China Economic Weekly | Huang Qifan: 8 application scenarios of blockchain technology, 3 issues to be guarded against

Text: Huang Qifan, Vice Chairman of China International Economic Exchange Center

Original title: "Exclusive | Listen to Huang Qifan about "blockchain""

Source: China Economic Weekly www.ceweekly.cn

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Huang Qifan's data sheet "China Economic Weekly" database

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The composition and subversive effect of digitization (ABCD)

Digitalization mainly includes big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology [commonly known as ABCD: A – Artificial Intelligence, B – Block Chain, C – Cloud Computing ( Cloud), D – Big Data . For the relationship between these people, the general view is "integrated development", which can't be divided into sorrows and sorrows, but you have me and me. For example, the industrial Internet based on blockchain technology, which has blockchain technology, big data technology, and cloud computing technology, combines the three concepts, and derives the concept of artificial intelligence and Internet of Things. However, some people believe that the status of ABCD is not equal, and the core should be blockchain technology. Because blockchain technology solves the infrastructure problem of the digital economy and hits the fundamental problem of production relations.

If the digital platform is used in analogy, the Internet, the mobile Internet, and the Internet of Things are like the human nervous system. Big data is like the internal organs, skin, and organs. Cloud computing is equivalent to the backbone of the human body. Without the network, the internal organs and the backbone can't cooperate with each other; without cloud computing, the internal organs can't hang up; without big data, the cloud computing is the walking dead and hollow. With the nervous system, the spine, the internal organs, the skin and the organs, plus the artificial intelligence of the soul – the human brain and the nerve ending system, the basic digital platform has been formed. Blockchain technology can enhance human brain response speed, bone robustness, and limb manipulation flexibility from the DNA level. The digital platform will be greatly expanded under the transformation of blockchain technology.

In terms of specific functions, the core functions of cloud computing are computing power, storage capacity and channel capability. The core functions of big data are large static data, large dynamic data, and large new superimposed data after data is used. Artificial intelligence The core function is to transform the data into information by filtering and removing the garbage, and then the information is pushed and mined to form knowledge, and the knowledge is formed into a decision-making judgment through intelligent algorithms; and the blockchain is a special Internet technology, which is A management method for the consensus population." If cloud computing and artificial intelligence bring about productivity gains and big data makes production data distribution more efficient, then blockchain is a revolution in production relations. From a larger perspective, human beings can develop modern civilization because of the effective cooperation between large-scale people. On this basis, blockchain technology can also greatly expand the breadth and depth of human collaboration through a new trust mechanism.

The reason why digital can subvert the tradition is that it has five genes: full airspace, full process, full scene, full resolution and full value. The so-called "full airspace" means: breaking regional and spatial barriers, from heaven to earth, from the ground to the underwater, from the domestic to the international can be ubiquitously integrated; the so-called "full process" means: related to all human production Every point in the life process, the information is accumulated 24 hours a day. The so-called "full scene" means: across the industry sector, all the behavioral scenes of all human beings and work are opened; the so-called "full resolution" means : Through the collection, analysis and judgment of artificial intelligence, predicting all human behavior information, resulting in new cognition, new behavior and new value different from traditional; the so-called "full value" means breaking the closure of a single value system, wearing Translate all value systems and integrate and create an unprecedented value chain.

The combination of the five-gene gene with digitization and any traditional industrial chain will form a new economic organization, which will have a subversive impact on traditional industries. When combined with industrial manufacturing, industrial manufacturing 4.0 is formed; combined with the logistics industry, an intelligent logistics system is formed; combined with urban management, a smart city is formed; and with finance, financial technology or technology finance is formed. In the process of combining with finance, the massive information and computing power of digitalization can greatly improve the efficiency and security of financial services, and reduce the operating costs, bad debts and risks of financial institutions.

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The basic content of blockchain technology

(1) Meaning and characteristics . General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized in the 18th collective study of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee on October 24 that we should take the blockchain as an important breakthrough for independent innovation of core technologies, clarify the main direction, increase investment, and focus on a number of key issues. The core technology accelerates the development of blockchain technology and industrial innovation.

