The Chinese government is known for implementing new laws and rules overnight. Recently, the Chinese government announced that it will require all blockchain companies to censor their content. The goal of this censorship is to promote “orderly development” within their ecosystem.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) will require users of blockchain platforms to submit their real names, national IDs, and even telephone numbers, Reuters reports.
All of the censorship will be in effect next month.
A lot of people might be surprised after hearing this news because most countries usually go through some sort of political meeting before implementing any censorship related laws, however, China isn’t a newcomer when it comes to censorship. If the government feels that something needs to be censor from the public, the country will implement the new laws almost instantly. This has happened with the movie industry in the past.
Censorship in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is implemented or mandated by the PRC’s ruling party, the Communist Party of China (CPC). The government censors content for mainly political reasons, but also to maintain its control over the populace.
China’s relationship with blockchain and cryptocurrencies
China has already effectively declared victory in its war on cryptocurrency, which began when the government outlawed initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency exchanges in September 2017.
During that time, the Renminbi (Chinese Dollars) was discovered in over 90 percent of Bitcoin trades. By July last year, China‘s central bank presented data showing less than one percent of global Bitcoin trade used the Renminbi. As we can tell, the results are in effect quite quickly.
Despite all the laws, research indicates that major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen have all backed blockchain projects, the latter of which established a $72 million fund to encourage growth.
We’ve also seen tech giants like Alibaba and Baidu invest heavily into blockchain related projects and offer blockchain as a service for local blockchain startups and enterprise companies.
But if the future of China‘s blockchain sector is built on enforced censorship and recording the identities of users, one can’t help but consider whether its government has missed the point entirely.
Back in August of last year, blockchain and cryptocurrency media accounts in China have been banned on WeChat, the messenger app owned by Tencent.
Due to users’ complaints and after the platform’s examinations, the accounts on Wechat were found to violate ‘Temporary Regulations on the Development and Management of Public Information Services for Instant Messaging Tools’ and all contents have been banned. Ever since then, most chat groups and blockchain related accounts were banned from usage.
Back in March, People’s Daily, the state-run media outlet in China, directly criticized blockchain and cryptocurrency media outlets in China and claimed that these media outlets were helping manipulate the cryptocurrency market.
Notably, Jun Du, the founder and CEO of Huobi, was named in the commentary as “a classic example” of the problem in China’s blockchain media ecosystem.
Usually considered as the voice of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People’s Daily’s commentary was seen by some as the government’s call for stricter regulations on blockchain media outlets.
May not be the end..
Although China seems to be quite serious with the new censorship, this does not mean that it is the end for blockchain in China. We spoke with a few leaders of blockchain companies that operates outside of China and representatives of the company mentioned that this won’t stop their operations. They believe that China is known for this and as a business, you just need to navigate your way around it.