A seminar titled ‘Blockchain technology helps China’s new social credit system’ created by Chinese tech experts was held on Jan 14, reports Chna.org.cn on Jan 22. According to the news platform, more than 20 experts from research institutes, universities, and enterprises attended the seminar.

The social credit system in China is controversial to many individuals. However, experts believe that the system represents a great field for applying blockchain technology. Actively developed by the Chinese government, the system significantly progressed and had its own pilot project in 2014. Following four years of experimentation, the system came in contact with the People’s Bank of China, the nation’s central bank.

After President Xi Jinping held a speech last October in which he revealed that the central government seeks to adopt blockchain throughout all of China, experts concluded that the social credit system may benefit from the technology’s application. Since blockchain networks hold immutable data that provides a high level of reliability, the central government may decide to implement the technology.

While the intricate details of the seminar were not revealed, we know that it was organized by the Yunhe (Zhejiang) Technology Group, the Yunhe New Social Credit System Joint Research Institute, the China Blockchain Enterprise Social Responsibility Research Institute, and the Beijing Huaxia Industrial Network Intelligent Technology Research Institute.

Social credit system combined with blockchain may establish an Orwellian nightmare

In the eyes of many, the social credit system is an Orwellian nightmare. Combined with several factors such as blockchain, facial recognition, and China’s new surveillance network, authoritarianism may reach a scale never seen before.

The system targets every individual in China and appoints a score that represents their level of trustworthiness as a citizen. While there is not a plethora of official information, what we know at the time is that the system gathers its data from artificial intelligence and more than millions of CCTV cameras in all parts of China.

Blockchain technology due to its efficiency may greatly increase the scale and quality at which the system works. While blockchain brings many benefits to citizens, these cases show that the technology can be misused when placed in the wrong hands.

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