China will soon require blockchain users to register with their government IDs

China’s central government has drafted a new regulation that would strip blockchains of their anonymity, requiring users to provide their real names …

China’s central government has drafted a new regulation that would strip blockchains of their anonymity, requiring users to provide their real names and national ID card numbers when registering for a blockchain service. Trading Bitcoin is already banned in the country, but the policy will place significant restrictions on ongoing blockchain development.

On Friday, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s internet regulator, released a draft of the policy, which would also require blockchain services to remove “illegal information” quickly before it spreads among users. The services will also be required to retain backups of user data for six months and provide them to law enforcement whenever necessary. Users who break the nation’s laws will be warned, have access to their accounts restricted, or have their accounts shut down, depending on what service providers deem appropriate.

The new rules are open to comment from the public until November 2nd, but it’s not clear when the policy will be enacted. It’s also less than obvious whether Beijing will take the comments into consideration and modify the policy in any way.

China moved to ban domestic bitcoin exchanges last year, including all initial coin offerings and launches of digital currencies. In February, it eliminated cryptocurrency trading altogether by banning foreign exchanges, although the development of blockchain technology was still allowed.

But the government’s policies on blockchain have been more favorable in the past. A July internet industry report from the South China Morning Post and 500 Startups Greater China found that the Chinese government was supportive of blockchain services — at least on the local level. Being technologically forward-thinking, startup central Shenzhen and Alibaba’s hometown of Hangzhou established large blockchain funds. It now appears that this aspect of forward thinking will come with some additional caveats that challenge one of blockchain’s core advantages: privacy and anonymity.

These kinds of restrictions can already be seen within China’s mobile payments industry. Unlike PayPal, WeChat Pay requires users to register with a bank card or a national ID for over 1000 RMB ($143.99) in order to use the service. Weibo and other web services have a similar policy: you’re prompted to enter a Chinese phone number at minimum.

There have been two notable instances this year where Chinese users were able to subvert state censors through the blockchain. In April, student activists took to the Ethereum blockchain to post an open letter about sexual assault and harassment that was written by a student who had been threatened by her college not to talk. In July, Chinese internet users who were angry about low-quality vaccines published a viral news article on the blockchain in order to preserve it from censorship. Both the letter and article are still available on the blockchain, likely to the chagrin of internet regulators.

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Cryptocurrency Researchers Discover That Blockchain Technology Will Make Internet Voting …

Before now, many experts believed that blockchain technology will be highly beneficial if it applied to internet voting. However, the research from three …

Before now, many experts believed that blockchain technology will be highly beneficial if it applied to internet voting. However, the research from three IC3 researchers has proven otherwise. The research was published by Business Insider and it showed an argument that proved that the blockchain technology will not be beneficial in the internet voting system. In fact, it will make things worse.

Blockchain Technology And Internet Voting

According to the researchers, blockchain is beneficial in many other industries so its understandable to think that it will also be beneficial in the internet voting industry as well. The blockchain is immutable in nature. So, it’s easy to conclude that using it for internet voting will make results less susceptible to fraud. However, these researchers claim that nothing can fix the basic issues with internet voting: not even the blockchain technology. Why is this so?

Well, for starters using smartphones to vote appears logical. However, the process is more complicated than it might appear at first glance. It’s true that it is convenient and this may lead to an increase in participation, but one fact that cannot be disputed is that voting is too important to be put online.

While the blockchain technology is extremely secure, the researchers pointed out that the software and hardware being used might still leave room for manipulation in terms of security. There is also the problem of internet outage. Till this date, experts are trying to figure out how much the Russian government influenced the United State 2016 president election through the internet. This shows how far adversaries and foreign governments will go to influence the result of elections by exploring vulnerabilities. So, even if blockchain technology is implemented, technical vulnerabilities can still be exploited.

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As if this isn’t enough, the researchers said that the security of blockchain technology might end up making things worse instead of better. To illustrate: a blockchain can be secure but how are you certain that the device being used is free of vulnerabilities? What if the phone used in voting is infected with a malware that changes an individual’s vote in the last minute? The result of the election will be compromised because the blockchain will register the vote safely and securely.

There will also be a high risk of vote buying in a whole new level thanks to the complete decentralization and anonymity of the blockchain technology. People can sell their votes easily and the buyers will get away with it thanks to the security provided by the blockchain technology.

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New proposed rules could rock China’s blockchain industry. Here’s what they mean

Among other things, the set of 23 articles requires that blockchain users go through real-name registration, and service providers take responsibility for …

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has released a set of draft regulations that, in its current form, promises to narrow the scope of blockchain-based services across the country.

The proposed regulations were opened up for public perusal last Friday, with the department soliciting suggestions until November 2. Among other things, the set of 23 articles requires that blockchain users go through real-name registration, and service providers take responsibility for censoring content as well as saving user data for potential government inspection. The laws would apply to all “blockchain service providers,” whether organizations or individuals, that operate in the PRC.

