China’s blockchain technology ambitions may be even greater than once thought – with a media outlet claiming to have seen evidence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s blockchain planning.
In a report from the Epoch Times, a New York-based outlet aligned with the Falun Gong movement, journalists reported they had seen internal documents that “show that the CCP has been planning” to push the nation’s provinces into action “for a long time” and “has aggressively promoted blockchain adoption” in many areas of domestic industry, with the aim of “seizing the high ground” in the battle to rule the internet 4.0 era.
The media outlet claimed that the documents proved that the CCP “attaches great importance to blockchain” – but added that there is a twist when it comes to adoption.
While blockchain technology traditionally revolves around models of decentralization, this is a philosophy that does not sit well with the CCP – many people’s very definition of the word “centralization.” As such, the media outlet continued, the CCP is pursuing private blockchain solutions that allow it to maintain control, while still getting the most out of the technology.
The media outlet, which is at loggerheads with Beijing on almost all matters, also claimed that the “CCP version of blockchain” could be turned “into a weapon to strengthen the party’s overall control” over politics in the nation.
It added that a number of Chinese provinces’ decisions to allocate public funds to fostering blockchain-related business growth had been directly influenced by central government briefings.
The latest of the provinces turning to blockchain appears to be the eastern, coastal province of Zhejiang. Reuters reported that the province’s latest five-year plan (to run from 2021 to 2025) included a number of blockchain-related pledges, including plans to “cultivate a number of listed companies with high market value.”
In October, the Chinese leader Xi Jinping gave a landmark speech on the matter, announcing that China needed to “seize the opportunities” that blockchain offered – sentiments he reiterated in a second speech in March last year.
Since then, Cryptonews.com reported, at least 32 provinces have published three- or five-year plans with bold promises about public and private blockchain expansion. Some have offered companies rich financial rewards for reaching unicorn status. A number of blockchain business parks have been built across the country, with provinces stumping up tranches of their budgets to fund R&D initiatives.
All the while, however, the country has enacted two notable crypto crackdowns: once in September 2017 and the second in summer 2021. This could go some way to prove the veracity of the hypothesis – put forward by the Epoch Times and previously by prominent China watchers – that when it comes to digital finance, Beijing will only play the blockchain game if it gets the final say over all the rules.
Their number includes the former Pan Pacific director Yusuke Takano, who last year noted that China was attempting to “lead the world in the [blockchain] sector through a concerted national effort.”
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