China’s Supreme People’s Court has ruled that blockchain can be used to authenticate evidence in legal disputes, Cointelegraph has reported, citing an official statement, published today. The new rule, which comes into force immediately, comes a part of a larger effort to clarify litigation procedures for internet courts across the country
“Internet courts shall recognize digital data that are submitted as evidence if relevant parties collected and stored these data via blockchain with digital signatures, reliable timestamps and hash value verification or via a digital deposition platform, and can prove the authenticity of such technology used,” the announcement reads.
The decision comes just over a year after China established in Hangzhou its first ‘Internet court’, which handles trials for internet-related disputes. The court handled its first case with blockchain based evidence in January, Cointelegraph notes. China plans to open two more Internet courts – in the country’s capital, Beijing, and in the southern city of Guangzhou.
Today’s announcement also clarifies that China’s Internet courts conduct cases online, with “litigation acceptance, delivery, mediation, evidence exchange, pre-trial preparation, court trial, and sentencing” all settled on the web.
Roughly a year ago China sent shockwaves across the cryptocurrency space by deciding to ban initial coin offerings (ICOs) and centralised crypto trading in the country. Despite its harsh stance on the cryptocurrency sector, the country has very remained interested in the underlying technology of digital coins and has indicated on several occasions that it wants to establish itself as a global blockchain leader. Earlier this year, the technology’s potential was publically acknowledged by China’s president Xi Jinping. During a speech at an annual academic conference hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in late May, Xi listed blockchain among the emerging technologies driving a “new generation of industrial revolution”.