Chinese state media vehicle Xinhua is reporting details about a state-supported blockchain initiative in the South China island province of Hainan.
Hainan’s blockchain pilot zone, which is based in the Hainan Resort Software Community (RSC) industrial park, was actually launched in October 2018. The zone already hosts more than 100 blockchain developing entities.
The latest measures are reportedly designed, “to speed up the development of the blockchain industry,” cultivate talent, build out applications, promote social investment and enhance data management in housing, healthcare, tourism, and trade.
$142 million USD in new money has reportedly been issued to boost blockchain progress in the Hainan zone.
China’s government appears to want to encourage the implementing of “blockchain” to underpin systems facilitating the, “free flow of personnel, goods, capital and convenient flow of data.”
“Blockchain” is a type of distributed, encrypted database first popularized by Bitcoin.
Critics in the west say that Bitcoin-style blockchains are ill-suited to much other than Bitcoin itself, which is designed to run somewhat autonomously and is expensive to maintain and use as a result.
Many entrepreneurs are nonetheless determined to bring Bitcoin’s virtues (security, immutability, consensus) to enterprise-grade products.
Companies like Walmart have announced that they are pleased with blockchain-like systems (distributed-ledgers) they have implemented to track trucks and freight, for instance.
China may also be interested in blockchain for how it can be used to enhance state surveillance.
Some parts of China are already using an Internet data-based “social credit” system to keep tabs on citizens, whose purchases, public statements and associations are all tracked by a score-assigning system that determines their creditworthiness and perceived civility in the eyes of the state.
Citizens determined miscreant may have their mobility limited.
The system has been decried in the West, but there is evidence that similar systems are being privately developed in the US, albeit less conspicuously.