Amidst China’s complex history with cryptocurrencies, there appears to be a newfound eagerness within the government to embrace the potential of related sectors. A recent report from local news outlet The Paper revealed that on May 27, Beijing’s municipal government unveiled a white paper heralding a commitment to accelerating the web3 industry’s development.
The white paper, titled “Web3 Innovation and Development White Paper (2023),” was released by the Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Commission (Zhongguancun Chaoyang Park). It emphasizes the inevitability of web3 technology as a future trend in the internet industry.
The paper focuses on key research areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), XR interactive terminals, and content production tools. It acknowledges the rapid growth of emerging applications like digital populations and collections, while also recognizing the challenges and the need for policy changes.
“The white paper proposes that the current development of the Internet 3.0 industry in Beijing still faces challenges in terms of technical and talent support capabilities, industrial chain integrity, and legal norms based on the analysis and judgment of the status and trends of the Internet 3.0 development,” the paper reads.
According to Yang Hongfu, director of the Zhongguancun Chaoyang Park management committee, the Chaoyang district of Beijing plans to allocate a minimum of 100 million yuan ($14 million) annually until 2025 to support these endeavors. Zhongguancun, often referred to as China’s Silicon Valley, will play a crucial role in driving this ambitious initiative.
Implications of China’s Shifting Crypto Stance
The release of the white paper has generated reactions, considering China’s past relationship with the cryptocurrency sector. Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, expressed his curiosity in a tweet on May 27, noting the interesting timing of the white paper’s release alongside the forthcoming implementation of crypto regulations in Hong Kong.
Recent developments suggest a potential shift in China’s stance on cryptocurrencies, leading to speculation about a change in policy after years of bans. Notably, China Central Television (CCTV), the state broadcaster, aired a segment featuring the Bitcoin logo, a significant event according to Zhao. He suggested that similar coverage in the past has coincided with increased market activity and price surges.
The CCTV segment showcased a Bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong, prominently featuring the blue Bitcoin logo and offering the option to “Buy Bitcoins.” This has further fueled speculation regarding China’s evolving perspective on cryptocurrencies.
This news is significant due to its potential profound impact. In 2021, China implemented a major crackdown on digital assets, including mining, which had a significant impact on the crypto market. However, the market eventually recovered, with Bitcoin reaching new all-time highs in late 2021.
With Hong Kong set to implement new cryptocurrency regulations on June 1, and the world eagerly watching the countdown, all attention turns to China. Positioned on the brink of a web3-driven future, China’s digital economy teeters on the precipice of a transformative era. This white paper reaffirms Beijing’s determined aspiration to establish itself as a worldwide hub for digital innovation.