With the ever-increasing war of words between China and the West, I was a little caught off guard when I ran across an article about Tron founder Justin Sun. When I think of blockchain and cryptocurrency I think of no government interference and the ability of the people and the markets to control and run themselves. Over the last few years though that has become increasingly controversial as governments have sought to get some sort of grasp on crypto and blockchain.
China has been a prime example with all of the rules and regulations that have rolled out the last couple of months. While part of me thinks of this as a good thing as it forces these blockchains to further decentralize it is rather unfortunate for those who get locked out of the developments in this space. For a while, I have thought that Tron has been too centralized but even so it plain just seems to keep working so who am I to judge something that at the end of the day just plain works.
Justin Sun though might have committed one of the biggest crypto sins by partnering with a government and in his case the Chinese Government who many are upset with due to the price crash they caused. He has partnered with one of the Chinese Communist Partys key institutions the higher education Central Party School and will be a deputy leader on a research project on blockchain-based social governance. This project was approved by the government and is designed to look into the advantages of blockchain in social governance.
Given China's very very poor reputation for privacy this to me is not only highly concerning but an honest to god head-scratcher. As an individual who built up his wealth via the way of freedom and lack of government interference the 180 that this is by running back into the arms of the government makes me wonder if the government had some dirt on him. When I further read about how he is hoping to show the party good faith that's when it hit me that this is just like Jack Ma who well the government has forced into silence or to champion the party. When Ma tried to buck the government they severely punished his bottom line in retaliation and he has since gotten back in line.
China already is ahead in the government race of blockchain applications but it has not become anywhere near what businesses across the world have been able to accomplish. It is worrying though that someone who was so successful in his creation of a blockchain is now wanting to show his loyalty and run counter to everything he stood for. It would be different if China was not using its influence to silence those around them but they are and blockchain has often been brought up as a way to break through censorship. Could it be possible that this is China trying to get ahead of the curve and figure out how to monitor and still censor future communications that people might think are resistant due to it being on the blockchain? For now that is up for debate but so far China has shown that it has the long game in mind.