The forward-looking deployment of blockchain technology and its integrated applications by the Party Central Committee highlights the enormous potential of blockchain technology.

The blockchain is essentially a decentralized distributed storage database. It breaks the credit of the centralized organization and transmits it to all other nodes in the block through data protocols, encryption algorithms, and consensus mechanisms. A decentralized, non-tamperable, secure and verifiable database establishes a new trust system. This trust system is characterized by five characteristics: one is openness. The blockchain technology foundation is open source. In addition to the private information of the parties to the transaction being encrypted, the blockchain data is open to everyone. Anyone can query the data on the blockchain and develop related applications through the public interface. The whole system The information is highly transparent. The second is anti-mite modification. Anyone who wants to change the information in the blockchain must attack or tamper with the database of the node on the 51% chain in order to change the data, which is very difficult. The third is anonymity. Since the data exchange between nodes in the blockchain must follow a fixed and predictive algorithm, the nodes on the blockchain do not need to know each other and do not need real-name authentication, but only based on the correctness of the address and algorithm. Identify each other and exchange data. The fourth is decentralization. Because all the nodes in the blockchain are being booked, there is no need to have a center to book the bills, so it does not need a center. The fifth is traceability. The blockchain is a decentralized database, and each node's data (or behavior) is recorded by others, so the data (or behavior) of everyone on the blockchain can be tracked and restored.

(2) The main type . According to the current application scenario, blockchains can be divided into three categories:

One is the public chain. It mainly refers to the blockchain of the “consensus process” that anyone in the world can read, send information (or transactions) and information (or transactions) can be effectively confirmed. For example, bitcoin, anyone can gain node authentication by mining (breaking the bitcoin calculation formula); as long as the value of bitcoin is recognized, anyone can spend money to buy bitcoin for certification. In addition, many so-called "encrypted digital currencies" are of such a nature, and "encrypted digital currency exchanges" also fall into this nature.

The second is the private chain, also known as the proprietary chain. It is a non-public chain, and it is usually not allowed to join (become a node) without authorization. Moreover, the write permissions of each node in the private chain are strictly controlled, and the read permissions are selectively open to the public as needed. For example, a community needs elections, so a voting system based on blockchain technology is developed. Everyone in the community can vote on the chain, but this chain is only transparent to the community and developers, and users can be anonymous and control. In community agencies, users are just participants. It can be seen that the private chain is a blockchain that is not completely decentralized. Many people think that if the blockchain is too centralized, it is not much different from other centralized databases.

The third is the alliance chain. A federation chain is a blockchain that is jointly managed by multiple organizations. Each organization or organization manages one or more nodes, and its data only allows different organizations within the system to read, write, and send. There are many examples, such as Libra, which is a coalition chain built with 28 international payment agencies. Recently, Everbright Bank, together with Bank of China, China CITIC Bank, Minsheng Bank, Ping An Bank and other blockchain-based technologies, is also a chain of alliances. The so-called Forfeiting trading platform is a simple understanding of bills. And its derivatives trading platform.

(3) Technical principles . For the moment, blockchain involves four major technical areas.

The first is distributed ledger technology. A distributed ledger is a database that is shared, replicated, and synchronized between network members. The distributed ledger records the data behavior between participants (such as transactions, asset exchange behavior, etc.), while the sharing mechanism reduces the time and cost of “conciling different accounts”.

The second is asymmetric encryption technology. The transaction information stored on the blockchain is public, but the identity information for each account is highly encrypted. A single account can only be accessed with the authorization of the owner, thus ensuring data security and personal privacy.

The third is the consensus mechanism technology. Developers must first consider what kind of technology can be used to enable more people to agree on a rule, and also to consider how many special nodes are confirmed, in order to achieve verification of data behavior in a short period of time, thus completing a Pen transaction. In general, blockchain technology requires a number of unrelated nodes to confirm a transaction. If it is confirmed, it is considered to be a consensus, and it is considered that the whole network can reach a consensus on this, so that a transaction can be completed.

