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In a recent directive from China’s Supreme Court, internet courts are now required to accept digital evidence that has been verified by digital signatures, timestamps, and blockchains.
Blockchain Proving its Use Legally
In August 2017, China set up its first internet court in the e-commerce hub of Hangzhou. The purpose of this court was to deal specifically with internet-related matters like copyright infringement and online shopping disputes. So far, this court has handled about 10,000 similar cases.
The first time a Chinese court accepted blockchain evidence was on June 28th, 2018 in the matter of Douyin vs. Baidu. Proceedings allowed for the use of blockchain to demonstrate the validity of a copyright infringement case. In his verdict, the judge recommended a case-by-case approach towards using blockchain technology as a means of evidence.
China is not the first country to accept blockchain technology for legal evidence. In 2016, the US state of Vermont passed a law recognizing blockchain data as valid courtroom evidence.
Aside from its role in the courts, blockchain technology has made its way into China’s next five-year plan. Local Chinese governments are even using blockchain technology to secure tax invoices.
China’s Contrarian Views
However, crypto experts are still trying to come to terms with China’s “pro-blockchain, anti-crypto” stance. China has openly welcomed the capabilities of blockchain technology even as it bans Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies (viewed as a threat to its official currency, the Yuen).
The use of blockchain technology as evidence in the courts attests to China’s openness and represents a vital step in the country’s widespread adoption of the technology.