China has announced the launch of a variety of technical committees for standardization of several industries. The committees will focus on the sharing economy, children’s products, and, most notably, blockchain technology.
Since October 2019, China’s President Xi Jinping said that he wanted his country to “take the leading position in the emerging field of blockchain.”
Launching a technical committee around blockchain technology signals that the country is keeping the President’s promise.
The objective of a technical committee is to unify efforts on a given subject. There exist such groups for printing circuits, alkaline batteries, solar photovoltaic energy systems, and several others.
Each of these groups draft standards within their field, which pass through a review-and-vote process before being published. These standards can be understood as the mechanism through which China coordinates objectives within specific fields across the entire country. Each standard is again reviewed every five years.
Thus, the technical committee established around blockchain and distributed ledger technology will engage in this same process. Although it is somewhat unclear, the SAC identified the blockchain technical committee in the context of China’s national standard. This indicates that officials have placed a high priority on the committee’s formation.
In China there exist four levels of standard: national, professional (industry-specific), local, and enterprise. These levels help to identify which organization is responsible for any given project. Standards found at the local or enterprise level, for instance, are managed by local governments or the private sector respectively.
Those found within the national standard are compulsory, or the near-equivalent of technical regulations, according to the Seconded European Standardization Expert in China.
For reference, the SESEC is an organization that interprets equivalent metrics of technological innovation all over the world to ensure accurate co-regulation between countries. This is because China’s definition of “progress” may be much different for those outside the country.
For standards established at the national level, only The Standardization of the People’s Republic of China (SAC) can give approval. The SAC is an administrative body formed in 2001 and makes up part of China’s sweep of reforms which “opened” the country to Western economies.
The SAC concluded its most recent announcement in stating that they are interested in helping “high-tech innovation, promote high levels of openness, and lead high quality development.”
Ultimately, commentators in the crypto space are watching the Chinese government slowly integrate the blockchain sector. The most recent announcement also references the sharing economy and comes hot on the heels of many similar reports.
Outside of President Xi championing blockchain technology in October 2019, Shanghai also established a “blockchain alliance” to facilitate trade and finance according to the Chinese daily tabloid, Global Times. These developments, plus China’s upcoming launch of a national digital currency, further characterize an increasingly pro-blockchain stance in the country.