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China Creates Blockchain-Based Mobile App to Regulate Livestreaming

While most news regarding blockchain technology coming out of China has been focused on the country’s efforts to develop its upcoming digital yuan, cases have been popping up across the mainland that are pushing for real-world blockchain applications.

In one of those cases, a government authority body in China’s eastern Zhejiang province has decided to use the rapidly developing blockchain technology to better regulate the area’s burgeoning market. According to a report from Xinhua news published on December 22, market regulation authorities in Zhejiang have officially launched a blockchain-powered mobile app that is set to help the government better regulate the livestreaming market.

The application has reportedly so far been released only in Hangzhou, the capital of the eastern province. The local market regulation administration provided no further details as to whether the app would be released in other cities as well.

Nonetheless, the market regulator expects that the application will play a significant role in the supervision of mobile social media and livestreaming e-commerce platforms. The application is also expected to enable more efficient enforcement of market rules and regulations to the new industries, the regulator told local media.

Livestreaming has become one of the most important marketing strategies in the past several years, especially in the e-commerce industry. With a lack of physical stores and the rapid rise in the amount of watch time livestreams get, advertising on this new type of content has become one of the main marketing strategies of many brands. However, the novel marketing method carries significant risks, as it lacks the proper consumer protection other types of media have.

The Hangzhou market regulator told local media that the app is a direct answer to a slew of problems and issues it discovered on livestreams. Investigations have shown that sellers are frequently infringing on consumers’ rights and interests in order to boost the popularity of their products.

The new mobile app is based on the Android operating system and will enable law enforcement officers to monitor relevant mobile apps, programs, and livestreaming sessions, Xinhua reported. The application will process both video and voice recordings and look for irregularities. After processing each stream, the application will automatically create a document containing a report and all of the evidence it found. The document will then be uploaded to the blockchain platform that underlies the app in order to ensure that the evidence the system recorded can be tracked and cannot be manipulated.

We are yet to see whether other regions and cities in China follow the suit. Livestreaming e-commerce is growing rapidly in China, with some estimating that it’s already a $60 billion industry. According to Forbes, last year over 430 million people, or about 30% of China’s population, viewed livestreams, and in 2020 it’s projected to reach 560 million, or around 39%. Sales from live streams are expected to grow more than 100% in 2020 vs. 2019 to almost 9% of all online retail sales.

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