China’s leaders are brushing up on blockchain technology. The People’s Daily Publishing House, which produces primers and educational materials on Marxism-Leninism and related political subjects, has recently announced a textbook “…to help cadres at all levels understand the blockchain.”
Titled “Blockchain—Leading Cadre’s Reader”, the textbook is a compilation of articles and essays by financial and technical specialists, according to an introduction in the People’s Daily.
Contributors to the new volume include figures from private companies, government bodies and capital funds. Ye Zhenzhen, president of People’s Daily Online, contributed an article to the new volume under the title “From Internet Thinking to Blockchain Thinking.”
An excerpt, reprinted in the Daily’s introduction, reads:
The biggest significance of blockchain technology at present is its operating mechanism. Through the ingenious combination of technologies, it can achieve the fair distribution of resources, thus ensuring that the community has consistent goals, and members have behavioral norms. This provides us a new approach to examine problems, and come up with solutions.
The Reader will be the second of a three-part series, along with “Artificial Intelligence–Leading Cadre Reader” and “Big Data–Leading Cadre Reader.”
This is unexpectedly favorable language, coming from a leading administrator of one of the reddest state-owned media groups. China’s ruling party and government have held crypto exchanges and ICOs at arms’ length, but they have wholeheartedly embraced blockchain technology. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has funded a key laboratory for blockchain research, and Crypto Briefing has previously reported on inter-Ministry collaboration to establish “national standards” for the blockchain by 2019.
In the private sector, China’s three leading tech giants have each launched experimental blockchain projects, as well as local government bodies. There were 456 blockchain-based companies in China as of the end of March, according to the MIIT.
Tax authorities in Shenzhen recently issued the first “blockchain-based invoice” on the Tencent blockchain, China Daily reports. According to China Daily “companies can submit applications for invoices and declare tax on the blockchain platform… which will automatically generate invoices after transactions are completed.”
And, while authorities have kept the country out of the cryptocurrency game, that hasn’t stopped them from watching on the sidelines. The government has issued monthly blockchain evaluations, ranking public chains on criteria like innovation, applications and speed.
Although there’s no sign that that the People’s government is planning to soften its position on cryptocurrencies, the deep interest with which Beijing is scrutinizing blockchain tech may be a sign of high-level interest.
In this sense, it’s hardly surprising that the government would limit blockchain development to trusted companies instead of mass crowdsales. President Xi has repeatedly identified Blockchain as a leading innovation, and the technology is also addressed in the current Five-Year Plan.
The author is invested in several cryptocurrencies.