- J Markezic and M Bacina
Inside China's plans for a new blockchain network
China has reportedly been building a platform that utilises blockchain technology for Chinese domestic and international companies. The Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) is primarily targeted at companies offering computing infrastructure services.
BSN identifies itself as a platform acting as a 'one-stop-shop' to offer blockchain solutions for cloud infrastructure - a process that has traditionally proven costly and time consuming.
BSN is being spearheaded by Red Date Technology with backing from organisations linked to the Chinese government, including the State Information Centre and the National Development and Reform Commission. The BSN also has the support of China Mobile, a large state-owned telecommunications company.
A key driver for Red Date in the BSN project is said to address interoperability - the ability to make different blockchains work with and off each other. Practically, this means that organisations who wish to use several blockchain applications to carry on business would be able to use the BSN network through the use of a cloud vendor. Traditionally using several blockchain applications would require installing new servers.
There is no cryptocurrency attached to the BSN platform due to the Chinese government placing a prohibition order on crypto-related transactions. Jehan Chu, managing partner at Kenetic (a venture capital firm that has invested in Red Date Technology) has made the point that large-scale companies are trying to avoid cryptocurrencies attached to their infrastructure, saying:
This is where non-crypto use case comes in and BSN offers a compelling infrastructure...
Paul Triolio, technology policy lead at Albright Stonebridge, recently commented on BSN's strategic aim to offer its services up to the global market:
Part of the interest in BSN is that it is such an ambitious undertaking. This ambition also means that it has come under heavy scrutiny because of the Chinese government connection... is trying to separate the BSN International portion from the domestic efforts, and [trying] to distance from Chinese government backing.
It is understandable that the global market would be apprehensive to adopt and utilise the BSN platform, especially considering recent apprehension to utilise Chinese technologies, such as Huawei, over privacy concerns and surveillance.
The BSN project is clearly a move from the Chinese government to position itself within the blockchain ecosystem on its own terms, and is only one part of a suite of the Government's responses to what it refers to as 'frontier' technologies including notably quantum computing.