Beijing’s local government on Tuesday released a two-year plan aimed at making the city a global hub for blockchain development and integrate the technology into its operations, from real estate to social credit.

Why it matters: Beijing is one of a handful of Chinese cities that has adopted blockchain. Nevertheless, the technology has typically made Chinese officials uneasy, and cryptocurrencies were completely banned in 2017.

  • With China’s capital actively trying to spur blockchain development and adoption, other cities are likely to follow suit.
  • The plan could lead to an unprecedented example of deploying blockchain in governing millions of people.
  • The government plans to set up a fund dedicated to blockchain, as well as a “talent training system” (our translation).

Details: The Beijing government wants to become an “influential” center for blockchain innovation, using the technology to promote “social and economic development” by 2022.

  • Beijing initially plans to build a unified identity and social credit platform. This will later serve as the basis for other blockchain-powered government services.
  • Blockchain will help the government keep track of people’s and businesses’ social credit through better information sharing, monitoring, and evaluation, according to the plan.
  • As a second step, Beijing aims to deploy blockchain in various domains. These include real estate registration, a first in China according to the Beijing municipality, property taxation, and electronic bills.
  • The government sees use cases in the domain of finance, specifically “supply chain finance, asset securitization, and cross-border payments.”
  • Other applications mentioned in the plan include law enforcement administration, medical data security, and traceability of e-commerce products.
  • The municipality will set up a special fund to allocate government funding to blockchain projects. The total amount was not disclosed.
  • Beijing also wants to set up blockchain hubs across the city, providing rent and research subsidies to startups.
  • The training system will add updated blockchain-focused materials to the training of government staff. It will also encourage blockchain companies to set up their own training centers.

Context: Since Chinese President Xi Jinping publicly advocated for blockchain adoption in October 2019, China’s local governments and entrepreneurs have rushed to take up his calls.

  • The southern Chinese province of Hainan is the most famous example of a blockchain hub in China. The island has attracted interest from major companies, including crypto exchange Huobi, which set up its headquarters there.
  • The central government is also backing a global “internet of blockchains” project. Red Date Technology is working with China UnionPay and China Mobile under the auspices of the State Administration Information Center to build a platform that aims to make developing blockchain applications cheaper around the world.
  • The various chains built on this platform will be able to exchange information with one another, a problem that hasn’t found a popular solution around the world.

Eliza Gkritsi

Eliza is TechNode's community listening reporter at the Shanghai office. She acts as a link between the editorial team and TechNode Squared members. She previously worked as a reporter for WikiTribune...

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