The local government of Beijing released on Thursday a blueprint of its plan to implement a blockchain-based programmable government.
Why it matters: This is the first time China’s capital city has laid out details of how it will implement blockchain in its operations.
Details: The government’s main goals in the plan are to build a blockchain-based unified framework for digital governance, facilitate data-sharing between agencies and businesses, and enable cross-departmental and cross-regional collaboration.
- The 145-page blueprint lays out only the first steps in achieving the most ambitious blockchain project in a mega city like Beijing.
- The city wants to reap the efficiency and trust benefits of blockchain-based governance, but also become a global hub for the development and application of distributed ledger technology.
- Deliberation to select the 12 application cases to spearhead the project began in November, just weeks after Xi Jinping’s speech.
Beijing’s 12 blockchain application cases
|Municipal Commercial Bureau Airport International Logistics Blockchain Platform||Logistics, cross-border trade||Data sharing between merchants, logistics operators, customs authorities, regulators, airport authorities to facilitate customs in cross-border air cargo trade.|
|Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Port Customs Clearance||Logistics, cross-border trade||Data sharing between port authorities, tax agencies, and customs authorities to coordinate between port terminals.|
|City Financial Electronic Identity Authentication System||Enterprise banking||Reduce time and application materials, while ensuring identity authentication in enterprise banking.|
|City Electronics Bills System||Billing||Improve the ability of businesses to issue bills and track reimbursement.|
|Haidian District Finance Platform for SMEs||Finance for SMEs||Improve access to capital for SMEs and risk management for their lenders.|
|Municipal Real Estate Registration System||Property management||Revamp the management of real estate, including mortgages, deposits, utility bills, tax audits, and more.|
|Multi-terminal Business Licensing System||Enterprise Regulation||Improve authentication processes for businesses, as well as collaboration between firms through electronic certificates.|
|Internet+Government Haidian District Pilot||E-governance||Create a “national benchmark” for comprehensive blockchain-powered government. More than 100 government agencies will implement blockchain for managing anything from high-tech enterprises to unemployment benefits.|
|Xicheng District Government Services Pilot||E-governance||Improve bureaucratic efficiency for various government services through data sharing and electronic certificates.|
|Chaoyang District Government Services Pilot||E-governance||Improve bureaucratic efficiency for various government services through data sharing and electronic certificates.|
|Shunyi District Government Services Pilot||E-governance||Improve bureaucratic efficiency for various government services through data sharing, smart contracts and electronic certificates.|
|Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone Government Services||Enterprise governance||Create a “one-stop” service platform in the special economic zone that manages government services. This will help make the area “a world-class business environment,” according to Beijing.|
- The plan does not include details about the blockchain-based, city-wide identity and social credit platform promised in previous statements from the Beijing government.
- The blockchain work committee is led by the Beijing Municipal Government Service Bureau, the Municipal Science and Technology Commission, and the Municipal Economic Information Bureau.
- Already, 140 government services use blockchain, the government said in a statement. The applications include data sharing, linking businesses to save time, and epidemic control. These have helped resume production after the Covid-19 lockdown, and led to a 40% reduction in paperwork, according to the statement.
Context: Just two weeks ago, Beijing announced its plan to become a global hub for blockchain technology by 2022. It is one of 11 cities across China to release official strategies based on the technology.
- Other than government applications, the city wants to support private sector innovation. It will also create a fund dedicated to supporting blockchain startups, a “talent training system,” and set up dedicated blockchain development parks.
- Beijing’s plan is only one of major government-backed blockchain projects. Southern Hainan province’s special economic zone set up policies that have attracted major companies, and state-owned enterprises are working to build a globally-oriented “internet of blockchains.”
- Since Xi Jinping’s speech in October praising blockchain, Chinese authorities have reversed its treatment of the technology.
- Blockchain, and especially cryptocurrencies, were viewed with suspicion and faced heavy regulatory headwinds in the past.
- Even bitcoin mining is coming into the mainstream, with Sichuan authorities setting up favorable policies.