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China’s Internet Censor Tightens Grip on Blockchain Companies

On Thursday, January 10th, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country’s internet censorship agency, published a new set of laws entitled ‘Blockchain Information Service Management Regulations.’ The regulations will take effect on February 15, 2019.

Under the regulations, blockchain service providers cannot “produce, duplicate, publish, [or] disseminate” content that has been banned by the Chinese government.

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The regulations describe blockchain service providers as “entities or nodes” that provide public information services through blockchain platforms that are accessible through desktop or mobile sites. Once the regulations take effect, these “entities or nodes” will be required to register themselves with the CAC within ten working days of when they begin offering their services to the public.

This means that companies or individuals who offer blockchain services or run a node for a blockchain network must register with the agency.

Upon registering, blockchain companies must provide their names, server addresses, service types, and server addresses. Companies who do not comply with the regulations will be penalized with fines ranging from the equivalent of $737 to $4,420 depending on the severity of the offense.

A draft of the regulations was first published in October of last year.

It is because of events like these that the Chinese government has regarded blockchain technology as a threat to the social status quo for quite some time. Previous to the CAC’s new set of rules, the government instituted regulations that require users of blockchain services to verify their identities. According to a report by The Verge in late December of 2018, “typically anonymous blockchain users will now have to reveal themselves,” which may deter activists and politically-minded individuals from speaking freely on any blockchain.


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