But that’s not all. Below, we explain in more detail other implications for China’s burgeoning blockchain industry, which has already seen an increasingly strict clampdown on cryptocurrency trading platforms over the last year. If the new rules come to pass, blockchain as a whole – known for its decentralized nature and anonymity – could see a landscape shift in China.

No date has been given for implementation of the new rules. Renmin University law school vice president Yang Dong, however, told Sina News (in Chinese) that the draft policy would upset the current blockchain industry: “This will only bring undesirable obstacles and difficulties to entities’ innovation activities … Blockchain technology should be neutral. The necessity of the draft policy should be doubted.”

In a Weibo comment, BTC.TOP mining pool founder wryly noted that “imposed management for decentralized activities is like negative numbers greater than zero.”

Government and “self-regulation”

Sensible or not, the draft regulations mark the government’s most ambitious plan yet to rein in the field of blockchain. Its lofty goals are to “safeguard national security and the public interest, protect citizens, corporations and other organizations’ legal interests,” and promote the “healthy and orderly development” of blockchain technology,” Article 1 states.

As such, the rules require close government monitoring of blockchain-based entities.

Article 4: All blockchain-based service providers are required to register with the [Cyberspace Administration of China] within 10 days after launching their services. Companies should ask users to provide information including the name of service providers, type of services and server address…

Service providers that provide false information will be suspended. If not corrected within a specified time, company filings will be revoked.

In the draft regulation, blockchain service providers in certain fields including news media, publishing, education, medical and the pharmaceutical industry must also obtain approval from “relevant authorities” prior to registering with the CAC.

But although ultimate responsibility for blockchain regulation falls on the government, the rule also requires entities to “self-regulate.”

…[The Cyberspace Administration] calls for blockchain industry to strengthen self-regulation and set up industry standards, educate service providers, and promote the industry credit rating system.

Censorship, real-name registration, and user data

Some articles strongly resemble China’s current cybersecurity law, which was updated last year to improve censorship measures like the Great Firewall.

Under the draft regulation, blockchain service providers and users would not be allowed to use the technology in ways that could “pose a threat to national security, disrupt social order and violate others’ legal rights.” Service providers and users would be banned from producing, duplicating, publishing, and disseminating information or content prohibited by the law. Those who fail to comply could be subjected to suspension from services and fines between RMB 5,000 to 30,000.

The new restriction would, in theory, prevent individuals from using blockchain to flout internet censorship laws. This past April, for instance, an anonymous activist used an Ethereum transaction to publicize an alleged sexual harassment case, while another used the same cryptocurrency to share a journalistic investigation into a major vaccine producer.

Under the suggested rules, providers of blockchain-based information services would also be required to make users register with their real names and national identification card numbers. Companies are mandated not offer their services to noncompliant users, echoing real-name registration regulations on online platforms that date back to as far back as 2014.

Last year, national cybersecurity regulations were also updated to require companies to store data locally, thereby giving the government greater rein regarding data surveillance. While perhaps not as extensive, the blockchain draft regulation contains similar clauses that require service providers to keep records of user data for up to six months.

In addition, they would be expected to supply that data in case of a government investigation.

Blockchain-based service providers should work with authorities on carrying out supervision and inspection, and provide the necessary data and technical assistance.

China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency last year drove a number of cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet services to other markets. A stricter regulatory environment would create additional barriers for young blockchain startups to roll out new products and services. Industry experts believe the draft regulations is another heavy-handed approach that will very likely stifle the development of the blockchain industry, or at least make sure it goes in the direction that’s helpful to the Chinese government.

-With additional reporting from Nicole Jao

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Lack of Use-Cases Delay Healthcare Blockchain Implementation

Blockchain is a weighted buzzword in healthcare IT as more vendors and … A report released by Chilmark touches on what blockchain is and what it …

October 22, 2018 – Healthcare blockchain is growing, but with the technology being so new, organizations should be aware of what obstacles may hinder blockchain adoption before adding the technology to their health IT infrastructure strategy.

Blockchain is a weighted buzzword in healthcare IT as more vendors and provider organizations are seeing the value the technology can bring to the healthcare space.

A report released by Chilmark touches on what blockchain is and what it isn’t in the healthcare space.

Blockchain is immutable and enables permanent records of transactions that cannot be changed,” report authors explained. “For transactions where fraud prevention, authenticity, or provenance of data are critical, blockchain can support transaction verification, and reduce fraud or data tampering.”

“Each block (a record of a transaction similar to a page on a ledger that includes a record of the previous transaction) on the blockchain is recorded in historical order so we have a sequential history or audit trail of all transactions.”

