China’s massive $180 billion per year digital censorship machine is codenamed the Great Firewall. Some within China, however, are seeking new ways to overcome the censorship and reach outside the nation’s borders. These cypherpunks are turning to blockchain technology solutions to shield conversations and maintain individual liberties.
China actively screens all digital information into and out of its borders using both human and AI scanning. The use of blockchain technology in the country for privacy should not be a surprise. In addition to Bitcoin no longer being banned in China, the nascent technology uses distributed ledgers to make data virtually unhackable without private keys.
Blockchain for Freedom
Chat apps, message boards, and social media forums are being monitored at all times. Many users turn to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) which mask the IP address to protect the user. However, these are difficult to maintain. Harold Li, vice president of ExpressVPN, said:
Maintaining VPNs is like building sand castles on a beach. They keep getting washed away, so we build those sand castles more quickly and in more hidden spots.
Because these solutions are so transient, apps that utilize blockchain technology are making inroads. The distributed data cannot be monitored or collected without the user’s approval. In this way, internet activity can be protected throughout the process with only the user as the final authority.
Digital Tiananmen Square
The dissidents responsible for these types of freedoms see themselves as the children of the now 30-year-old Tiananmen Square revolution. Personal freedoms were demanded then, and these modern rebels share this vision.
Without greater levels of freedom, such as those provided for by blockchain technology, Chinese citizens see themselves as being reduced to sub-human. One dissident, a laborer named Quan, said:
“What difference would there be between us and animals if we didn’t even have a voice?”
Blockchain provides the tool necessary to create a free and unregulated space. In this way, the new technology is serving the cause of freedom—a basic part of the vision of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
Think blockchain is the best answer for those living under censorship and authoritarianism? Are there other systems that provide similar solutions? Let us know in the comments below!