1st Edition

China, Trust and Digital Supply Chains Dynamics of a Zero Trust World

By Warwick Powell Copyright 2023
    200 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    China, Trust and Digital Supply Chains presents a critical reflection on blockchain technologies in the context of their adoption in China and the world that China is engaged in and shaping. Approaching the issues of blockchain technology adoption and development on China’s own terms is critical if policy makers and others are to make effective sense of one of the key dynamics shaping the next few decades of the global landscape.

    The work challenges the ‘trust’ trope that dominates much discussion of blockchain technology’s application. It argues, contrary to the predominant trust trope, that blockchain is not about trust at all. It shows that China’s re-imagining of the 21st century global order is premised on driving intensified cross-border economic interactions without the presupposition of trust, and blockchain technology makes that possible. It also explores the paradox of technological decentralisation being taken up with vigour by a centralist polity, the role of blockchain technology as a critical condition of existence for the successful globalisation of China’s digital currency initiative, and the need to devise governance institutions that are multilateral in nature, to reflect the multi-polar nature of decentralised information systems with domestic and cross-border permutations.

    This book is of significant interest to readers of political economy, public policy, blockchain technology and Chinese studies.



    Chapter 1: A World Without Trust?

    Chapter 2: Blockchain with Chinese Characteristics - Healthy China 2030, Supply Chains and Data Integrity

    Chapter 3: A Monetary Evolution - Digital currency, circuits of capital accumulation and supply chain finance

    Chapter 4: The Governance of Zero Trust - Cross-border data flows, information associations, new global dimensions on the ‘rule of law’ and Blockchain-enabled Services Network (BSN)

    Chapter 5: Trust Redivivus - the Chinese Citizen-Consumer as a Driver of Trans-National Entanglement

    Conclusion: Blockchains with Chinese Characteristics - trustworthiness without trust in the pursuit of Common Prosperity


    Warwick Powell is Adjunct Professor at Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

    "Blockchain technology can be mysterious for many, but Warwick Powell has done a fine job of shedding light on it for those who are not particularly technically minded. His ability to clearly weave a high level of technical knowledge together with broader considerations of supply chains, cross border trade, Chinese political economy and global trade dynamics provides the reader with a lot of food for thought on what blockchains with Chinese characteristics may mean for trading nations in the 21st century."

    - Dr Kerry Brown, Professor of Employment and Industry, Edith Cowan University

    "Warwick Powell presents a groundbreaking study of the development and policy application of blockchain technologies in contemporary China. These technologies are at the forefront of reforming many aspects of trade, business and consumption in the world’s largest economy. Through extensive use of primary Chinese language sources, deep engagement with cutting edge economic, business and social theory, and years of face-to-face discussions with policy makers and influencers, Powell’s study reveals a deep knowledge of this emerging field. To know the past, ask a historian. To know the future, read this book."

    - Dr Gary Sigley, Faculty of Geographic Science, Beijing Normal University

    "Blockchain technologies will revolutionise business in the coming decades, enabling a world of reliable but trustless transactions. Financial services, sales and associated white-collar work will all mutate dramatically. A new tech era is beginning. In this deeply informed book, Warwick Powell depicts the emerging landscape lucidly and with verve and great insight."

    - Peter Murphy, Adjunct Professor of Social Sciences at La Trobe University, author of The Political Economy of Prosperity