China's State Media & Largest Newspaper Lauds Blockchain Technology

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The People's Daily — China's largest paper and official outlet of the Communist party today published a feature article on blockchain technology. The piece was highly optimistic, describing the numerous potential benefits of the technology to both Chinese citizens and the paper's three million global readers.

Blockchain was described as possibly the next net, with the publication stating that Chinese governments would better promote and utilize blockchain technology so as to continue to improve infrastructure and strengthen the formulation of applicable laws and policies.

A distinction was however made between blockchain and cryptocurrencies — the piece pointed out that blockchain is the underlying infrastructure and technology of bitcoin, but that there may be many more implementations of this technology. Whilst no direct criticism of virtual currencies was created, the piece did warn citizens of investing in overseas projects. Earlier this month China's Internet Financial Awareness body called for greater awareness regarding the risks of ICOs, (Initial Coin Offerings), and today's article expanded on this announcement. Instead, they have been described as «fishing for capital» — a procedure draining very good investment money into bad hands.

The Chinese authorities' efforts to spread awareness of the risks of ICO's follow strong crackdowns. Last September the authorities issued a sweeping ban on ICO's and pressured cryptocurrency exchanges to shut. According to data obtained from Coinmarketcap, Chinese market volume, which represented over 98 percent of global markets dropped a staggering amount to just 15 percent.

Whilst the country has been strong-handed on cryptocurrencies, today's book shows that the authorities recognize the potential of the technology underpinning them. With reports circulating last year that China has plans to make its own national cryptocurrency, it seems likely that the government's key concern has been its lack of control over improvements. The report appears to imply that whilst it's unlikely that entirely decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and other systems will return, China wishes to adopt the technology underpinning them — on its own terms.