The fourth is smart contract technology. Based on a large number of trusted, non-tamperable data, some predefined rules and terms can be executed automatically, such as regular, fixed, and fixed lending behaviors between each other.

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Application scenario of blockchain technology

Blockchain technology belongs to information technology and accounting technology. From the perspective of application, blockchain can solve the problem of information asymmetry and realize collaborative trust and concerted action among multiple entities, whether it is public chain or private chain. Or the alliance chain, its primary goal is to ensure that information data is safe, effective, and cannot be tampered with. At present, there are great progress in applications in many fields.

The first is finance . Finance has been digitized, so this is the most handy area for blockchain applications. At present, some people have begun to try in the fields of international exchange, letter of credit, equity registration and stock exchange, and have great potential application value. People's exploration is: whether the application of blockchain technology in the financial field can “eliminate the intermediary link”, realize peer-to-peer docking, and complete the transaction more quickly while reducing transaction costs. For example, the blockchain distributed architecture and trust mechanism can simplify the financial institution's wire transfer process, especially involving complex transactions between multiple financial institutions.

The second is supply chain and logistics . Blockchain also has unique advantages in the field of Internet of Things and logistics document management. Enterprises can reduce the cost of logistics document management through blockchain, monitor and trace the whole process of production, warehousing, transportation and arrival of goods, and improve logistics chain management. effectiveness. In addition, the blockchain is also considered to have rich application scenarios in the field of supply chain management. For example, direct transactions between upstream and downstream can increase transparency and improve trust and efficiency. If the blockchain contains supply chain finance, it will be greatly Improve the efficiency of finance while reducing the credit costs of financial institutions and enterprises.

The third is public services . The blockchain also has a rich application scenario in the information fields related to public life, such as public services, energy, and transportation. For example, at present, due to the lack of trust, the questions that the people respond to and need to solve are individual problems or common problems? The central manager is sometimes uncertain, but after using blockchain technology, the problem may find the right answer in an instant.

The fourth is certification and notarization . Blockchain has non-tamperable characteristics, can provide solutions for the problem of “certificate of deposit” in economic and social development, and provides a new idea for realizing social credit, and there is a large market space. For example, recently, Tencent launched the “blockchain electronic invoice”, which became the “explosion” of blockchain technology application.

The fifth is charity and charity . The data stored and distributed on the blockchain cannot be modified, and it is naturally suitable for use in social welfare scenarios. Relevant information in the public welfare process, such as donation projects, fundraising details, fund flow, and feedback from recipients, can be stored in a specific blockchain, transparent, open, and socially monitored through publicity.

Sixth is digital copyright development . Blockchain technology can be used to authenticate the work, prove the existence of works such as text, video and audio, and ensure the authenticity and uniqueness of the ownership. After the works are confirmed on the blockchain, the subsequent transactions will carry out real-time distributed records, realize the full lifecycle management of digital copyright, and provide technical guarantee for judicial forensics of infringement.

Seven is insurance . In terms of insurance, insurance institutions are responsible for capital collection, investment, claims and other processes, which tend to have higher management and operating costs, but blockchain technology may improve efficiency and reduce costs; especially in claims, through the blockchain to achieve "smart contracts" ", there is no need for the applicant to apply, and no insurance company approval is required. As long as the behavior of the insured triggers the conditions of the claim, the automatic payment can be realized immediately.

Eight is information and data sharing . At present, the government's public information resource platforms at all levels of the country are strongly integrated, with the aim of effectively sharing information between various information systems, saving storage space and improving efficiency. In terms of technology, if you can take advantage of the distributed nature of blockchain, you can open up the “data barriers” between regulators, break down “data silos”, realize information and data sharing, and enhance public access to government open resources. Efficiency and reduce waste of funds.

