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  • J Huang and M Bacina

Beijing publishes Internet 3 whitepaper

This week, the Beijing Municipal government released an "Internet 3 Innovation and Development Whitepaper" (Whitepaper) which introduces the Chinese capital's innovation efforts and development strategy in the cutting edge areas of Blockchain, Web3, the Metaverse and artificial intelligence.

The Whitepaper coined the term "Internet 3.0", which represents a broad concept covering both the Metaverse and Web3. A core feature of Internet 3.0 is that it enables:

highly immersive sensory experience and economic activities, merging and interconnecting virtual and actual realities

The Whitepaper foresees that Web3 will be one of the foundational building blocks for Beijing's "Internet 3" ambition, and mentions the global popularity of Web3, underpinned by technologies including blockchains, non-fungible token (NFT), privacy enhancement technologies, decentralised autonomous organisations, socialised computing networks, on-chain data analysis and content security.

Importantly, the Whitepaper identifies that Web3 lays the groundwork for identity authentication, ownership determination, asset transaction, and monitoring and supervision which are all vital to Internet 3. China seems keen on empowering a new digital economic system and enabling trustless multi-party governance in Internet 3. The Whitepaper cites the Development Report on Global Web 3 Technology Industry Ecosystem (2022) published by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, which lauded Web3's ability for users to control their own data and generate value from creating content.

The Whitepaper symbolises the efforts by China's state, private, and academic sectors to develop building blocks for the next generation of the internet. It introduces China's current achievements and future strategies spanning from artificial intelligence, telecommunication, extended reality headsets, and even brain computer (with an honorable mention of Elon Musk's Neuralink).

Importantly, this publication is a signal of China's commitment to strengthen policy support and accelerate technological breakthroughs for a variety of industries including artificial intelligence and blockchain. It acknowledges the lead of the US in multiple fronts, and emphasises efforts by different Chinese states and regions - signaling that we might see a whole-of-state approach by China to challenge US technological dominance.

Moreover, it is another nod by China to the potential of blockchain and digital assets to underpin much of the digital foundations of industry, despite multiple previous crackdowns on the crypto sector by the CCP which shattered the Chinese crypto markets - which at one point were nearly the world's largest. Now the wind seems to be changing, after China's pilot of a central bank digital currency, the launch of a state-backed NFT trading platform, a Hangzhou Court ruling recognising NFTs as property, development of a new blockchain network, and Hong Kong's newly minted crypto licensing regime for centralised exchanges.


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