Baidu's 'Wikipedia' Now Logs Revisions on a Blockchain

Chinese search giant Baidu has turned to blockchain technology in order to make its online encyclopedia more traceable and transparent.

May 29, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:59 a.m. UTC

Baidu Baike, the Chinese search giant's equivalent to Wikipedia, is now using blockchain technology to record entries' revision histories in a move aimed to bring transparency and traceability to the online service.

Although Baidu has not publicly announced the integration, searches in the encyclopedia service are already showing that every item's previous revisions are now recorded on a blockchain with a specific hash value.

In a WeChat conversation, a representative from Baidu told CoinDesk that the blockchain feature was first made visible to the public on Monday, although the hashing may have started last week, based on the timestamp of some of the earliest revisions.

Since the service is deployed on Baidu's own blockchain platform, however, the hashed data cannot be accessed in order to determine exactly which of a revision's details are being recorded on the blockchain – for instance, whether they include the time of the revision, name of the contributor and reasons for revision.

While the Baidu spokesperson declined to address technical questions, they did say the end goal of the integration is to help ensure the encyclopedia's credibility, as, like Wikipedia, anyone can make edits to content.

Launched in 2008, Baidu Baike primarily serves the Chinese community since its global counterpart, Wikipedia, is currently blocked within the country.

According to Baidu's own data, as of February of this year, the encyclopedia site holds over 15.2 million entries with some 6.4 million voluntary contributors making revisions.

The news marks the latest effort by the Chinese search giant in its experiments with blockchain technology.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, after launching its own blockchain-as-a-service platform in January this year, Baidu moved to trial different blockchain-based applications such a CryptoKitties knock-off and most recently a blockchain-based stock photo service.

Baidu image via Shutterstock

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