Local Government in China Trials Blockchain for Public Services

A city district in southern China is using blockchain to streamline government services for its one million residents.

Jun 23, 2017 at 9:15 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:28 p.m. UTC

A city district in southern China is using blockchain to streamline government services for its one million residents.

Chan Cheng District, within Foshan City in Canton province, announced during an event on 23rd June the launch of a platform called Intelligent Multifunctional Identity (IMI) that lets registered local residents avoid filling repetitive personal information for different public services, presumably providing a more simple and secured process.

The newly revealed system is seen as an upgrade, incorporated to the current all-in-one workflow in the local administration.

Since 2014, the Chan Cheng District government has operated a central hub inside the city that serves as a physical portal for residents who need tax, pension, healthcare or utility services, among others. Despite offering a single source at which residents can access these services, repetitive work is needed for multiple processes.

According to the district's announcement, residents who are able to register on and verified by the IMI platform will have the control of their personal information and can grant access to a government service they need. Using paired public and private keys, the system is also said to be able to verify users' identity automatically without requiring them to be physically present at a service center.

Currently what the platform looks like and when it can be accessed for actual usage remains unclear. It is said to cover a wide network of public services such as banking, telecommunication, tax and healthcare.

While such system seeks to make government procedures more accessible for residents, as the announcement detailed, it also makes it transparent if the authority wishes to track any personal activity if needed.

Image via Gov.cn

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