China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has called for feedback on draft guidance for standardizing data security in blockchain and other emerging technologies.

In a document published on April 10, the ministry argued that data has become a “national basic strategic resource” and innovative element in social production. 

While the rise of big data and accelerating the development of China’s telecoms and internet sectors is a boon for the country’s digital economy, developers and government must understand the profound importance of tackling emerging, complex and severe security risks and challenges involved.

The ministry thus calls for ramping up the creation of standardized data security assurance systems, soliciting feedback on its draft guidance for securing “a rational and orderly flow of network data” in the digital economy. 

Ministry’s key areas of focus show strong interest in blockchain 

The document places a strong emphasis on the importance of development security standards in next-generation technologies such as blockchain, 5G, cloud computing and artificial intelligence. 

For blockchain, the ministry identifies three key dimensions for security development: application services, system design (including smart contracts and consensus mechanisms) and basic components such as network communication and cryptography.

Standardization for the blockchain sector would focus on data privacy, secure digital asset storage and protecting network interactions.

The ministry includes five items focused on blockchain in its draft standardization guide, which include research on smart contracts and blockchain security in financial transactions, security in the architecture of Internet of Things (IoT) data communication based on the blockchain, and an analysis of data exchange technology for IoT using blockchain.

The ministry’s proactive approach to the industry

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has played an important role in calls for the development of standards for the blockchain industry. 

Domestic blockchain standardization work began as early as 2016. The China Blockchain Technology and Industry Development Forum —  whose secretary-general, Zhou Ping, works for the ministry — had published 10 international blockchain standards by spring 2018.

Under the ministry's direction, the Center for Information and Industry Development has also been publishing monthly digital currency rating reports since mid-2018.