The Australian government is proposing legislation to counter foreign meddling and cyberattacks, as well as strengthen anti-spying measures. Illustration: iStock
Illustration: iStock

More than 20 Chinese technology experts from universities, research institutes and businesses attended a seminar called “Blockchain technology helps China’s new social credit system” on January 14, English-language news outlet reported on Wednesday.

China’s social credit system is a citizen reputation system that the Chinese government is currently developing. Social credit regional trials began in 2009, while a national pilot started in 2014. Four years after the national pilot began, the efforts were centralized under the purview of the country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, Cointelegraph reported.

Now, Chinese experts presumably want to leverage the reliability and immutability of blockchain technology to make sure that social credit data is always accessible and cannot be changed by unauthorized actors.

The Yunhe (Zhejiang) Technology Group, the Yunhe New Social Credit System Joint Research Institute, the China Blockchain Enterprise Social Responsibility Research Institute, and the Beijing Huaxia Industrial Network Intelligent Technology Research Institute all jointly organized the seminar.

Citizens are always watched

The social credit system establishes a score representative of every citizen’s trustworthiness. The score is largely influenced by artificial intelligence and the processing of data from the millions of CCTV cameras installed in mainland China.

Things that negatively influence one’s score include, but are not limited to, playing loud music or eating on public transit, violating traffic rules, making reservations at restaurants or hotels but not showing up, and failing to correctly sort personal waste. Consequences of a low score include being denied high-speed rail or air travel tickets.

In mid-November last year, Andre Szykier, the CTO at bitcoin ATM operator Blockchain BTM, suggested that cryptocurrency speculation will likely negatively influence one’s social credit rating.

The Chinese government and domestic businesses have embraced blockchain technology with open arms, applying it to various business, trade and administrative processes across myriad different industries. In October, President Xi Jinping called for the country to accelerate its adoption of blockchain tech.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, the People’s Bank of China has already completed the top-layer design and joint testing of its soon-to-be-released central bank digital currency.

Meanwhile, a new survey has shown that blockchain investments in China in investment and financing deals dropped in 2019 by more than 40%. Over the course of last year, there were around 245 investment and financing deals in China, which is almost 60% less than in 2018, Crypto Currency News reported.

According to data collected by state-run media Xinhua and financial data platform Rhino Data, the total Chinese blockchain investments last year accounted for around $3.6 billion. These figures were released by Xinhua Finance on January 15, and it indicates a 40.8% drop in investment in 2019 compared to the previous year.

Also read: Why China’s digital yuan is ‘a dictator’s dream’

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