The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has introduced new regulations for blockchain firms that are operating in the country. The announcement was published on the regulator’s website on Thursday, Jan. 10.

According to the CAC, the guidelines, which will come into force on Feb. 15, were developed to contribute to the healthy development of the industry.

The document describes the firms that are subject to regulations as websites or mobile apps that provide information and technical support to the public using blockchain technologies. As soon as the regulations come into power, they will be obliged to register their names, domains and server addresses at the CAC within 20 days.

The guidelines require blockchain startups to allow authorities access to stored data, and to introduce registry procedures that would require ID card or mobile numbers from its users. Moreover, they will be obliged to oversee content and censor information that is prohibited under current Chinese law.

If a firm fails to comply with the regulations, it might face fines from 20,000 to 30,000 yuans ($2,900 and $4,400, respectively). In case of serial offences, the company might face a criminal investigation.

China first released draft guidelines in October for blockchain companies, which also contained recommendations that sought to eliminate anonymity in blockchain.

At the time, Asian newspaper The South China Morning Post wrote about an anonymous open letter that alleged sexual harassment at a top Chinese university that was published on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain in April. The media outlet believes the publication of the letter could be a motivation behind the new regulations.

China is currently mainly piloting blockchain legislation in three regions — Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. According to a December report by local finance publication Securities Daily, there are 11 blockchain-related policy projects concentrated in these areas.

In the meantime, the country has upheld a de facto ban on domestic crypto trading since 2017, which was completed in February 2018 when the government added international crypto exchanges and initial coin offering (ICO) websites to its Great Firewall. The decision was approved by the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, and regulators.

*This post is credited to CoinTelegraph

Today, Enjin, a dedicated Ethereum development team, announced the release of EnjinX, an ad-free universal blockchain explorer designed to make Ethereum data more accessible to mainstream markets. By delivering a Google-like experience, the new blockchain search engine provides users with an intuitive way to search transactions, tokens, and addresses. It features a clean and intuitive interface, providing traders, gamers, and token holders a simple way to explore the Ethereum blockchain.

Featured on Product Hunt, EnjinX is the world’s fastest Ethereum explorer by up to 30 seconds. It delivers blocks in real-time and even displays live tickers for pending and internal transactions. To protect users from cluttered messaging and promotional fatigue, Enjin has pledged to keep EnjinX ad-free permanently. Rather than taking advantage of user attention, the team plans to generate revenue by offering robust developer APIs and blockchain integration tools that further boost adoption of the Ethereum Network.

EnjinX’s real-time token index delivers the latest data for the top 200 tokens, making it the best place to view current prices, volumes, and market caps for ERC-20 tokens. The innovative explorer also features human-friendly address labels that attach names to well-known blockchain addresses, making browsing, searching, and contextual research even easier.

Optimized for smartphones and tablets, the new “Google search of blockchain” offers a personalized experience that allows users to choose between different themes, night and day modes, and currencies. The platform also supports over 20 languages, so users from across the world can explore Ethereum in English, Chinese, Spanish, Korean, and even Pirate English.

Fully licensed to operate in China, EnjinX will provide native Chinese translations and has servers residing within China to improve performance. The service is fully compliant with all laws and regulations, so Chinese developers will be able to use EnjinX services directly in China, without fear of the tools they rely on being shut down by the government.

EnjinX will soon be upgraded include support next-generation ERC-1155 and legacy ERC-721 token standards, enabling users to browse blockchain assets ranging from gaming items and collectibles to digital art and even blockchain-based books. In the future, the team will also launch full support for Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dogecoin, along with a powerful REST API that delivers live blockchain data to apps, websites, and smart devices.

Enjin specializes in developing tools to support Ethereum-based applications. In addition to EnjinX, they have launched a critically acclaimed cryptocurrency wallet and are building development tools that simplify blockchain integration into games, apps, websites, and smart devices. Ethereum-based ERC-1155 tokens are currently being integrated into 29 games using the Enjin Platform.

Unity Technologies has announced plans to list Enjin’s Blockchain Software Development Kit (SDK) on the front page of their Asset Store. As the world’s largest game development platform, Unity’s listing of the Blockchain SDK will enable 4.5 million Unity developers to mint ERC-1155 tokens and manage complex gameplay mechanics through transactions on the Ethereum blockchain.

