Will the China of tomorrow run on the technology behind bitcoin?
(Source: scmp.com)

clicks | 6 days ago | comments: discuss | tags: cryptocurrency bitcoin


Article preview (bot search)

(Original link: scmp.com)

\n President Xi Jinping told the Communist Party elite in October he wanted the country to be a ‘rule maker’ on blockchain technology and ever since state media has been bombarding the public with articles on the subject \n One expert said it ‘could open a new chapter on the integration of governance and technology, if proved a reliable technology’ \n President Xi Jinping told the Communist Party elite in October he wanted the country to be a ‘rule maker’ on blockchain technology and ever since state media has been bombarding the public with articles on the subject. Blockchain, a new technology most associated with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin , looks set to play a major role in China’s governance after receiving an endorsement by Chinese President Xi Jinping, observers say. Speaking at a study session for members of the Politburo last month, Xi said blockchain would play “an important role in the next round of technological innovation and industrial transformation”, suggesting it will be central to the country’s race against the United States for technological supremacy. According to a report by Xinhua, Xi called for China to become a world leader and “rule maker” in the field, saying blockchain had applications in the financial, manufacturing and public sectors. While he did not mention state governance as a possible application, the Communist Party and governments at all levels are likely to see Xi’s comments as a call to action. People’s Daily , the party’s mouthpiece, ran an editorial on its website days after Xi’s speech, saying “officials and party cadres must understand that the top leadership attaches high importance to blockchain technology due to the prospects of its application in the real economy, people’s livelihood and the state governance”. \n Since then, state media has been bombarding the public with articles about blockchain and the need to embrace the technology. On November 24, authorities in Deqing, a small city in the eastern province of Zhejiang became the first in the country to host an international blockchain summit. Zhang Feng, chief engineer at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said in his keynote speech at the event that China would seek to establish a national committee for blockchain standards and prioritise research into developing applications for it. I worry that people have oversold blockchain to Xi as a magic cure-all James Andrew Lewis, Centre for Strategic and International Studies Mu Rongping, director of the innovation and development research centre at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said blockchain was likely to become a key feature in China’s future governance. “China has been conducting governance modernisation for two decades – from the digitalisation of information to the utilisation of big data and artificial intelligence,” he said. “The potential is huge for the use of new technologies, such as in areas of public security, public transport, crime investigation and anti-corruption campaigns. “Blockchain could open a new chapter on the integration of governance and technology, if proved a reliable technology.” China comes down hard on cryptocurrencies China’s 13th five-year plan for 2016-20 stresses the role of artificial intelligence and blockchain in the development of the country’s strategic technological advantage. Although Beijing has cracked down on the mining and trading of cryptocurrencies, it has never outlawed blockchain as a technology. Rather, local governments have set up industrial estates to attract blockchain start-ups, in response to the call to support innovation. Chen Jing, a researcher with the Beijing-based Fengyun Institute of Science, Technology and Strategy said that blockchain was a complicated concept to understand but that specialists were trying to help officials understand its benefits. “Details of the technology may be complicated, but business insiders and experts have been making efforts to educate government officials at various levels for years. Its advantages as a decentralised, transparent and immutable system are not difficult to understand,” he said. “While officials are eager to embrace innovation and companies are keen to develop solutions to satisfy the needs of governments, we’ll probably see wider applications in governance in the coming years if the technology turns out to be reliable.” China dampens blockchain fever with cryptocurrency trading crackdown More than 500 blockchain projects have been registered with the Cyberspace Administration of China, which in January required every entity working with the technology to register their projects for supervision. Of the registered projects, most relate to financial applications like trade finance, asset management and cross-border payments. The three tech giants Baidu, Alibaba – which owns the South China Morning Post – and Tencent are behind many of the projects, though there are also dozens of government-led initiatives and schemes, in areas rangin...