Government News

Beijing uses blockchain for 140 government services. Publishes book


Yesterday Beijing’s municipal government published a “Blue Book” about blockchain applications in government services. It claims that so far, 140 different government services have been implemented with an average 40% resource reduction.

The book went on to outline 12 specific use cases that were implemented. We suspect that some of these use cases could reflect numerous services. For example, a licensing platform can be used for more than a dozen types of licensing such as drivers, identity, business, marriage, death, and so on. And most of them are pretty new.

The first use case is the Municipal Commerce Bureau Airport International Logistics Blockchain Platform. The project focuses on customs clearance, which generally requires multiple organizations and government departments to share data, which makes a good blockchain fit.

Companies are wary about sharing commercial data and the process is error prone. The privacy enabled solution puts most of the relevant documents on the blockchain, including international port clearance, the trade documents, logistics data, customs clearance and tax data.

It enables users to query data such as the manifest, cargo logistics and inspection, and export tax refunds. Between March and May, 121 companies used the platform and stored three million pieces of data.

Another similar project is the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Customs Clearance solution involving the Tianjin and Hebei shipping ports for a Single Window system. Although some aspects are still in development, so far, the platform has gathered 23968 customs declarations.

A third solution is a blockchain shared eKYC (know your customer) solution, also referred to as enterprise identity and authentication system, which was launched in March 2020. It aims to cut down the need for a company to visit a bank to open an account and provide numerous pieces of paperwork. If something’s missing, multiple bank visits may be needed.

Instead, if the data is on the blockchain, the company can authorize it to be shared with another bank. The regulators also have a supervisory node. The platform is still at the pilot stage with three banks.

The next solution is electronic invoicing. This enables the invoice to be shared, but also allows oversight by the municipality. Three examples in Beijing are invoices for medical care, public welfare donations and education. In the case of medical bills, by providing an electronic invoice, the patient doesn’t have to queue for one, and the insurer will be more confident that the invoice comes directly from the hospital and isn’t fraudulent.

The fifth example is an SME financial service platform. Here, blockchain is used to address the lack of creditworthiness of many smaller companies. So it aims to reduce the risk for banks or other organizations that transact with the SME, thereby encouraging a greater volume of SME business.

An example of how the SME platform is used is the storage of government procurement contracts and confirmation of invoices issued by the small business. Hence private sector firms can provide supply chain financing. It’s unclear whether these small businesses can upload other invoices and have them verified as being legitimate. Additionally, the platform provides an aggregated financial picture of the company.

Supply chain finance is the most popular financial blockchain application in China.

Other use case examples included a real estate registration system and multiple districts have implemented platforms for certifying licenses electronically, including business licenses, ID Cards, driving licenses and marriage certificates.