READ MORE:Open Source Blockchain Development Critical to Standardization

According to the report, a standard blockchain framework allows organizations to:

  • Enable direct money transfers between two parties without an intermediary such as a bank
  • Address the double-spending challenge by utilizing peer-to-peer networks
  • Conduct time-stamp transactions on the blockchain by utilizing proof-of-work methods
  • Use nodes in a network to both protect the network as well as provide a structure that enhances security

However, there are still significant points of confusion when it comes to how blockchain will realistically be deployed in healthcare. Most of these concerns stem from how the technology will develop in the coming years. There still isn’t a clear and standard definition of blockchain, which can make it difficult to predict its value long- term.

Another point that may slow the adoption of blockchain in healthcare is how challenging the technology can be to actually implement.

“Blockchain technology has mostly been associated with the financial sector,” said a recent report by Quantzig. “But now, the applications of this disruptive technology are gradually finding its way into the healthcare sector as well. Blockchain technology can help healthcare companies to access and share patient data securely. Although, in practice, the implementation of the same is not as easy as it sounds.”

One of the biggest challenges is the initial culture shift is will take to make blockchain realistically usable. According to the Quanzig report, altering end user behavior can be a time-consuming task as well as an expensive one. Organizations may need to bring in outside help to train end-users on how to exchange information using blockchain.

READ MORE:Why Blockchain May Not Be the Solution to EHR Interoperability

The distribution of the healthcare industry among payers and providers can also make it difficult to commit to blockchain.

“Healthcare providers and the insurance payers are not streamlined regarding handling records. Without such a system it would be a difficult task to get them to adopt blockchain technology,” said the report. “Also, if any of the participants are resistant to accepting these changes, then the usefulness of the whole system goes down the drain.”

Provider organizations also may not be willing to share their data with insurance companies which would make blockchain implementation difficult.

The possibility of changing policies can also hinder healthcare organizations from implementing new technology without there being acknowledgement from the government that blockchain may become a new staple in healthcare data exchange.

“Processes such as the implementation of the latest technological advances in healthcare administration could depend on the existing and new government policies,” said the report. “Therefore, incorporating blockchain into the healthcare sector cannot be an overnight process.”

READ MORE:New Hyperledger Project Fuels Healthcare Blockchain Development

While all these points are valid cautions organizations should keep in mind, the most prominent hinderance is the lack of proven healthcare blockchain implementations. While there are several in play at the moment, they are mostly from vendors and are mostly payer-based solutions created by health IT vendors.

Provider organizations are not quite at the point where they can confidently plan to base parts of their IT infrastructure on blockchain technology. While other industries may be beginning to create strategies for blockchain based data exchange, the healthcare industry remains rightfully cautious.

The implications of blockchain for EHR interoperability for example is one of the most popular theoretical implementations for healthcare blockchain, but it may be some time before it can realistically be implemented.

Keeping an eye on healthcare blockchain successes and failures can help give healthcare organizations a realistic idea of when to start looking into the technology to help enhance health data exchange. While blockchain has many potential uses in healthcare, keeping an eye on developments can help organizations determine its potential in their HIT infrastructure.

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China Wants To Stop Anonymous Blockchain Use: Reports

Should they become law, any provider utilizing Blockchain technology would face legal demands to ensure all users provide their real name national …
Chinese Government May Wield Power to Destroy BitcoinNews

Wilma Woo

Wilma Woo| Oct 22, 2018 | 08:00


New cybersecurity rules currently out for public consultation in China would notionally force users to provide their real identity to use any kind of Blockchain-based service.


Blockchain? You’ll Need Your Name And ID

As South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports quoting local media sources, the Cyberspace Administration of China is currently seeking feedback on the proposals, the deadline for which is November 2.

Should they become law, any provider utilizing Blockchain technology would face legal demands to ensure all users provide their real name national identity card numbers in advance.

The news is the latest step in China’s crackdown on the anonymity benefits Blockchain can afford, which runs contrary to existing data privacy laws, SCMP notes.

Referencing another post by Beijing lawyer Xu Kai, it is nonetheless clear that the latest round of rules misses key aspects of the notional problem at hand, the publication notes.

China

“One of the key issues that the new rules did not address is that blockchain is a technology in which data is not changeable or erasable, which runs contrary to Chinese laws governing user data,” Xu had explained.

In addition, he added, “the new rules also lack enforcement procedures to protect the rights of blockchain platforms.”

Blockchain Big Business

The nature of issue is indeed complex. Despite a ban on cryptocurrency trading in China, holding assets such as Ethereum and using a Blockchain is not illegal per se.

In the event of tighter data laws coming into effect, it remains unclear how authorities plan to restrict use of decentralized Blockchain networks such as Ethereum or privacy-focused ones such as Monero.

Officially, however, Blockchain remains flavor of the month as a technological innovation worth investing in.

As Bitcoinistreported, various public and private projects are seeing the technology enter the Chinese economy at breakneck speed. Legally, too, authorities appear keen to adopt a balanced outlook, a court case in July recognizing Blockchain-based evidence in a landmark case for the country.

What do you think about China’s Blockchain law plans? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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