China's Blockchain Technology Standardization: Exploration, Practice and Journey Beginning in 2016

This article was written by Wanxiang Blockchain Standardization Research Group.

Significance of blockchain technology standardization

Blockchain technology is derived from the technical architecture mentioned by Satoshi Nakamoto in the paper "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System." Unlike other mature IT technologies, the development process of blockchain technology has a strong technical geek color. Many high-impact blockchain solutions have their own technical characteristics and development ideas, lacking the promotion and The participation of industry associations has led to the lack of a universal standard system in terms of infrastructure design, smart contract implementation, data privacy protection management, system deployment and auditing, supervision, and compliance. As a result, the low standardization of blockchain technology and the difficulty of achieving interoperability have greatly restricted its large-scale application in various mainstream fields.

However, the characteristics of enhancing trust and promoting collaboration brought by blockchain technology are exactly the key to solving the pain points of many existing social processes. This also urges practitioners in many fields to start trying to conduct research on blockchain technology, from technical research and development, scenario discussion to standard design, etc., to find a feasible path for the application of blockchain.

The standardization of blockchain technology is of great significance for its application

First, it is the premise for the further development and specialization of the blockchain industry, and the basis for exploring the development law of the blockchain. Second, it is a technical guarantee to improve the security, reliability, and compliance of the blockchain technology. Finally, It is a bridge for scientific research, production, and use. Through standardization, the blockchain industry can better coordinate development, promote interoperability and industry resource sharing, and provide industrial guarantee for large-scale application of blockchain technology.

It all started in 2016

1.The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology established the Blockchain Technology and Industrial Development Forum

In July 2016, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China issued a letter on organizing and conducting research on the development of blockchain technology and application trends (Gongxin Soft Letter [2016] No. 840), and commissioned the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China Electronics Standardization Research Institute Major domestic enterprises such as Wanxiang Holdings (with the relevant tasks undertaken by Wanxiang Blockchain), Ant Financial, Weizhong Bank, and Ping An Insurance, are conducting research on blockchain technology and application development trends. On August 5, 2016, in order to effectively implement the requirements of Gongxin Soft Letter [2016] No. 840, the Electronic Standards Institute of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology organized a preparatory meeting and a white paper preparation kick-off meeting for the Blockchain Technology and Industrial Development Forum in Beijing.

2. The beginning of the exploration of blockchain standardization

On September 25 of the same year, more than 30 experts from the China Electronics Technology Standardization Institute, Wanxiang Blockchain, Weizhong Bank, Ping An and other units rushed to Fuxian Lake, Yunnan, and carried out a week-long closed white paper writing work. After the writing conference began, the participating experts realized that the difficulty of blockchain technology standardization was much more difficult than expected, because the development path and differences of the blockchain technology solutions at that time were too great.

Is "smart contract" a standard module of the blockchain system? Are smart contracts only Turing-complete contracts? How are regulatory, auditing, and compliance components specified in the system? Does the blockchain refer to the "block + chain" architecture, or can it refer to all distributed ledgers? Should we cover everything with the definition of "blockchain" or "blockchain and distributed accounting technology"? In response to these issues, the participating experts launched active discussions, debates and quarrels. Although the preparation task was only a white paper, the experts at the conference felt the difficulty of standardization in the future. Such a fierce debate scene is not uncommon in future reference architecture group standards, national standards, and international standard-setting meetings.

3.Continuous blockchain standardization practice

In the following years, under the guidance of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the China Blockchain Technology and Industry Development Forum successively released "Blockchain Data Format Specifications", "Blockchain Reference Architecture", "Blockchain Smart Contract Implementation Specifications", "Blocks Chain privacy protection specifications, Blockchain Certificate Application Guide, Blockchain Privacy Computing Service Guide, Blockchain Cross-chain Implementation Guide and other important group standard documents, and related national standards of the Blockchain Reference Architecture Already in the process of writing, it has become a major contributor to China's blockchain standardization work.

4. ISO Blockchain International Standard Work

If it is said that the domestic blockchain standardization work is a dispute over the technical route and the industry's right to speak, then the international standard is related to the national right to speak. As early as April 2016, the Australian Standards Organization submitted a proposal for a new field of technical activities to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), hoping to establish a technical committee on blockchain and electronic distributed ledger technology. In September 2016, the International Organization for Standardization approved this proposal, and eventually named the committee "Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology", which is the "ISO / TC307 Blockchain International Standard" often reported by domestic media. The technical committee has successively held standards conferences in Sydney, Tokyo, London, Moscow and other places, and drafted a number of drafts of international standards, and China has made important contributions in it-the aforementioned "China Blockchain Technology" prepared by China And Application Development White Paper, "Blockchain Reference Architecture", and "Blockchain Data Format Specification" have all contributed to international standards as standardized documents, establishing China's right to speak in terms of blockchain international standards.

Blockchain standardization system and organization

Introduction of China Electronics Technology Standardization Institute

(Institute of Electronic Industry Standardization of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Fourth Institute of Electronics of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, referred to as "Electronic Standards Institute" and "Four Electronics Institutes"), founded in 1963, is a business directly under the Ministry of Industry and Information The unit is a basic, public welfare and comprehensive research institution engaged in the standardization of electronic information technology in the country. The Institute of Electronic Standards takes electronic information technology standardization as the core. It provides professional research on policy research, industry management, and strategic decision-making to the government by providing standard scientific research, testing, measurement, certification, and information services. It also provides standardized technical services to society. The Electronic Standards Institute undertakes the work of 55 TC / SC domestic technical centers of IEC and ISO / IEC JTC1 and the work of the 17 National Standardization Technical Committee Secretariats. It has established cooperative relationships with many international standardization organizations and well-known foreign institutions for the application of standards. Promotion, industry promotion and international exchange and cooperation have played an important role in promoting.

Introduction to Wanxiang Blockchain Standardization Research Group

Since 2016, Wanxiang Blockchain has established a specialized blockchain standardization research group through the deep accumulation of Wanxiang Blockchain Lab's technical research, architecture design, industrial exploration and standardization practices in the blockchain technology industry. Actively participate in domestic and international blockchain standardization.

1. Wanxiang Blockchain is the vice-chairman unit of the China Blockchain Technology and Industry Development Forum.

2. Wanxiang Blockchain continues to contribute its accumulated architecture design, user privacy protection, compliance, and security standards experience to the development of blockchain standard work, and implements the standard system in practice.

3.Wanxiang Blockchain participated in compiling the "China Blockchain Technology and Application Development White Paper", "blockchain data format specification", "blockchain reference architecture", "blockchain privacy protection specification", and "blockchain certificate" Application Guide, "Blockchain Privacy Computing Service Guide", "Blockchain Cross-Chain Implementation Guide" and other white papers and standards. As a core drafting unit, Wanxiang Blockchain participated in the preparation of the national standard of the "Blockchain Reference Architecture", which has been officially established in the National Standards Committee, and has led the preparation of the group standard (published) of the "Blockchain Privacy Computing Service Guide".

In the future, Wanxiang Blockchain will continue to actively participate in the research of blockchain technology standardization in response to the call of the country, contribute to China's blockchain standardization cause, and promote the field application of blockchain technology.