January 27, 2020

Chinese Citizens Bypass Censors For 47 cents of Ether

by Tim Sloane 0

While unlikely to spike the market value of Ethereum, this article on Futurism.com indicates that Chinese citizens are using Ethereum to post information the Chinese government would like to keep secret, including the fact that Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology was distributing unsafe vaccines:

“This weekend, news broke that drug manufacturer Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology was selling unsafe vaccines, causing an uproar amongst Chinese citizens, as we reported Tuesday. A blogger writing under the nom de plume “Beast” (兽爷 shouye) was one of the first to break the story; an investigative article they published on the topic went viral on the WeChat social network.

Chinese internet monitors deleted the story within hours and quickly removed any reposts. However, internet users figured out a way to share the story that will keep it permanently out of reach of these monitors: by adding it to a blockchain.

ON THE CHAIN. Adding the article to a blockchain was actually pretty easy. A user simply sent themselves about $0.47 worth of the digital asset ether and posted the full article in the transaction’s metadata, a section reserved for notes or other information. Because the Ethereum blockchain is a public ledger, anyone can view this transaction (and read the included article). The ledger is also decentralized, so there’s no single authority Chinese officials could pressure to remove the article.”

While it would be interesting if someone created an Ethereum application more directly aligned with anonymous and immutable publication of content, such a solution would likely upset most governments, be used by a wide range of criminals, and would most easily be blocked by nations such as China that have tight control over the internet pipes and could gray out or even block those blockchain nodes the government finds offensive.

Overview by Tim Sloane, VP, Payments Innovation at Mercator Advisory Group

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