China’s national blockchain infrastructure takes shape

4 mins read

Yesterday, China’s Blockchain Service Network (BSN) announced it would use the FISCO BCOS as the open-source protocol to build a national network for blockchain as a service. One of the main aims of China’s national blockchain infrastructure is to offer a low-cost way for SMEs to adopt blockchain.

Additionally, the State Information Center (SIC), state-owned firms China UnionPay, China Mobile and three other organizations who initiated BSN have signed ‘The Alliance Chain Framework Adaptation Agreement’, establishing the BSN Development Alliance.

The announcements were made at BSN’s first partner conference held in Hangzhou, which saw the entry of 14 new organizations as members, including cryptocurrency exchange Huobi, according to Sina Finance. In his speech at the event, the CEO of the exchange said it would help the BSN Alliance with blockchain training and research.

It is interesting to see Houbi being invited by the Chinese government for a blockchain initiative when it is cracking down hard on exchanges within the country. China Unicom, China Telecom and People’s Daily are some other new members joining the alliance.

What is BSN?

First announced two months ago, the Blockchain Service Network aims to become a blockchain hosting platform for SME’s and individuals. It provides developers with the tools to develop blockchain applications, creating a standardized blockchain across public networks, regions and business sectors to support digital economy and smart city initiatives.

A representative of the SIC introduced the main points of the BSN top-level design. The foundation is the consortium chain architecture, the core is the support for smart cities and digital economy, and the seven features are openness, public utility, scalability, open-source, multi-portal, low cost and autonomy.

While the BSN will reduce costs for blockchain development, deployment, operation and maintenance, it also aims to ensure interoperability and enable supervision. It appears that the BSN hopes to provide a more accessible alternative to private blockchain platforms such as Ant Blockchain and Baidu.

Role of FISCO

FISCO is the Financial Blockchain Shenzhen Consortium, with members such as WeBank, Tencent, Huawei, and ZTE. The platform, BCOS, is coinless and open-sourced. So, it is essentially a permissioned blockchain, which compliments the motives of the BSN Alliance.

It was initially based on Ethereum code but has been heavily adapted. BCOS is designed so that separate permissioned chains can run independently and interoperate.

The protocol supports Zero-Knowledge Proofs, allowing users to reveal information without sharing private data.

BSN pilot projects in Hangzhou

The BSN will be based out of Hangzhou, and the local government signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the BSN Development Alliance. The deal involves exploring several blockchain use cases for governance and smart city initiatives.

The Hangzhou government and BSN will launch a blockchain pilot for unified digital identity, for faster authentication of individuals using government services.

Another project is overseeing hotel disinfection by using the internet of things devices and blockchain. The BSN will also assist the local government in the monitoring of road health, by enabling citizens to upload details of the pavements around their residence. It will also employ a rewards system to motivate people to participate in public works.

Additionally, the BSN will work on a pilot relating to SME financing. By using local government data, it will be possible to create a credit rating for an SME, which is needed for banks to extend finance

The BSN expects to launch commercially by mid-2020.


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