The Chinese authorities’ censorship measures and practices are back in full scale, as the country’s famous “Great Firewall” proceeded to restrict access to one of the most widely used ethereum blockchain data sources at the start of the week.
The site in question is etherscan.io, which has been up and running for a long time as an ethereum block explorer. Netizens with IP addresses from mainland China were unable to access the site on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.
China’s Great Firewall refers to a series of practices and restrictions implemented by the government to control, censor, and regulate access to foreign internet sites and outlets. Some news pages from Western civilization, as well as social media networks, cannot be accessed in China. It has been said that the authorities don’t want their citizens to access those sites to protect national interests.
A Recent Development
The situation is fairly recent. Greatfire.org, a firm that gathers and monitors information about the sites currently restricted in mainland China, says that etherscan.io was accessible with no restrictions or “censorship detected” as recently as mid-August.
However, Greatfire.org’s scanning record states that etherscan.io has been 100 percent restricted since, at least, October 30th. The only way to access the site from China is using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, and the use of these resources is also heavily restricted in the nation.
The reason why the etherscan.io block in China is newsworthy is that it is the first time that a blockchain explorer becomes an objective of an internet firewall. Other high-profile companies and Internet sites that are blocked are Google and all of its services, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and others.
“This is another instance of friction between the decentralized and immutable technology of blockchain and the tightly controlled, centralized government of China,” according to Matthew Graham, the CEO of Sino Global Capital, a famous blockchain investment company.
The executive of the mentioned firm also observed that “we should expect additional problems like these in the future as blockchain is integrated further into the Chinese economy and daily life.”
No Explanations Given
Of course, the Chinese government hasn’t yet offered an explanation about why the site has been blocked. However, in 2018 there were reports of crypto users encoded censored articles related to the #Metoo initiative and a farmaceutical scandal onto Ethereum transactions in a bid to overcome censorship.
Users shared the hash of those transactions on the WeChat platform while using etherscan.io, a situation that forced the instant messaging app to restrict them from viewing those etherscan.io URL’s from inside the app. The etherscan.io’s page stayed the same back then.
“Some have used this feature to post sensitive messages without the need to worry about the message being blocked or removed, or their identity being exposed. Anyone with a blockchain explorer like Etherscan can view these messages, so it is not surprising that this website has come in the crosshairs of internet censors,” per Graham.
By Andres Chavez