China Turns to Blockchain for Digital Copyright Protection

In a major development, the China Copyright Society (CSC) announced the launch of the Chinese Copyright Channel on June 1, 2021. With this launch, the CSC, a government-linked public institution under the National Copyright Administration of China, aims to increase efficiency and minimize the cost to protect digital copyrights.

According to the CSC, the new blockchain can be used to do a wide range of activities like record proof of digital assets, collect proof online, issue notice to eliminate piracy products, help courts settle copyright-related issues, and much more.

In response to the launch, the president of CSC, Xiaohong Yan, said “Blockchain is ideal for digital copyright protection given its technical characteristics such as immutability, search-at-source capability, and distributed consensus”.

Over the years, China has seen a number of copyright violations and piracy-related issues in the field of digital content, such as short videos, music, online literature, and more. However, Yan thinks that the new technology will significantly help to reduce the cost of protecting digital copyright, increase efficiency, and give novel ways to collect evidence, trade digital products, and also secure the rights of the related copyrights. 

The announcement about China using blockchain technology for copyright protection comes at a time when China is cracking down heavily against Bitcoin mining. 

China crackdowns on Bitcoin mining

For many years, China has been the world’s epicenter of bitcoin mining which is an enormous energy-consuming process used for securing the cryptocurrency network and minting new bitcoins. Moreover, the infrastructure behind internet-based cryptocurrencies is more like a rusty traveling show.

In an effort to reduce the environmental impacts of bitcoin mining in China, the coal-dependent region of Inner Mongolia lately announced the prohibition of bitcoin mining and set up a hotline to report suspected violators. An estimated 70% of the world’s crypto mining capacity belonged to China in 2019, and the recent announcement by the Chinese government on bitcoin mining and trading can stop crypto’s monstrous energy demand.

The move by Chinese regulators has already started seeing the after-effects, as some Chinese-based bitcoin mining facilities saying that they may consider shifting their enterprises to locations outside China, including the US, Canada, Kazhakstan, among others, where there is low-cost electricity and the policies towards crypto are friendlier than China.

Largely, China’s attack on the crypto mining industry may impact the Chinese crypto industry, with such a drift being first witnessed in crypto trading and now its focus is on computing power. However, a shift from China to other places around the world where the issues of bitcoin’s environmental impact have turned out to be a top priority, in subsequent with China’s own crackdown on crypto mining in coal-powered locations may ironically end up making crypto mining greener and environmentally friendly.

It is also interesting that China is the first country to come up with a Central Bank Digital Currency known as Digital Yuan. China’s decision to act harshly against cryptocurrencies likely stems from multiple reasons. To increase demand for Digital Yuan must be one such reason. 

Chinese digital Yuan 

In October 2020, China had issued the digital version of its own currency as part of a large-scale pilot program, and now the government plans to officially launch the currency into circulation in the coming year. China had plans to hand out about 40 million renminbi ($6.2 million) of its digital currency to citizens in Beijing in a lottery.

The digital yuan, which is a version of the national currency of China is deployed on a blockchain, a secured online ledger technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. But, in this case, the blockchain will be authorized, meaning the People’s Bank will decide who can use it.

The continued testing of the digital Yuan by China comes as regulators revamped their crackdown on the crypto sector in the country. While local crypto exchanges were barred in 2017, authorities are now turning their attention to attack bitcoin mining. 

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