The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has published a new set of regulations for all blockchain-startups for open public consultation. The draft regulations entitled, “The Regulation for Managing Blockchain Information Services,” will be up for discussion until Nov. 2. It is unclear when the rules will be enforced after that, but the 23 articles aim to highly regulate those providing blockchain-based services to the Chinese public.
Under these regulations, all blockchain users will be required by law to provide their real names and national ID card numbers. All blockchain startups will also be required to register with the CAC within a ten-day window of launching.
The Chinese government has had a notoriously fuzzy relationship with blockchain and has come out as stringently anti-cryptocurrency. Now their attempts to regulate blockchain stripping users of anonymity upon registering comes as a surprise, and not a welcome one. China is a global leader for distributed ledger technology holding the most blockchain-related patents globally with companies like Alibaba paving the way. These new restrictions can thwart ongoing blockchain development China has so enjoyed.
The gesture of public discussion could be just that, a gesture. It is unclear how willing officials are actually willing to make changes to the policy to accommodate blockchain businesses or the public to help them remain anonymous on these p2p networks.
It is also muddy what companies using blockchain technology fall under this umbrella. Will it be any company using blockchain technology at all? Or only major blockchain providers? The CAC defines these service providers as “entities or nodes.”
Those providers with entities or nodes will be forced to register their names, service types, server addresses, and industry fields before opening for business. The CAC will make all of this information available to the public and review the blockchain companies‘ information annually.
Challenging blockchain privacy is a big attack on the core ideological concepts of how blockchain redistributes power to the public and maintains personal privacy. Cryptography and the public-private key system works to allow users to separate out their identity from their personal information to improve data stores while improving privacy. Eliminating this aspect, in addition to things like cryptocurrency and ICOs, makes it seem like China only wants the pieces of decentralized tech that they can fully centralize and control.