab, the first government-led initiative to support blockchain technology development. CAICT said it is also preparing a platform on which blockchain firms and experts will work together to advance the application of the technology, Caixin reports. China became the first country to ban fundraising through cryptocurrencies built on blockchain technology when it deemed the practice illegal in early September. All major Chinese bitcoin exchanges are slated to close by Oct. 31 at the latest, with most shutting down by the end of this month. The new technology’s complexity and ability to cross sectors have spawned illegal activities, Di Gang, vice director the central bank’s digital currency research institute, said at a blockchain conference on Tuesday. “There have been many blockchain conferences where the number of business personnel exceeds technical personnel,” he said.