It seems as if the Chinese are getting extremely enthusiastic about all things blockchain after President Xi Jinping came out in overwhelming support of the technology last month.
The president wants to integrate blockchain into the digital economy of China and become a dominant player on the global stage.
However, Xi Jinping’s narrative was very much “blockchain, not Bitcoin”. So, what’s all this about rewarding Chinese soldiers with cryptocurrency?
Rewarding Chinese soldiers with cryptocurrency
According to the South China Morning Post, Chinese military newspaper the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) is waxing lyrical about the use of cryptocurrencies for more efficient human resource management. In other words, the use of token incentives for good performance.
The paper suggests that if the country’s armed forces embrace blockchain technology, it would consider a scheme rewarding Chinese soldiers with cryptocurrency.
The PLA stated that the technology could drive innovation and greatly improve performance in its ranks. It said that creating some kind of token reward system for its staff could help with everything from performance assessments to special skills, task completion, and training.
Quoted in the SCMP, the publication said:
“To award or deduct tokens according to one’s daily performance and thus generate an objective assessment would effectively energise the human resource management.”
A massive blockchain push in China
The article comes just a few weeks after President Xi Jinping came out endorsing blockchain technology, promising more funding and calling for faster development.
“More efforts should be made to strengthen basic research and boost innovation capacity to help China gain an edge in theories, innovation, and industries of the emerging field,” Xi said.
While the narrative was about blockchain and did not mention cryptocurrencies, many people argue that the two technologies are one and the same and that they cannot be separated.
China may be talking about private and permissioned blockchains rather than decentralised public ones like Bitcoin, but Xi’s words still had a massive effect on the market, causing almost all crypto assets to skyrocket, with BTC price going up by as much as 42% in a few hours. It also caused blockchain company shares to sell out in China the following Monday.
The separation between blockchain and cryptocurrencies
The news has caused a ripple effect throughout China, with local governments immediately pledging funding to the new technology and starting to explore possible applications.
The Chinese government has repeatedly stated the separation between cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, preferring to use the ledger wherever trustworthiness and recording tracking is required.
However, the PLA speaking out about rewarding Chinese soldiers with cryptocurrency may show a sea change around the narrative coming out of China. Just yesterday, Bitcoin was featured on the front page of its state media for the first time.
Beyond incentives for soldiers, the article also spoke about other ways blockchain could be used within the military – for example, to store and secure classified military secrets with high-level encryption.
Another example it suggested was an electronic shooting range that detects the marks on a target and feeds them back into blockchain records, creating a performance review and guaranteeing the “authenticity of training results”.
The logistics industry in China is already seeing great success with the tracking and tracing of food products across the supply chain. The PLA now says that it could do the same with its military logistics.
There certainly seems to be no end of use cases for blockchain technology nor ideas designed to impress the CPC. But whether rewarding Chinese soldiers with cryptocurrency will enter into the remit remains to be seen.