China’s Dive Into Blockchain, Digital ID Spurs Rest of World to Action

News on crypto and blockchain technology is coming in abundance from China. This became especially true in late October 2019, when the Chinese President Xi Jinping called for accelerating the use of blockchain technology in the country.

President Xi identified dozens of use cases that should be promoted: loans, health care, anti-counterfeiting, charity and food security. Xi emphasized that blockchain development could “China gain an edge in the theoretical, innovative and industrial aspects of this emerging field.” That was the green light the Chinese blockchain startups and ongoing projects needed to further accelerate their development.

A few days after the announcement, China launched a blockchain-based smart city identification system to support the interaction between infrastructure, data and cities. The system was put in motion by the China Center for Urban Development, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and the Zhongguancun Industrial and Information Research Institute for Two-Dimensional Code Technology.

The system — developed, distributed and managed in China — is based on uniform issuing rules, analysis of distributed storage, and protection against unauthorized access. Until now, the coding systems were not uniform, meaning that data could not be easily shared between different ministries and industries.

But the Chinese government seems to have an idea of how blockchain technology could facilitate workflow in various sectors of the economy, and thereby bring economic benefits. However, China is not the first country to start looking in the direction of putting IDs on a blockchain.

Baby steps to giant leaps

The first step toward blockchain was made in 2016, when China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology published a white paper on China’s blockchain technology and application development, which lists the benefits of blockchain and explains how its applications could be regulated in different sectors of economy. Several industries…

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