In a recent development, China has introduced a new way to verify the identities of its 1.4 billion citizens through a technology called blockchain. This move has been initiated by the Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN), a national-level blockchain project in China, and is likely to raise concerns among those who advocate for data privacy.
The RealDID initiative, led by China’s Ministry of Public Security in collaboration with BSN, will utilize blockchain to enable individuals to register and log in to websites without revealing personal information. This aims to keep business data and transactions separate from users’ private details.
As part of this initiative, China’s major social media platforms, such as WeChat, Sina Weibo, Douyin, Kuaishou, Bilibili, and Xiaohongshu, now require content creators with significant followings to disclose their real names or the names of their financial backers. According to state media, this measure is intended to boost credibility and facilitate public supervision.
BSN highlights that RealDID represents the world’s first national-level decentralized identity system. BSN China, overseen by China’s National Information Center in collaboration with tech giants China Mobile and China UnionPay, operates independently on the international stage through BSN Global, a separate entity with strong security measures in place.
This development coincides with reports of a bipartisan U.S. bill aiming to prevent federal government officials from using Chinese-made blockchains and engaging with companies like Tether’s parent company iFinex. The goal is to mitigate potential national security risks and safeguard private data from being accessed by foreign adversaries.
Despite concerns about China’s human rights practices, the U.S. recently removed China’s Institute of Forensic Science from a trade sanctions list. This move was made in an effort to advance cooperation in counternarcotics, specifically targeting the trafficking of fentanyl and related chemicals into the United States.