The South China Morning Post on September 10, 2018, reported that where China has traditionally been dependent on third-party notary organizations for authenticating evidence, blockchain records are now admissible in Chinese courts as authorities set up one of the world’s most advanced resolution systems for internet-related disputes.
China’s Internet Courts
On September 7, 2018, the Supreme People’s Court announced a new set of rules designed to simplify the litigation framework for internet-related disputes. In the document, a clause stated that effective immediately, the country’s new internet courts will recognize digital data as evidence provided they have been verified by methods including timestamps, blockchains, and digital signatures.
From the country’s first-ever internet court in Hangzhou back in August 2017, China has expanded the special legal infrastructure, handling more than 10,000 internet-related cases to date regarding issues as diverse as cybersquatting and libel.
Friday’s ruling is a big boost for the Chinese blockchain industry and come barely two months after another Chinese court ruled in favor of blockchain evidence.
In July 2018, BTCManager reported that the Internet Court of Hangzhou ruled that blockchain-derived evidence is now admissible in Chinese courts on a case-by-case basis.
According to Zhejiang Kending Law Office patent lawyer, Zhang Yanlai who was quoted in the South China Morning Post, blockchain technology is “secure, efficient, convenient and low in cost,” unlike the previous situation where Chinese courts were dependent on third-party notaries for evidence authentication.
Chinese Blockchain Industry on the March
Despite having some of the world’s most draconian anti-crypto legal frameworks in existence, China has been at the forefront of global blockchain innovation and adoption. The country’s last five-year plan released in 2016 explicitly mentioned blockchain technology, and many major cities and regional governments across the country have created policies and frameworks to help blockchain innovation. President Xi Jinping even famously described blockchain as a “breakthrough technology”.
On September 9, 2018, the country opened an internet court in Beijing – the second after the pioneering court in Hangzhou, and plans are afoot to open a third internet court later in September 2018 in the southern city of Guangzhou. Under the framework of these courts, litigants and required to attend hearings via live video link and all information about proceedings, from filings to verdicts are made available online.
On Sunday, the new Beijing internet court gave a sneak peek on its official WeChat account, revealing that all Beijing-based lawyers can gain access to the court’s working area by scanning their faces.
Instead of an expensive and time consuming manual filing process, litigants can simply answer a few questions on a machine which will then automatically file for them. Perhaps most impressively of all, a voice recognition system is used during hearings in lieu of human clerks to maintain court records.