The Great Chinese Firewall strikes again. This time it is the EOS community that is paying the price.
This risk was already present in the past, but this time the division seems to be due to the Chinese firewall and not only to the language barrier.
The problem is the communication between the members of the Chinese community and those of the rest of the world.
The first cause is obviously the linguistic one: outside of China, English is used to communicate, but the large Chinese community mainly uses Mandarin. This creates a real division, with the English community using mainly Telegram, and the Mandarin community using WeChat.
This causes separate conversations that take place in parallel, independently of each other, making it very difficult for EOS to meet the promised development time since it is a blockchain with democratic governance.
Added to this is there’s the Chinese state firewall, which isolates the Chinese community making interaction via the Internet with the rest of the world very slow and uncomfortable. So, regardless of the language barrier, the isolation of the Chinese community is a structural problem.
To overcome these problems, a new organization, the EOS Mandarin Arbitration Community (EMAC), has been created and is working to reduce the impact of these barriers.
EMAC has expressly stated that the official language of EOS is undoubtedly English, but not all community participants around the world are able to understand it without problems.
Moreover, in order to overcome the computer barrier of the Chinese firewall, which for example prevents access to Telegram, it is promoting the use of VPNs that allow access to resources otherwise inaccessible from China.
Moreover, in China WeChat is a sort of “super social media”, that is a combination of Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp, which makes it an incredibly widespread platform: therefore it will not be easy to convince the Chinese members of the community to use Telegram, since they also have to use a VPN.
Moti Tabulo, head of the ECAF, points out that there is also another language barrier: “concepts can be difficult to translate“. This barrier, in fact, would be a cultural barrier, as suggested by Amy Wan, founder and CEO of the blockchain startup Sagewise, who says: “I laugh when Westerners argue about decentralization. Only a few people in the world really control bitcoin, [ethereum], etc., and they’re all in China and don’t give a damn about decentralization“.
In addition to EMAC, which is focusing on providing the Chinese-speaking community with “education and training” on the governance of EOS, another new organization, the EOS Alliance, is providing Mandarin support on arbitration and other issues, also coordinating the Chinese translations of governance documents.
However, Thomas Cox of Block.One stated that the situation is improving rapidly: “I would say that as of a month ago there was a lot of sense of separation. I would say by now anybody who feels that there’s an unbridgeable divide probably was on vacation for four or five weeks“.