The chief architect of the Blockchain Services Network (BSN), a crucial component of China’s blockchain strategy, explained how it will work with Shanghai-based Irisnet to develop an “internet of blockchains” during a TechNode web event on June 18.

The BSN will inaugurate an “inter-chain, inside-BSN service hub” with Irisnet to power communication between blockchain frameworks as well as the outside world, according to He Yifan, CEO of Beijing Red Date Technology, the company building the BSN software.

Why it matters: The announcement sheds light on how Red Date will tackle one of the BSN’s key ambitions: connecting blockchains so that they can exchange data and tokens. Until now, it was not clear how Red Date would facilitate interoperability.

Details: The service hub built in collaboration with Irisnet will add another architectural component to the BSN—one which will power inter-chain and off-blockchain communication. 

  • He also revealed long-term plans to divide management of the BSN. There will be two versions of the network, one for within China and an international version. Each version will be managed by separate organizations. 
  • The BSN’s global version is set to launch on June 25.  
  • He hopes to have a working demo of the service hubs ready by September or October.
  • The BSN’s inter-chain communication service hub will use Irisnet’s Inter-Realm Industry Trust Alliance (IRITA). IRITA is an open-source enterprise consortium blockchain development framework in the Cosmos ecosystem. It helps developers build decentralized applications (DApps) that can communicate securely through a unified service interface. 
  • IRITA’s inter-chain communication protocol will form the foundation for the BSN service hub, Irisnet co-founder Harriet Cao told TechNode. 
  • Irisnet’s public blockchain network, called Irishub, as well as the wider Cosmos network, will be able to connect to the BSN through IRITA. 
  • This connection will enable communication between public and consortium blockchains, the two main categories of the technology.
  • Chainlink’s oracle network, a constellation of data feeds for blockchain applications, will be integrated directly to the BSN using IRITA. This will greatly improve efficiency, Cao said.
  • At TechNode’s event on Thursday, He said the partnership between Red Date and Chainlink will be formally announced on Tuesday.
  • Chainlink declined to comment on the news when reached by TechNode on Thursday.

“For all the DApps deployed on the BSN, if they want to talk to another DApp, consortium or public DApp for example, they can just call the hub and pass the data, and the hub will process everything.” 

—He Yifan, CEO of Beijing Red Date Technology

Context: The BSN is a Chinese government-led initiative to increase interoperability and reduce development costs. Telecom provider China Mobile, payments provider China Unionpay, and Red Date have all invested in BSN, and Red Date is the main software architect. 

  • The BSN aims to make DApps cheaper to develop and more accessible to coders around the world, likely boosting adoption of the technology. 
  • It also aims to build a “public infrastructure similar to that of the internet” that allows blockchains to exchange information, powering a new internet featuring the advantages of blockchain technology. 
  • Analysts believe BSN will eventually become “backbone infrastructure technology for massive interconnectivity throughout the mainland,” as well as crucial to the “Digital Silk Road” to connect China and all of its trading partners. 
  • Founded in 2017, Chainlink enables communication between blockchains and the outside world using a solution called oracles. Transferring data from the outside world into blockchains is the key to executing smart contracts. 
  • Red Date CEO He envisions an expanded BSN that can provide a much higher standard of privacy and security through smart contracts and cheaper data sharing between networks. 
  • “By the end of next year we will have three or four ways to make the inter-chain communication very very easy,” He said. 
  • These different inter-chain communication protocols are likely to include Polkadot, a close partner to Chainlink.

Read more: Tencent’s WeBank providing tech support to China’s blockchain service network

With contributions from Shaun Ee and Savannah Billman.

Eliza was TechNode's blockchain and fintech reporter until July 2021, when she moved to CoinDesk to cover crypto in Asia. Get in touch with her via email or Twitter.

Shaun Ee is a Yenching Scholar at Peking University and nonresident fellow with the Atlantic Council, working at the intersection of geopolitics, tech, and national security. Before moving back to Asia,...