WeBank, China’s first internet-only bank founded by Tencent, has become the first technical infrastructure provider for China’s national blockchain network, reported state-run China Financial News.

Why it matters: The network, called Blockchain-Based Service Network (BSN), is an underlying platform to host blockchain applications from state-controlled entities in the country, from legal to finance to telecommunications.

  • Industry experts see the network as a significant milestone in the establishment of basic information infrastructure, an essential part of China’s landmark Belt and Road Initiative.
  • China officially announced BSN’s launch in October. It claims to reduce the technical and economic threshold for developing and deploying blockchain applications.

Details: Shenzhen-based WeBank is providing technology support to BSN with its open-source consortium chain FISCO BCOS.

  • BSN is made up of 14 members, including Tencent’s WeBank, cryptocurrency exchange Huobi China, the State Information Center, and state-owned companies like UnionPay, China Mobile, and China Telecom. BSN members will develop and operate blockchain-based applications that will run on the network.
  • FISCO BCOS is currently the only Chinese-developed consortium chain platform providing technology infrastructure support for BSN.
  • Developing BSN is “akin to China’s state railway company laying out the high-speed rail system before any tracks can be connected to the network,” Tan Min, Secretary-General of the organization in charge of BSN’s development, told TechNode. Members of BSN are responsible for laying down the railway tracks that trains, or blockchain applications, will run on.
  • The plan for BSN is to be  “international-facing,” Tan said. Linux Foundation, which created the well-known open-source project Hyperledger, has agreed to be a part of BSN. Baidu’s XChain and Suzhou Tongji University’s WuTongChain will be on board in the near future, Tan said.

Context: WeBank launched the FISCO BCOS (Be Credible, Open & Secure) platform near the end of 2018. The platform was developed by China’s Financial Blockchain Shenzhen Consortium (FISCO), whose members include WeBank, Tencent Cloud, Huawei, and Shenzhen Securities Communication.

  • BSN started beta testing phase in October, according to Xinhua, with all related content, applications, and resources free of charge prior to March 2020.

Nicole Jao is a reporter based in Beijing. She’s passionate about emerging trends, news, and stories of human interest within the world of technology. Connect with her on Twitter or via email: nicole.jao.iting@gmail.com.

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