In October 2019, a public speech made by the Chinese President, Xi Xinping, caused a historic pump in Bitcoin. While the effect on Bitcoin’s price or speculations of buyers from China was momentary, the Government has rightfully so embarked upon their blockchain plans.
The Central Bank Digital Currency is already live and being tested across multiple private and government services. However, the Government does not intend to stop with a digital currency. Their plans are far more elaborate and something that FinTech and crypto investors have been pitching since 2016 – a programmable society.
The Government released a blueprint of their plans and results of the pilot programmes across the country. The title of the 145-page blue book published in Chinese is ‘Blockchain application innovation in Beijing municipal services.’
“Programmable Society”-Blockchain 3.0
The Government released its plans of implementing Blockchain3.0 in local municipal to governmental level to create a more autonomous system. The ‘Beijing Action plan’ leads the path for blockchain applications in government services and cross-ministerial affairs. It also includes an autonomous identity authentication information, the eKYC system, as one of the many applications.
Reports of pilot municipal applications in regions like Haidian District and Xicheng District were also shared. The report includes the ‘Technical Specifications of the Beijing Municipal Government Blockchain Platform (Draft).” This document shares the complete specifications of its designs.
Balaji Srinivasan, VC investor and economist who shared the report notes,
A programmable government is a powerful thing. A standardization of various APIs, a government as a technology platform. The network state.
The plan is futuristic and some might argue that the world is leading towards that blueprint in one way or other. For some, the way is important than the result. Chinese blockchain plans are not built on a trustless system, but one with absolute government control.
Alex Gladstein, the CSO at the Human Rights Foundation has been continually raising his voice against it. According to him, the Chinese Government will use it as a tool “to prolong the lifespan of a regime that is built on cruelty and fear.” Hence, he intends on backing Bitcoin.
Nevertheless, Trustless or not, the plans are far more advanced than any other country in the world. Srinivasan notes,
This looks real, unlike a lot of vaporware in the space. This is an official government document in Chinese that appears to lay out system diagrams, specific data structures, and API calls.
He also states that China is surpassing the US in a technology & execution standpoint and the copy culture in China is slowly becoming a myth.
How do you the new society will affect the world at large? Please share your views with us.