The Supreme People’s Court of China has formally determined that blockchain-based evidence is legally valid and admissible in court. While its national bank is straight-up proud of its efforts to curb cryptocurrency adoption by its citizens, the country’s judicial system just came out in favor of its underlying technology.
A legal spat over copyright infringement between two Chinese companies brought this issue to a head. The plaintiff found the offending material online and took action, hashing the infringement and storing it in a distributed ledger managed by blockchain evidence platform Baoquan. Storing the material in this manner proves the time and date that something happened, giving the courts a chain of custody to track it. In this case, the blockchain becomes a technological tool to verify that something actually took place.
It’s a convenient boon to Chinese courts, who can now lean on blockchain-validated evidence to try cases. And as this use of the blockchain has nothing to do with tokens or cryptocurrency, the government has no issue with it. In fact, the country has an “internet courtroom” for quickly and easily filing lawsuits. With this new support for blockchain-validated evidence, legal proceedings can be expedited more quickly.
“China sees cryptocurrencies as a threat, but is not against blockchain,” said Antoine Verdon, CEO of Switzerland-based blockchain company Proxeus. “In fact, they see decentralized applications—and AI in particular—as two technologies that will unlock the next level of digitization. They’ll make make sure not to miss that train.”
Henry Liu is chief investment officer for Yeoman’s Capital and an advisor to Factom, whose blockchain powers the Baoquan evidence platform. He echoes Verdon’s sentiment that China wants to shun cryptocurrency while embracing the blockchain. “China is promoting ‘token-free blockchain’ or ‘coin-less blockchain’ projects that have real world implications,” he said. ”Factom has done a great job leading the pack in terms of enterprise adoptions, and it’s exciting to see that China has been at the forefront of this movement despite their public messaging.”
Liu suggests the United States might do well to take notice here. “We hope the U.S will follow suit, as the Department of Homeland Defense already works with Factom, and Gates Foundation has been using it for years now.”
Recognizing a blockchain as acceptable evidence in court only requires that we accept this new kind of accounting system without endorsing the businesses that use it. This technology is ultimately about transparency and accountability. Courts can now use it to transact in justice, not cryptocurrency.