China’s courts find blockchain evidence to be now legally binding. The automated verification system has been determined as equal to that of a third-party notary and all blockchain evidence is officially admissible in court. The parameters for using this Web 3.0 technology in a court of law have been outlined in a statement released by the Supreme People’s Court:
“Internet courts shall recognize digital data that are submitted as evidence if relevant parties collected and stored these data via blockchain with digital signatures, reliable timestamps and hash value verification or via a digital deposition platform, and can prove the authenticity of such technology used.”
The Chinese legal system is making an effort to integrate blockchain stored and collected data into the courtroom while still controlling for quality and authenticity. With an internet court already in session in the Hangzhou province for a year now, this announcement comes as no surprise. It was this internet court that set the original precedent in a case where blockchain evidence was used to prove copyright infringement. The higher courts validated the internet court’s ruling, confirming that blockchain provides an acceptable tamper-proof environment via distributed ledger technology (DLT).
China’s internet court commenced in August 2017 and has since settled over 10,000 web-related cases. It was June 2018 when blockchain-based evidence was first authenticated by this Chinese internet court as legally binding, admissible evidence.
The Chinese Communist Party continues to stay a beat ahead as they prepare for widespread decentralized technology adoption. They have even released government-issued literature to officials to help educate them on the topic of distributed ledger technology. However, China is not the first court to use blockchain data as legally binding evidence, the U.S. state of Vermont had set an important legal precedence with a case’s use of blockchain time stamps as evidence back in 2016.
China now has opened its second official internet court this Sunday, situated in Beijing. There are plans for a third to come in the city of Guangzhou later this month. All proceedings from start to finish for every internet-related case are and will continue to be conducted online. Those active participants that normally would be in the physical courtroom for the trial are now required to be present for online, live-streamed hearings.
Blockchain being deemed as admissible evidence in court is just one part of the bigger decentralized tech wave. China is very serious about blockchain development and is the world leader for blockchain technology patents. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is responsible for 10% of all blockchain patents in existence currently, just barely edging out IBM for the top spot. The Chinese government continues to see immense value in the distributed ledger and will continue to shape its economic planning and redesign it’s legal proceedings accordingly.