At the end of July, the government of China’s largest city Shanghai, outlined its blockchain plans that run to 2025. It’s a combination of deep technical research, government services and a wide range of applications that will impact an array of businesses.
Reading the plans, one suspects an element of competition happening here. China’s second largest city, Beijing, is home to the National Blockchain Technology Innovation Center and to the development of Chainmaker or Chang’an Chain, a massive enterprise blockchain project that claims to process 240 million transactions per second.
Back in Shanghai, the city also wants to spur technological research into cryptography such as homomorphic encryption, smart contracts and distributed identity, amongst numerous other topics.
At its core, the Pujiang Digital Chain will support several public services, including intellectual property protection, traceability from farm to fork, and various government services, such as chain of custody for judicial evidence.
But it’s the sheer range of applications planned that is so ambitious.
Blockchain & big data: Shanghai Digital Exchange
China is pretty serious about aggregating data, and wants to deploy blockchain at the Shanghai Digital Exchange. As the exchange describes data, “In the digital age, data elements are ranked alongside traditional elements such as land, labor, capital and technology, and have become the core engine of economic growth.”
Hence, regarding commercial applications of blockchain technology, the Shanghai Digital Exchange is the top priority. The aim is to validate data, value it and price it.
Logistics and trade finance are considered important applications. Many electronic bill of lading solutions (eBL) use blockchain. And the city wants to use blockchain to store information about ships, crew and other data to support maritime insurance coverage and claims.
It also plans to use DLT for the industrial internet, particularly providing blockchain based identity for machines. It mentions using this to improve collaborative manufacturing, where the manufacturer works hand in hand with their business partners.
Other planned applications include for
- cross border trade
- supply chain finance
- credit including ‘social credit’
- energy savings and tracking carbon emissions.
Meanwhile, in Beijing, the city has moved on from purely blockchain and recently published a whitepaper on the metaverse that included a smatter of web3 or NFTs, but unsurprisingly, no crypto.