*This post is credited to PRNewsWire

The China Banking Association (CBA), the country’s self-regulatory organization for the banking sector, is launching a new blockchain-based platform for trade finance.

The platform was announced last week while the organization is in the process of rolling it out for live usage after several pilot programs aimed at improving the efficiency and security of trade finance transactions.

Over 10 major banks in the region have signed up for the platform, including HSBC (China), Bank of China, China Merchants Bank, Ping An Bank, China Postal Savings Bank, among others.

Lending technical support are Chinese fintech firms including PeerSafe, a Beijing-based startup focusing on distributed ledger technology and a member of the Hyperledger consortium.

The CBA said in the statement that it has completed two pilots for issuing a letter of credits (LoC) and asset-backed securities, with participation from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Merchants Bank.

“The launch of China’s trade finance blockchain has brought together the trade chain of different banks to make cross-bank transactions much faster, safer and more realistic,” Fang Xiao, vice president and head of industrial and commercial finance at HSBC China, was quoted as saying in a news report on Thursday.

Going forward, the CBA said it plans to include more small and medium-sized banks, as well as customs and taxation agencies to the platform.

The trade finance sector is increasingly looking to adopt blockchain technology for improved operations. In September, China’s central bank deployed the “Bay Area Trade Finance Blockchain Platform” across financial institutions in the southern city of Shenzhen.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority also announced the launch of a live blockchain trade finance platform in November last year.

More recently, HSBC India and ING Bank, Brussels, facilitated the trade finance transaction on R3’s Corda blockchain platform, for India-based oil and gas conglomerate Reliance Industries and US-based global chemical distributor Tricon Energy.

*This post is credited to Coin Desk

A survey conducted by Panews has found that 14% of Chinese citizens have invested in cryptocurrencies. The survey also found that 98% of respondents indicated familiarity with the concepts of cryptocurrency and bitcoin – 3% more than those who stated that they had heard of blockchain technology.

Survey Finds 14% of Chinese Citizens Have Invested in Cryptocurrencies

Panews has published the findings of a survey that queried 4,200 Chinese citizens on their familiarity and opinions regarding Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

The survey found that just 75 respondents had not heard of cryptocurrency or blockchain technology, equating to roughly 2% of the survey’s sample. The survey also found that 40% of respondents expressed a willingness to invest in cryptocurrencies in the future, despite nearly 83% of the sample describing cryptocurrency investment as a new trend.

14% of the sample, or 598 respondents, stated that they have invested in cryptocurrencies, nearly 70% of whom purchased their crypto via an exchange platform. 266 respondents came to possess their crypto through airdrops, followed by mining, with 263.

The sample indicated that social media is the dominant means through which Chinese citizens have become exposed to cryptocurrencies, with 38% of respondents claiming familiarity with crypto stating that they became exposed to such through social media, followed by “relatives and friends” with 26%.

Panews also noted that the majority of respondents associated cryptocurrencies with investment products primarily, and not as a medium of exchange.

Cryptocurrency Moving Towards Becoming Household Concept in China

While 4,125 respondents indicated familiarity with the concepts of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, and blockchain technology, only 372 individuals described themselves as possessing a strong understanding of pertinent topics, amounting to roughly 9% of all respondents.

Only 17 respondents claimed not to have heard of cryptocurrency, while 103 stated that they were unfamiliar with Bitcoin. 60% of respondents described common perceptions regarding the complexity of exchanging and storing cryptocurrency as the primary barrier to greater crypto adoption.

Overall, the study found that bitcoin and cryptocurrency have made significant strides toward penetrating mainstream economic discourse in China, asserting that “the cryptocurrency industry has made considerable progress in the public’s cognitive level” since “the early days.”

*This post is credited to Bitcoin News

Two of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency companies have confirmed lay-off plans amid an industry crunch that has seen US$170 billion wiped off bitcoin’s market value this year.

Beijing-based Bitmain Technology, the world’s biggest maker of cryptocurrency mining rigs, said in a statement that the company is undergoing “some adjustment to our staff this year” as it continues to build a sustainable business, following reports on Chinese social media that it was planning job cuts.

“A part of that is having to really focus on things that are core to that mission and not things that are auxiliary. As we move into the new year we will continue to double down on hiring the best talent from a diverse range of backgrounds,” said Bitmain in the statement.

