China’s Internet Censor Requires Blockchain Service Providers to Register Users’ Real Names
China’s internet watchdog has released a new set of rules to require Chinese users to register their real names before using blockchain-based information services as part of an effort to massively ramp up internet censorship.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country’s top internet censor, published a draft version of rules on Friday called “The Regulation for Managing Blockchain Information Services”. The draft regulations released on its website are available for public consultation until November 2 before it can take effect.
Under proposed new rules, blockchain information service providers—- “ entities or nodes” that offer information services to the public via blockchain-based internet sites or mobile applications—are required to register with the CAC within 10 working days after it starts to offer services to the public. Blockchain startups should register their names, service types, and server addresses with the agency.
If they fail to register as required,a warning shall be given and a fine of not less than 10,000 yuan but not more than 30,000 yuan shall be imposed.
In addition, service providers under these new rules are not allowed to use blockchain technology to “produce, copy, publish, and disseminate the information or content that is prohibited by Chinese laws and relevant state regulations. Therefore, they are required to ask their users to register real names, national identification numbers or mobile phone numbers, in a bid to facilitate the censorship of contents which are deemed to pose a threat to national security.
“Blockchain information service providers must store the logs and content published by their users for six months and provide this information to law enforcement when required,” the draft regulations proposed.
The latest rules come after some activists in China posted articles related to a recent pharmaceutical scandal or Metoo Movement in blockchain-powered platforms to skirt censorship given the anonymity and decentralization of blockchain technology.
Some influential figures in China’s blockchain community believe the draft regulations, if enacted, will exert impact on certain blockchain networks’ nodes.
Jiang Zhuoer, founder of the world’s third-largest mining pool, BTC.Top, said in his Weibo post that the policy draft will weigh on some ‘pseudo supernodes’,such as the 21 supernodes of EOS network and Lightning network’s hubs, but permissionless blockchains like bitcoin and bitcoin cash will not fall under the regulation because these blockchain networks have tens of thousands of nodes all across the world and do not subject to a single jurisdiction’s regulation.