The censorship branch of the Chinese government has approved a policy that requires blockchain-based services to censor content and allow the country’s law enforcement to access its data and the identity of their users, Reuters reported on January 10, 2019.
China’s Internet Watchdog Removes Anonymity from Blockchain
A policy that will require blockchain companies to register the identities of their users has just been passed in China, effectively removing any anonymity the technology has provided users.
According to Sixth Tone, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), an internet watchdog tasked with censoring online content, has passed the Regulation for Managing Blockchain Information Services. The regulation comes into effect on February 15, 2019, and will apply to all companies in the country branded as a “blockchain information service provider.”
All newly established companies will have ten working days to register with the Cyberspace Administration, providing their names, service types, and server addresses.
However, the policy’s clause that garnered the most media attention required individuals who use blockchain services to provide their identities to the government. According to Reuters, people using any type of blockchain-based service will need to provide their national identity card number or phone number to avoid fines.
Government Tightens Grip over the Industry
Despite the overwhelmingly negative coverage the news has received, the Cyberspace Administration was firm in their decision. The administration said that the policy was passed in order to promote a “healthy development” of the blockchain industry in China.
“The development of blockchain technology has brought great opportunities to the country’s economy and society. But meanwhile, it’s also used by criminals to store and disseminate illegal information,” a spokesperson for CAC said in an announcement.