A Bitmain spokesman on Wednesday denied rumours on Chinese social media that the company will lay off more than half of its employees, but declined to specify exactly how many lay-offs are planned.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Huobi Group, operator of one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, said on Wednesday that the company is “optimising staffing” by cutting its worst-performing employees. But she added that the Beijing-based firm is still hiring people for its core businesses and emerging markets.

The planned lay-offs come amid a prolonged bear market in cryptocurrencies. This year bitcoin, the world’s biggest form of digital money, has fallen more than 70 per cent in value. In total, nearly US$500 billion has been wiped off the value of the more than 2,000 cryptocurrencies available in the market.

Both companies declined to quantify the number of job losses planned. By the end of June, Bitmain had a total of 2,594 full-time employees including some 840 engineers, according to a company filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange. Huobi has more than 1,000 employees.

Earlier this month Bitmain closed its research center in Israel, which had over 20 staffers.

The actions by Bitmain and Huobi follow similar moves by other industry players such as blockchain-based social network Steemit as well as ConsenSys, a software production studio, which is letting go of 13 per cent of its 1,000-strong staff globally.

A Beijing-based Bitmain employee, who asked not to be identified because the information is not public, said the lay-offs will be spread across most of Bitmain’s divisions, but the person was not aware of the exact number of planned job losses.

Chinese companies Bitmain, Canaan, and Ebang – the world’s top three suppliers of computers used to create new units of digital money – have all proposed initial public offerings in Hong Kong this year. The city’s market regulator and stock exchange operator, however, are reluctant to approve IPOs for any cryptocurrency-related businesses citing the lack of regulations in the industry, according to an earlier news story citing people familiar with the situation.

Canaan has let its IPO application lapse. Last week Ebang refiled its application with updated financial information stating that it has seen “significant decreases” in revenue and gross profit in the third quarter.

“Downsizing is a natural cycle in new, rapid growth industries, and unfortunately blockchain is no exception,” said Jehan Chu, co-founder of Hong Kong-based blockchain investment firm Kenetic Capital, who declined to comment on his company’s hiring plans.

“We saw this with the internet in the early 2000s, but that period also gave rise to the largest companies in the space today. I look forward to a sharper, more focused version 2.0 of the blockchain industry,” he said.

*This post is credited to SCMP

China’s Center for Information and Industry Development (CCID), under the Country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, announced a new update of its Global Public Blockchain Technology Assessment Index (GPBTAI) on Dec 20, 2018. This is the Center’s 8th update. EOS topped the list with a total score of 156.1 points. Ethereum ranked second, with an assessment index of 136.4. The two indexes are still the lead at the very top. GXchain replaced BitShares in third place with a score of 117.5 in this assessment, while BitShare fell by five in the current evaluation, ranking eighth. Komodo, Ontology, NULS, Nebulas, BitShares, NEO, and Steem shared the fourth through 10th spots. Bitcoin evaluation index stayed in the middle of the list with a score of 96.1, ranking 18th.

Ontology, a new addition in this assessment, is a new generation of high-performance public blockchain and distributed trust collaboration platform independently developed by the ontology technology team, supporting a complete distributed ledger network and intelligent contract system. Based on the new VBFT consensus algorithm, the ontology public chain can issue blocks on demand to achieve second-level confirmation of transactions. Its main network was launched in June 2018. In this assessment, Ontology has outstanding performance in basic technology and application, with a composite index of 112.6, ranking 4th in the list.

The index of this issue presents two outstanding features. First, public blockchains with high performance and support for general application development are generally ranked high. Among the top 10, four public chains adopted graphene architecture with better performance, six public chains use the dPOS consensus mechanism, and seven public chains support Dapp development. Second, the “new generation” public chain has outstanding achievements. Four of the top 10 chains are public chains newly launched on the main network in 2018. From the specific index, NULS, Komodo, GXchain, Waves, and Zcash are the ones that have made rapid progress. The NULS main network was upgraded in November, and the new main network can support the development and deployment of smart contracts. Compared with the previous index, the average of the composite index increased by 2.5.

Technology

In terms of basic technology, the top five are EOS, BitShare, Steem, GXChain, and Ontology. From the perspective of rank changes, NULS has jumped up rapidly. Statistics show that the average of the basic technology index has increased slightly from the previous period. Basic technology mainly examines the technical realization level of the public chain, including function, performance, security, and decentralization.

