State-owned Chinese telecommunications company China Telecom is reportedly planning to develop blockchain-enabled 5G smartphone SIM cards, Sina News reported this week. The plans were apparently confirmed in a white paper released by the China Telecom Blockchain and Digital Economy Joint Lab at the 2019 China International Intelligent Industry Expo.
As Sina reports:
The white paper describes a blockchain application ecosystem created by China Telecom, which uses the unique decentralization technology to lead the new revolution in the digital economy, providing a more secure hardware infrastructure for 5G mobile phones, making 5G mobile phones gradually become decentralized computing and data. The nodes form a new value transmission network that shapes the mobile phone using a secure ecosystem.
The white paper reportedly highlights the benefits users can expect from 5G, and how the blockchain can play a role in the 5G era due to its “natural advantages of intelligent contract automation, real-time settlement of value and usage, transaction traceability, and tamper resistance.” The paper also alleges that adoption of blockchain technology in the mobile market has been hindered by “the poor performance of existing blockchain phones.”
The paper’s authors identified five specific application scenarios for 5G blockchain mobile phones: “digital identity authentication, financial applications, supply chain traceability applications, judicial applications and express delivery applications.”
Privacy was also mentioned in the white paper, as the authors acknowledged “the inherent rights of everyone in the 5G era to enjoy privacy protection.” Some critics are likely to question China’s commitment to that protection, however, given the government’s increasing focus on technology-based surveillance of its population.