Tencent, Huawei, and Baidu are among the companies that will comprise a new committee tasked with setting up national standards for blockchain and distributed ledger technology, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced (in Chinese) yesterday. The proposal is open for public comment until May 12, 2020.
Why it matters: Chinese authorities have been ramping up their efforts to boost blockchain as a strategically important technology. But the industry is crowded with many players, big and small, and standards are lacking.
- In September, authorities cracked down on cryptocurrency scams and schemes. Authorities raided a startups with $600 million in funding.
Details: The committee is comprised of 71 members, including people from well-known tech companies from all verticals, including Tencent, Baidu, Huawei, JD, and Ping An.
- The list includes the People’s Bank of China Digital Currency Institute, several government bodies such as cybersecurity and standardization authorities, judicial bodies like the Beijing Internet Court, and several of China’s top academic institutions.
- MIIT’s vice-minister Chen Zhaoxiong will chair the committee. One of the five vice-chairs of the committee is Di Gang, vice head of the PBOC’s Digital Currency Research Institute.
- The list also includes provincial governments such as Beijing, Guangdong, and Jiangsu.
- The MIIT did not give details as to what the committee will be doing or a timeline of its activities.
Context: Just 5 days ago, the MIIT released a set of standards for information security of blockchain applications, among others, for public comment.
- A speech from Xi Jinping last year marked a change in Chinese regulators’ view of blockchain. Now, China wants is eagerly trying to be a leader in blockchain and cryptocurrency tech.
- The PBOC is working on its own cryptocurrency. Authorities are working on a unified underlying blockchain infrastructure called the blockchain service network.
- The country was the world’s most active destination of blockchain financing in 2019, data from consultancy firm PANews said.