China Pushes for Blockchain Standardization

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FILE PHOTO: The Bitcoin logo is seen on a pillow on display at the Consensus 2018 blockchain technology conference in New York City, New York, U.S., May 16, 2018.
(Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo)

In a document published on Nov. 12, the official website of the Cyberspace Administration of China have made a rallying call to the Chinese government in regards to accelerating the development of standards the will govern the blockchain industry. Subsequent reports confirmed that the document was authorized by the head of China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Zhou Ping.

Mr. Zhou is also the secretary general of the China Blockchain Technology and Industry Development Forum and also the director of the Software Engineering and Evaluation Center at China's Electronics Technology Standardization Research Institute.

According to the published document, the development of a reference blockchain architecture standards is important and will subsequently guide the selection and regulation of blockchain systems across several domestic industries. The document also revealed that work on the standardization of blockchain in China started as early as 2016 following the publication of the Development Forum's white paper. The said paper established five categories that govern blockchain standardization which are: foundation, interoperability, processes and method, information security, and business and applications.

The Development Forum was able to complete the basic standard blockchain reference architecture earlier this year. Reports claim that the Forum was able to complete ten international blockchain standards including terminology and concepts, classification and ontology, and reference architecture. The body pushing for this blockchain standardization is now reportedly entering the development stage, a crucial part of the standardization process.

The recently published document highlighted a handful of hurdles that hinder the completion of the development. This in turn slows down the adoption of the blockchain standards in the industrial sector. Among those cited as major hurdles are "misunderstandings" or an "immature and imbalanced" view of the new technology's application across various industries and implementations. Additionally, the paper also cited that utter lack of experts in the blockchain industry and also its cultivation.

The author of the paper have called the Chinese government to expedite the standardization process. The author argued that the application of blockchain technology have broad applications outside of the bounds of finance. Blockchain have potential applications in supply chain management, social welfare, as well as culture and entertainment industries.

The author have also pointed out that China should seize the opportunity of posing as a key player in the international development of blockchain standards. By doing so, the country can play a major role in formulating these new standards in order to fit its strategy.

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