China is one of the leading countries when it comes to building practical solutions for urban areas. Blockchain in China can contribute to making smart cities a reality for hundreds of millions of Chinese people.
What is a smart city?
A smart city is basically a massive web of interconnected technologies. The higher the number of people moving to urban areas, the faster this web grows to sustain the population’s lifestyle.
The number of smart cities worldwide is expected to reach 600 by 2020, according to research by McKinsey. This economic progress wouldn’t be possible without digital technologies. Among them, blockchain could become the engine of smart cities not only in China, but all around the world.
Smart cities need advanced urban planning as well as effective management of transportation and energy consumption. That’s because urban areas need to provide work and business opportunities for millions of people.
Besides jobs, transportation, and energy, smart cities should also provide all other facilities necessary for good quality living. Healthcare, education, police, access to social services and entertainment – everything needs to be connected to the network.
By 2020, every smart city around the world is expected to connect an average of 9.7 billion IoT (Internet of Things) devices. We’re talking about massive amounts of data that needs to be stored, managed, and protected from cyber attacks.
Blockchains can provide the infrastructure to connect all technologies necessary for a smart city to thrive. At the same time, blockchains could also store the data in complete security, with minimum risks for citizens.
No one knows exactly how smart cities will look five years from now. However, it’s becoming clear that blockchain technology could contribute to making major advances. By 2060, 68% of the total population will live in urban areas, according to the United Nations.
Governments and local authorities must implement policies to make sure the population benefits from urban growth equitably and sustainably.
Blockchain in China: Shanghai implements a new standard
China is one of the leading countries when it comes to implementing innovative technology to improve citizens’ lives. The country is home to almost half of the smart city pilots worldwide.
Shanghai is one of the cities that’s leading the way when it comes to innovation and implementation of blockchain technology. The China Shanghai Yangpu government collaborates with the MXC Foundation, a non-profit based in Berlin, to implement a blockchain-based IoT standard.
For this specific project, the Yangpu district will develop a low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) protocol to provide wireless services to IoT devices. The partnership is expected to increase efficiency in public administration with direct effects on people’s lives.
Shanghai’s LPWAN is just one of the blockchain-based projects making China the country with the most innovative smart cities worldwide.
Thanks to its multiple applications for real-life solutions, blockchain in China can do more than connect devices. In Hangzhou, China Wanxiang Holding – a giant in the Chinese automotive industry – has been working on a blockchain-based infrastructure to monitor and improve driving behaviour.
The app, developed by the blockchain start-up PlatON, will also integrate a database containing residents’ ID cards. This way, responsible drivers can get rewards and incentives. At the same time, the ones that break the rules will get penalised.
Blockchain in China is thriving thanks to the intervention of local and national authorities in turning urban areas into real smart cities. The agreement between Shanghai and MXC is part of a national strategy to encourage development driven by innovation and blockchain.
The ambitious Chinese government seems ready to support innovation by all means to become a global superpower. Even though the government took a tough stance on cryptocurrencies, Chinese authorities have shown increased interest in the power of blockchain.
The blockchain revolution in smart cities
Blockchain in China and everywhere else in the world can bring multiple benefits in crowded urban areas. From instant money transfers to a public register for businesses, smart cities can use blockchain to solve many contemporary issues.
Smart contracts, for instance, could disrupt the way people communicate with authorities making interaction automated and easier. Just think how much easier it would make time-consuming activities, like filing taxes or obtaining government-issued documents.
China has been pushing to increase blockchain adoption for multiple projects. From wireless support for IoT devices to blockchain-based applications for storing data, blockchain in China enables smart cities to provide their citizens with better services.