China’s netizens use blockchain to spread censored news
Some people use cryptocurrencies as a way of transferring digital assets. Now, people in China are turning to them in an attempt to evade the snooping eyes of the country’s censors.
It all started last week when the food and drug administration of the northeastern province of Jilin announced that a major drug maker had been supplying inferior vaccines that were given to babies as young as three months’ old.
The story struck a chord with many Chinese, sick of a system they see as tainted by corruption and weak regulation -- and many of them took to social media to vent their frustration.
But then the Chinese government decided enough was enough and promptly started deleting posts and stories about the scandal from platforms like WeChat.
Which is where blockchain comes in.
Blockchain, the technology underlying cryptocurrencies, enables the creation of an online database network where all participants create, share and store records of transactions in a secure and efficient manner.
In a bid to get around the censors, coders hashed -- essentially converted the story to data by applying an algorithm to it -- and posted it as metadata as a transaction on the Ethereum blockchain.
And because blockchain is designed to be tamper-proof -- or immutable -- there is nothing the censors can do to alter it.