China gears for national blockchain network rollout

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China has long established itself as a leader in blockchain technology and come April 25, it will cement this position by launching its national blockchain network. Known as the Blockchain Service Network (BSN), it will make building on the blockchain easier and cut the associated costs by over 90%.

When China’s President Xi Jinping called for the country to embrace blockchain technology in 2019, few knew that his government was already working on what will be one of the biggest blockchain infrastructures to date. The BSN has been in the works since last year, with the government engaging telecom companies, financial giants and tech firms in the project. After months of testing, the network will finally be unveiled on April 25 to the world.

The BSN is not a blockchain protocol by itself. Rather, its development team describes it as “the internet of blockchains,” a centralized platform that allows developers to choose from various public blockchains to build their products. It enables a plug-and-play kind of development process, making it not only easier, but much cheaper to develop blockchain applications. Per the development team, the BSN network will bring down the annual cost of developing and maintaining a blockchain application from $14,000 to $425, an incredible 97% reduction.

Leon Li, the founder and CEO of Huobi Group, has been involved in the process with his exchange being a founding member of BSN. He described the network, “Designed to unify the fragmented market, BSN is a cross-cloud, cross-portal and cross-framework public network that enables developers to easily and affordably develop, deploy, operate and maintain permissioned and permissionless blockchain applications and nodes.”

While most people have judged China by its anti-digital currency stance, its blockchain efforts have been in high gear in the past few years. For one, Chinese companies have been among the most prolific in filing blockchain patents. And now, it’s all finally coming together in a groundbreaking network. The government intends on expanding the network internationally aggressively, once it proves it can scale domestically. The infrastructure is already in place, Li revealed, stating, “We have already deployed some international nodes in other countries, such as the U.S., Japan, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Singapore and France.”

BSN has already mobilized formidable numbers. According to its whitepaper, it brought in 2,000 members during its beta testing phase which kicked off in October last year. A third of these are enterprises, with the rest being individual blockchain developers. For deployment, the network will rely on public city nodes. Already, through China’s telecom services, it has signed up 100 nodes, and looks set to double this number by the end of the year.

BSN has also integrated some permissioned blockchains into the network which the developers can freely access. They include Hyperledger, a popular open-source enterprise blockchain as well as Xuper Chain, the blockchain protocol developed by the country’s search giant Baidu.

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