Tech

Rebecca Asseh

China’s top court recognizes blockchain evidence as legally binding

The Chinese Supreme Court has ruled that blockchain technology can be legally used to authenticate evidence in legal disputes in the country. The announcement came as a clarification for litigation procedures to make it more comprehensive for the internet courts in China, according to the South China Morning Post.

In its ruling, the Supreme People’s Court declared: “Internet courts shall recognize digital data that are submitted as evidence if relevant parties collected and stored these data via blockchain with digital signatures, reliable timestamps and hash value verification or via a digital deposition platform, and can prove the authenticity of such technology used.”

The announcement, which would set a more comprehensive guide on how internet courts in China should handle legal disputes, also focused on how the legalities of blockchain technology should be handled as a medium for storing digital evidence so long as those involved will be able to provide proof.

The announcement comes more than a year after China first set up an internet court in Hangzhou in August 2017. That court handled more than 10,000 internet-related disputes—from domain names to defamation and even lending issues—to date. In June, the Hangzhou court made its landmark ruling that “evidence authenticated with blockchain is legally binding,” according to the media outlet.

The cases will be handled via a web platform called “netcourt.” Currently, there are proposals to set up two more internet courts in China: one in the southern city of Guangzhou, and the other in Beijing.

China is not the first country to accept blockchain records as evidence in a court of law. The U.S. state of Vermont signed a bill two years ago allowing for blockchain records to be used as “self-authenticating pursuant to Vermont Rule of Evidence 902.” In August, the government of the United Kingdom announced it’s running a blockchain trial utilizing digital evidence stored on the blockchain.

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