In general, the blockchain creates value by creating trust, enabling multi-party entities with high degree of dispersion, long management chain, and many links to effectively cooperate, thereby improving synergy efficiency and reducing communication costs.

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Blockchain technology should be guarded against problems

After all, blockchain technology is still in the early stage of germination, and its theoretical basis, application scenarios, technical security, standard supervision, etc. must be greatly improved. At present, blockchain technology has at least three problems in theory and practice that cannot be avoided :

The first is the relative scarcity of storage space . For example, there is a service with 10 million people in use. In theory, the blockchain should establish 10 million nodes. If A transfers 100 yuan to B, the previous server only changed one or several server information, now it needs 10 million times. Information modification and storage, storage space, storage time, energy consumption increased by 10 million times, costing huge social resources and time. Earth resources are in short supply and time is irreversible, so this shortcoming is catastrophic in the short term. At present, the bitcoin wallet already needs to occupy a few hundred G of storage space, the general mobile phone can not be used, the ordinary desktop machine is also awkward, a bitcoin transfer, there is no way to arrive in real time, and a large number of nodes must be stored for a long time. Can be completed. Therefore, whether it is the ability to change the world, or the ability of the blockchain itself, as a mode of storage and information transmission, the blockchain in the short term and the invention of the Internet, the invention of storage materials silicon, the invention of artificial intelligence technology There is still a large distance compared to these, and it is not enough to compete with these epoch-making technologies.

The second is the decentralization of relativity . First, in the blockchain, as long as everyone records the owner's data, everyone can become a center, so some people think that the blockchain is not “decentralized” but “multi-centered”, I am even more Willing to call it "multi-centered"; second, there must be a "group owner" in the blockchain. Is this group owner the center? Third, who made the rules in the blockchain? Can the rules be modified? Is the person making and modifying the rules a center? Therefore, the “decentralization” of the blockchain is likely to be “to deconstruct other people’s, traditional centers and establish themselves as the center”.

Libra, for example, if it really works according to the rules of its white paper, it will inevitably lead to several consequences: First, bypassing national financial regulators and the central bank to issue world currencies, making the Libra Association (the Union) actually become the issuer of the world currency. The status is comparable to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Libra function is stronger than the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) (SDR is just a non-circulating bookkeeping currency, but Libra is not only circulated but also booked); If the money basket wants to let anyone enter, whoever does not want to enter, who can not enter, can easily exclude some national currencies (such as Libra's currency basket is first planned to include the dollar, euro, pound, Singapore dollar, and exclude the yuan Third, the Libra Association has the final say in the basket. In the fourth, the basket currency will invest in assets, and the appreciation of the assets will lead to the appreciation of Libra. This appreciation is expected to result in countries within the basket currency. The local currency in the hands of the public was all converted into Libra, so that the national currency was out of control and the monetary policy failed.

Given that the Libra Association can override government and even the IMF, Libra is very aggressive and has a strong aggressiveness. This is also the key reason why governments are opposed and even the United States does not dare to let it out. From Libra, it can be seen that the blockchain technology is not decentralized, but “going to the central bank of countries (traditional currency center), and establishing the new currency center of Libra Association, and it is the world currency center.

The third is the relative effectiveness of security . Blockchain technology is tamper-proof and anonymous, but can it be done if the developers and leaders of the blockchain want to tamper with the data? Is it easier to do? It is based on such doubts that many people believe that blockchain can be anti-fraud is relative. For example, there are now a large number of developers of so-called "encrypted digital currencies" who close transactions immediately when they see an event that is not conducive to themselves (such as regulation). Closing the trading system is to change the rules. Is the holder of the "encrypted digital currency" safe? Does the so-called digital asset it holds still exist? How much value is there? For another example, bitcoin holders have been stolen. Imagine if a thief has no technical tampering ability, how to steal someone else's bitcoin? Therefore, all technologies will have loopholes, especially Internet communication technology and computer technology. They need to fill in the loopholes frequently, and no one can say that it is perfect.