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China to implement blockchain-based identity verification system

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Despite a blanket ban on digital currencies, Chinese authorities are exploring new use cases for blockchain, with the latest foray being an attempt to establish a digital identity verification system.

The Chinese Ministry of Public Security confirmed plans to roll out the offering dubbed RealDID to verify the real names of citizens using blockchain. The project will see the ministry partner with China Mobile Communications Group, Beijing Zhongdun Anxin Technology, and the Blockchain Service Network.

The plan highlighted several blockchain-based digital identity system use cases, including personal identification services, customized business names, private logins, and information vouchers.

The RealDID platform will give citizens greater control over their identities, choosing the information to disclose to third parties. Enterprises can only access limited and necessary personal information through several privacy-focused features.

It achieves high-level privacy by providing “anonymity at the front desk and real name at the backend,” which officials say could form the basis of a “national data infrastructure.”

“The combination of blockchain infrastructure and digital identity distributed infrastructure plays an important role in serving the development of the digital economy and supporting the circulation of national data elements,” the report read.

It did not disclose information for a public launch but hinted at onboarding businesses to the platform.

“[It is believed] that with the addition of more business platforms in the future, more application scenarios will be created, giving full play to the potential of BSN’s real-name DID service and creating greater value,” the release read.

Ahead of a proposed launch, officials have laid down plans for a conference for industry experts and stakeholders to explore the technical and regulatory direction of the identity verification system.

Leaning on blockchain for its digital economy

China has thrown its weight behind blockchain, leaning on the emerging technology for its central bank digital currency (CBDC) and metaverse plans. Chinese authorities are pushing for a unified national blockchain framework to support innovation while pledging to crack down on Web3 crimes to protect users.

In May, the authorities took steps to establish a blockchain center that will widen its talent pool to support industry growth. The center is expected to equip over 500,000 individuals with blockchain skills in partnership with research institutes, universities, and industry firms in the coming years.

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