China has launched a blockchain smart cities identification solution, which will assign a unique global ID to the smart cities in the country. The country expects that the new solution will enable better information sharing and connectivity between smart cities.
Given the rapid urbanization that we see, smart cities are assuming more and more importance. The move by China indicates the growing importance of blockchain in the landscape of smart cities technology solutions.
Unlike 1975 when there were only 3 megacities with more than 10 million people, we now have 21 of them! This number is expected to reach 29 by 2025, as experts estimate.
The top 600 urban centres create 60% of the global GDP, and they consume 60%-80% of the total energy consumed globally. The lighting of these cities alone accounts for 19% of the total electricity consumption in the world.
Clearly, the time for smart cities has come! Smart cities are cities that use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to improve service delivery to citizens.
These cities use sensors, networks, and engagement-focused technologies to bring efficiency to several aspects. Smart cities technology solutions can help with energy management, traffic management, waste management, and other service delivery to citizens.
Experts estimate that the global smart city spending will reach $34.35 billion in 2020. Smart cities technology solutions encompass several cutting edge technologies, e.g., Internet of Things (IoT).
Technology solutions enabling smart cities need to enable sharing of data between multiple stakeholders, moreover, these stakeholders also update this data. Implementing smart cities solutions face a key challenge though, and this has to do with secure communication between the various smart cities systems. This is where blockchain can help.
China’s key blockchain smart cities move
Blockchain offers decentralized security, moreover, its distributed ledger enables efficiency. Data encryption, digital signatures, cryptographic hash functions, and consensus algorithms enable blockchain networks to tamper-proof data.
Blockchain can help to secure communication between IoT-enabled smart cities systems. Smart cities systems can store important and sensitive information on a blockchain network, which will protect it against hackers.
Smart contracts running on blockchain networks are transparent and tamper-proof, therefore, they can streamline transactions between stakeholders. Not surprisingly then, blockchain smart cities use cases are attracting plenty of attention.
Governments implementing smart cities solutions need to see the value from blockchain though, and this is where the move from China assumes importance. Its new blockchain-based identification system for smart cities was developed by 3 institutes in the city of Shijiazhuang together.
The Zhongguancun Industry & Information Research Institute of Two-dimensional Code Technology is one of these 3 institutes. Zhang Chao, the director of this institute has said that the system was developed entirely in China. Chao also said that China will independently distribute and manage this system, which has a unified distribution rule and tamper-proof code.
China’s blockchain momentum
China had reservations on cryptocurrencies earlier, however, the country has recently demonstrated a very positive outlook about crypto. The country is also looking at blockchain and AI use cases for international financing. Can China carry the same momentum in blockchain smart cities solutions? It will then be a positive development for smart cities as well as blockchain.