Application

The top five applications are Ethereum, NEO, Ontology, Nebulas, and Qtum. Ontology jumped in and replaced Dash into the top 5. Similar to the basic technology index, NULS application index improved rapidly with the update of the main network. Statistics show that the average application index is slightly increased compared with the previous period too. Applicability mainly evaluates the comprehensive level of public chain support for practical applications, including node deployment, wallet application, development support, and application implementation.

Innovation

Compared with the basic technology and applicability, the innovation index undergoes a big change based on the update of the public chain code. The index shows that the top five are Bitcoin, EOS, Ethereum, Komodo and Cardano. Compared with the previous index, the public chains with the largest increase in the innovation index are Komodo, Sia, GXchain, Bytecoin, and Nebulas. Among them, Komodo’s code update data was re-calculated, and the reference data of Sia was transferred from Github to Gitlab. Innovation focuses on continuous innovation in the public chain, including developer size, code updates, and code impact.

*This post is credited to PRNewswire

An Internet Court launched in Eastern Chinese City Hangzhou will now use blockchain to fight plagiarism for online writers, local Chinese news outlet China.org.cn reported. China launched its first internet court in the city of Hangzhou to deal with internet related cases, save time and reduce overhead costs of getting justice out of the system.

At the time of the launch, the court was expected to accept court filings and cases electronically and given the mandate to rule online cases via live stream. Plaintiffs may verify their identity with a government-issued ID or through their Alipay account.

The Hangzhou Internet Court operates as an incubator for the governance of the internet space in China to settle “diversified Internet disputes, and a ‘first mover’ for the transformation of Internet trials.”

Hangzhou has a large percentage of online writers in China. The Binjiang District of the city has a “writers’ village,” which is home to over a hundred popular online writers. These writers have had issues with piracy over the years, and it has become increasingly challenging for them to prove their ownership of any piece of work. The report stated that while these writers used to resort to downloaded content and screenshots as proof of ownership, these pieces of ‘proof’ can easily be forged, making them ineffective as evidence.

Court To Use Blockchain Evidence in Copyright Infringement Cases

The expense of legal services and notary fees also make it difficult for writers to pursue justice against those who infringe on their copyright, the report argued. However, the Hangzhou Internet Court believes that it is nearly impossible to tamper with evidence that is logged on a distributed ledger or blockchain, “due to its decentralized and open distributed ledger technology.”

Wang Jiangqiao, who works as a judge at the court, was of the opinion that blockchain is beneficial to writers due to its tamper-proof nature, which gives it the ability to “track “authorship, time of creation, content, and evidence of infringement.”

A few weeks ago, the Hangzhou Internet Court became the first court in China to recognize blockchain technology as a means of storing evidence. The decision stemmed from a case in which the plaintiff, a company based in Hangzhou, sued the defendant, a Shenzhen-based tech firm, or making publications of the plaintiff’s copyrighted material on its official website.

The plaintiff captured the webpage of the defendant as well as the source code, and uploaded them to the Bitcoin blockchain. After investigations were concluded, the Hangzhou Internet Court maintained that this form of electronic data would henceforth serve as a form of evidence in copyright infringement cases.

China has used the blockchain in other areas of law enforcement in recent times.

*This post is credited to CCN

The Chinese government is looking to create a cryptocurrency that will allow it to better monitor the financial conduct of citizens and institutions, Bloomberg reports.

Software developers at the People’s Bank of China have registered 78 digital currency patents since 2016, and, as of August, had registered 44 patents for “blockchain,” a type of database technology that settles transaction data automatically and simultaneously across numerous ledgers simultaneously.

Theoretically, blockchains are “immutable,” meaning the system’s records cannot be altered or forged once settled because the data is buried across the system under layered encryption that cannot be peeled back.

A Chinese national cryptocurrency was first proposed publicly by former Chinese central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan before his retirement in March. The project was further described in an article by PBOC Deputy Governor Fan Yifei published earlier this year.

According to Bloomberg, patents filed by the central bank describe a system in which individuals and firms would download wallet software to their mobile devices and use these wallets to swap yuan for digital cash, cash that could then be used to make and receive payments.

But unlike with privately-held digital cash-transmission and tracking systems, information from which must be subpoenaed in the west, a state digital cash system could be inspected at a government will, and could, theoretically, “track every time money changes hands.”

Such a system could also be used by governments to monitor banks and make sure they are upholding government policy and standards.

