Tuesday, 23 October 2018 06:21

China tightens rules around services using blockchain

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China tightens rules around services using blockchain Pixabay

Chinese citizens will have to register for online services that utilise blockchain technology using their real names, with the government publishing draft regulations to this effect for public consultation.

The South China Morning Post reported that the draft rules were open for comment until 2 November, but there was no indication of when they would take effect.

Beijing has not hesitated to impose restrictions on technologies that it feels will lead to events that could affect society in an adverse way as it sees them.

A ban on cryptocurrency exchanges was put in place last year and the government also prohibited any initial coin offerings. Chinese businesses have got around this ban by shifting their servers to foreign countries.

But that does not free them from the jurisdiction of Chinese laws if they are citizens of China. Chinese investors who have invested in ICOs taking place abroad or have traded cryptocurrencies on overseas exchanges will also be trapped by these laws.

Cryptocurrencies can be held in China, and bought and sold, but the government has said clearly that any use of blockchain technology must benefit the real economy.

In August, China's Internet watchdog shut down several accounts on WeChat which were focused on blockchain and cryptocurrency news.

The SCMP report said the latest rules were published in the wake of an open letter being published on the ethereum blockchain by an activist, about the alleged cover-up of sexual harassment at a well-known university more than 20 years ago.

The letter was attached to an ethereum transfer to the poster and was visible to all users of the blockchain.

The report said the rules had not addressed the fact that data on a blockchain is not changeable and therefore runs counter to Chinese laws about user data.

It quoted Beijing-based lawyer Xu Kai as saying the new rules did not enforce the rights of users on blockchain platforms.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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