China’s equivalent to Wikipedia has begun using blockchain technology to track revisions to its articles, according to reports emerging this week.
Baidu Baike, which follows a similar template to the English-language Wikipedia, suggested it was using the technology to record revisions and amendments to individual pages, in a bid to increase the accountability and traceability of entries on its platform.
The fact that the service now uses blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, presents another case study for how blockchain can be used in real-world examples. Some have suggested it could even influence other sites to follow suit.
While the technology hasn’t been officially announced in a public forum, users of the service have noticed that change logs are being recorded on a blockchain, and with a specific hash value, confirming that blockchain technology is being used to track changes.
Several media sources have reported that the feature was switched on for users on Monday. However, given the structure of the blockchain in place, the hashed data remains off limits for third parties.
Hosted internally, there is currently no means of accessing the data, nor confirming the types and quantities of data that are being collected – for example, whether this includes details of the contributor’s name, or when they made revisions to an article.
However, with the service keen to emulate the Wikipedia model, there have been some suggestions from the firm that this will ultimately be made more user-friendly.
Baidu Baike exists in place of Wikipedia in China, which has been censored amidst wider government measures to strictly control access to the Internet.
Founded in 2008, the site already hosts more than 15 million entries, and has pulled contributions from as many as 6.4 million contributors since it was launched.
This is far from the first time Baidu has ventured into the cryptocurrency space, having set up their own blockchain-as-a-service platform, to help others develop blockchain applications.
Since launching the service, they have also explored a stock photography platform powered by blockchain, as well as a collectables platform in the style of Cryptokitties.