Bloomberg adds:

“Fan suggested in his article that banks would need to submit daily information on transactions and that there would be caps on transactions by individuals.”

At the end of 2016, statistics showed that over 90% of Bitcoin transactions were being conducted in Chinese yuan, suggesting the instrument may have been used for capital flight.

Patents registered by the central bank show the state digital currency system working like this, Bloomberg writes: consumers and businesses would download a mobile wallet and swap yuan therein for the new digital money, a cryptocurrency they could then use to make and receive payments.

Early users would only be allowed to use the currency in straight payments and not for investing so as to mitigate the new currency’s impact on Chinese monetary policy.

Other patents suggest the currency system could possibly be programmed to block transmissions to sanctioned individuals or entities.

Currency compliance and digital monitoring are usually framed as a matter of enforcing reasonable lawfulness, but in China, they are increasingly being used to curtail political dissidence.

The country is already using its “social credit program” to limit the free-movement of at least one journalist that wrote about corruption in the PBOC

The country is also looking at how blockchain can underpin its other online and terrestrial surveillance systems.

*This post is credited to Crowd Fund Insider

Shenzhen, a major city in the Guangdong Province and the first economic special zone in China, will use blockchain technology for electronic tax invoices. This development was reported by the China Economic Net, а domestic news website focusing on economics, on Dec. 12.

The Shenzhen Municipal Taxation Bureau and Chinese tech giant Tencent have “successfully connected the blockchain invoice system with the WeChat payment platform.” The article reports that WeChat, the 1 billion user social media platform operated by Tencent, has opened its payment platform for the blockchain invoice function.

According to the director of the Information Center of Shenzhen Taxation Bureau, a blockchain electronic invoice is different from a traditional electronic invoice, as it has “the advantages of ‘distributed’ storage, traceability and non-tamperability.”

The article highlights that WeChat payment blockchain invoices are the first stop for the blockchain electronic invoice implemented within the mobile payment platform, adding:

“The application of the blockchain electronic invoice to the WeChat payment platform is a substantial exploration made by the Shenzhen Tax Department based on the actual needs of the taxpayers to further optimize the business environment.”

Previously this fall, the Shenzhen central sub-branch of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) — the country’s central bank — launched the trial phase of the “Bay Area Trade Finance Blockchain Platform,” aimed at providing real-time monitoring of various financial activities, as Cointelegraph reported Sep. 4.

Last week, the BeiShangGuang — an abbreviation that stands for the three major Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou — has reportedly become China’s most concentrated area of legislation and policy related to the blockchain industry.

*This post is credited to Cointelegraph

An Internet Court in Hangzhou, Eastern China, has turned to blockchain to fight piracy at the expense of online writers, English-language media outlet China.org.cn reports Dec. 8.

China has reportedly “set up three Internet courts in Hangzhou, Beijing and Guangzhou.” Internet Courts are courts expressly intended to manage internet-related cases and allow plaintiffs to file their complaints online.

The official website of Hangzhou Internet Court reads that it “behaves as an ‘incubator’ for Internet space governance, a ‘test field’ for Internet judicial rules, a ‘leader’ for diversified Internet disputes, and a ‘first mover’ for the transformation of Internet trials.”

Hangzhou, whose Internet Court plans to use a blockchain copyright system, is “home to many, if not most, online writers in China,” according to China.org.cn. The news outlet notes that 107 “famous” online writers work in a “writers’ village” in the Binjiang District of the city.

The aforementioned article explains that online writers are frequently damaged by piracy, and it’s often hard for them to prove that they are the original authors of any text. Writers used “to resort to screenshots and downloaded content as evidence,” but this is weak evidence since it can be easily forged, China.org.cn notes.

Wang Jiangqiao, a judge at Internet Court, said that since “blockchain guarantees that data can not be tampered with all digital footprints stored in the judicial blockchain system have legal effect,” specifically noting the ability to track “authorship, time of creation, content and evidence of infringement.”

Wang Jiangqiao’s statement is in line with China’s Supreme Court ruling in early September that blockchain can legally authenticate evidence.

As Cointelegraph previously reported in an analysis, blockchain use to contrast piracy in online media is nothing new.

A Russian startup is also reportedly working on a blockchain-based copyright network in Uzbekistan. The project will start by digitizing patents and storing them on-chain before moving onto securing intellectual property as well.

*This post is credited to CoinTelegraph