China to Launch National Blockchain Network in 100 Cities

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An alliance of Chinese government groups, banks, and technology companies will publicly launch the Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) next month.

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With a goal of nodes in 200 Chinese cities by the end of 2020, the new blockchain-based solution promises to reduce the cost of doing blockchain-based business by 80 percent.

Currently, JD.com — one of China’s largest online stores — utilizes blockchain technology to verify the legitimacy of its luxury brands.

The blockchain platform used by JD.com has recently been made open source.

Furthermore, China’s General Administration of Customs uses blockchain technology at 26 international border crossings.

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Hong Wan, NC State University

Hong Wan, Associate Professor at the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at NC State University, stated the Chinese government may use BSN to create a digital currency and payment system to rival services like WeChat or Alipay.

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Yang Xiang, Swinburne University

“When we look back at the development of blockchain technology, the emergence of BSN or similar solutions is inevitable,” said Yang Xiang, the dean of the Digital Research Innovation Capability Platform at Swinburne University in Australia.

According to the BSN white paper, programmers will be able to develop blockchain applications at an average cost of only $300 a year.

Current blockchain deployment and operational costs total approximately $12,000, according to the BSN white paper.

Unlike bitcoin’s blockchain, the BSN blockchain will run a permissioned protocol, where transaction data will only be visible with trusted partners

At launch, the BSN Development Alliance says the network will have 100 city nodes running the platform, with thousands of users.

Some are critical of the platform, including North Carolina State’s Hong Wan, who fears the network may suffer performance lag due to so many transactions. Wan noted the BSN has not released any technical specifications regarding the blockchain.

“I think we all have skepticisms about what is going on in the tech,” says Wan.

“It is still in the testing phase.”

China is not the only nation looking deeply into blockchain technology.

In 2016, Australia led an effort to create global blockchain standards through the International Organization for Standardization.

Furthermore, the European Union (EU), as well as, IBM, Facebook, and various other tech companies have all published their own standard blockchain practices.

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Jiangshan Yu, Monash University

“What I see happening with the global blockchain infrastructure is there will be many national, local, or business platforms that will all eventually come together,” said Jiangshan Yu, associate director of the Blockchain Technology Centre at Monash University in Australia.

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