China may not like cryptocurrencies but is pushing blockchain across 164 cities, companies and other entities
- China’s government has announced an internal push to speed up blockchain development and innovation across 15 zones and 164 entities.
- The notice by the Central Cyberspace Administration (CAC) includes a list of cities, companies and other organisations that will directly be involved with blockchain-based pilot projects.
- These projects will span across multiple departments including manufacturing, energy, criminal trials, civil affairs, education, the equity markets and others.
- The country is also focusing on making blockchain networks from different provinces work alongside each other.
China may have shunned cryptocurrency miners from within its borders, but the country is far from done when it comes to the underlying blockchain technology. On January 30, the Central Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced that the country is going to speed up blockchain development and innovation across 15 zones and 164 entities.
The notice lists out cities, companies and other organisations that will directly be involved with the blockchain-based pilot projects across the country. This includes the Nanjing Iron and Steel, Qingdao Haier Refrigerator, and Aerospace Information in manufacturing, state power grids for energy management, courts and justice bureaus, as well as Beijing University, Xidian University, Sichuan University and other educational institutes.
The notice comes on the footsteps of China launching its own infrastructure for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) earlier this month. The government-run Blockchain Based Service Network (BSN) released its own NFT platform on January 25.
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The circular by the CAC “emphasises” the need to “focus on collaborative advancement” for blockchain development in the country. It also asked provincial network information offices and industry supervisory departments in China to focus on “promoting the pilot construction work together”, which shows that the government wants to ensure interoperability between the different networks from the get go.
Further, the government’s notice also identifies certain key areas for blockchain development, including manufacturing, energy, government data sharing and services, law enforcement, taxation, criminal trials, inspection, civil affairs, copyright, education, human society, healthcare, risk control, trade finance, cross-border finance, and equity markets.
Not the first effort
To be sure, China’s interest in blockchain isn’t particularly new. The country was the first in the world to start testing a central bank digital currency (CBDC), usually referred to as the digital yuan, which is also expected to make an appearance at the Beijing Olympics this year. According to data released by the People’s Bank of China earlier this month, the cumulative transactions in the digital yuan have touched around $13.68 billion in the last two years.
The BSN-led NFT platform — called the BSN-Distributed Digital Certificate (BSN-DDC) — is supposed to make ten blockchains that will allow NFT technology to be used as a digital certification tool.
Crypto crackdownOn the other hand, China’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies began early last year, when the country started ushering crypto miners away from its borders. Since then, large crypto miners and exchanges like Huobi have set up shop in other countries, drastically reducing China’s share in the global mining hashrate.
In October last year, a report from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance noted that the United States had replaced China as the largest contributor to crypto mining in the world. The US’ share went up from 17% in April to 35% at the time, coinciding with China’s various crackdowns on crypto mining.
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