Imagine a day when you can earn a living by authorizing others to access information about your behavior patterns such as how many eggs you eat daily and how often you play badminton. These facts will all become tradable assets owned by individuals.
This is not fiction, but a reality that may happen over the next 10 to 15 years powered by blockchain technology, said Zhou Sha, founder and CEO of Chinese blockchain technology platform Jingtum Tech.
"People may no longer need to work to make a living, but will do so for their dreams, aspirations and loves," Zhou said in an exclusive interview with China Daily.
Blockchain technology, by virtue of its sophisticated cryptographic techniques, will help affirm rights regarding the personal information of the individuals who generate it, while any enterprises that want to access the information must pay those individuals, Zhou said.
To bring this vision to fruition, Jingtum Tech, as one of the world's first companies to own independent intellectual properties of underlying blockchain technologies, has cooperated with the Ministry of Public Security in an individual digital identification program.
The program aims to eliminate the acquisition and storage of personal private information by any enterprise without the permission from the individual, Zhou said.
This is only one case of how blockchain technology will reshape the way people live and transform the Chinese economy in the foreseeable future, the official added.
Blockchain will help almost every industry to work in "a more sophisticated way" as the technology can enhance transparency and efficiency of cooperative mechanisms of all kinds, accelerating an economic upgrade from quantity-driven growth to quality-driven growth, Zhou said.
For instance, blockchain technology can provide a permanent, unchangeable and transparent record of transactions to help achieve better supervision over the allocation of project funds and reduce costs caused by the lack of trust between borrowers and lenders, according to Zhou.
President Xi Jinping underscored the important role of blockchain technology in the new round of technological innovation and industrial transformation in late October, urging more efforts to quicken development in the sector.
China's blockchain market heated up after the endorsement from the country's top leadership as its market size, as measured by annual spending, is forecast to hit $2 billion by 2023 and record a compound annual growth of 65.7 percent from 2018 to 2023, said market consultancy IDC.
During the 2018-2023 period, China is expected to see the highest blockchain spending in the sectors of banking, discrete manufacturing, retail, professional services and process manufacturing, IDC said.
Over the same period, the country is expected to be the world's third-largest spender on blockchain following the United States and Western Europe.
Zhou expected the rolling out of supportive policies for blockchain to gather speed, such as the launch of a digital asset exchange that may prioritize and facilitate the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises.
He also underlined the necessity of building government-led industry funds targeted at blockchain startups with world-leading abilities in the technology. "Still, China's independent research capacity of fundamental technologies of blockchain is far from adequate," Zhou said.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has vowed to actively foster a healthy and orderly development of the blockchain sector by strengthening planning and guidance, establishing standards, and promoting business applications.
Shanghai's sci-tech innovation board may soon list blockchain as one of the high-tech sectors it supports, Zhou added.
"If this takes place, Jingtum Tech will endeavor to be among the first blockchain enterprises that go public on the new tech board," he said.
Jingtum Tech launched its first underlying blockchain technology platform available for business applications in 2014. It has developed more than 20 blockchain industry solutions, ranging from cross-border payment and inclusive finance to electronic invoice and online retailing.
Looking ahead, cross-border currency exchange and renminbi e-payments in Southeast Asia will be one of the priorities of Jingtum Tech, Zhou said. The company is also exploring opportunities to expand the business to Argentina and Ethiopia.
"It is urgent to develop a credible, controllable settlement and payment system in Southeast Asia as part of a financial infrastructure for regional economic integration," Zhou said.