China’s Blockchain Services Network, known as the BSN, will launch cross-chain interoperability on its testnets by the end of October and will integrate a second cross-chain protocol called Poly Enterprise, according to the CEO of the BSN’s main architect company.

Why it matters: With the inclusion of Poly, the BSN is edging towards a free-market approach to interoperability, first revealed to TechNode in June. The BSN is giving several options to developers instead of limiting the platform to one cross-chain protocol.

  • Interoperability between multiple blockchains is the key to the BSN’s ambition to become a global “internet of blockchains.”

Blockchain Services Network (BSN)
What: A platform for blockchain development, bringing together cloud services and different chain protocols on city nodes.
Why: To reduce the cost of blockchain application design and deployment while powering communication between chains. It will be made available around the world through local cloud providers, ultimately creating a global internet of blockchains.
Who: It is part of the government’s Global Blockchain Strategy unveiled by Chinese President Xi Jinping in November 2019, spearheaded by the China State Information Center, China Mobile, China Union Pay, and Red Date Technology.

Looking for the right connection: “Today all interoperability technologies are at application-level or framework-level,” neither of which is system-level “true interoperability,” Yifan He, CEO of Red Date, the company which is building the BSN’s software, told TechNode on Tuesday.

  • The Red Date CEO said the BSN team wants to test and understand how different interoperability solutions work and test them, which is why they are working with all kinds of application-level and framework-level solutions.
  • They hope to eventually “find a system-level solution with all these wonderful partners.”
  • Because the BSN’s underlying software is uniformly built, it is easy to deploy and test interoperability solutions. “We can add a system-level solution easily onto all public city nodes of BSN. It will be much easier on BSN than on the open Internet,” He said.

“A true interoperability protocol will be here one day, we hope BSN would be the one to create it.”

Yifan He, CEO of Red Date Technology

The candidates: Starting in late October, developers will be able to use Poly Enterprise and Irisnet’s Inter-Realm Industry Trust Alliance (IRITA) framework to build decentralized applications (dapps) that can work with other dapps, even those built using different blockchain frameworks.

  • For the first three to four months, they will be limited to the BSN’s testnets, before being moved to serve frameworks in production mode, He said.
  • The two protocols will form the inter-chain communication hub, an architectural element of the BSN platform. It is likely that other cross-chain protocols will be added.
  • Poly Enterprise is an adapted version of Poly Network, a cross-chain protocol launched in August.
  • Poly is backed by three blockchain foundations that run their own chains: Ontology, Neo, and Switcheo. The company building the Poly architecture is Onchain, a Chinese company that builds blockchain solutions for enterprises, and was founded by Neo’s co-founder Da Hongfei.
  • The goal of the team behind Poly Network is to eventually make it permissionless, Hongfei told TechNode.
  • Poly Enterprise had to be spun off from Poly Network to be integrated into the BSN to meet regulatory requirements in the future, Hongfei said.
  • “Ontology and Neo had already used Poly Network to transfer assets in and out from Ethereum. The total amounts to $600 million to $700 million,” he said.
  • Irisnet is a Shanghai-based company behind IRITA, a permissioned blockchain development framework for enterprises built in the Cosmos ecosystem.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: China’s BSN and Irisnet are building an ‘internet of blockchains’

Context: In June, Red Date’s He revealed to TechNode that Shanghai-based Irisnet will be the first company to enable interoperability in the BSN.

  • He added, “By the end of next year we will have three or four ways to make the inter-chain communication very very easy,” hinting that more cross-chain protocols would be integrated with the platform.
  • Since its launch in April, the BSN has attracted the attention of blockchain and crypto communities around the world, but is still in development, with new features being rolled out almost every week.
  • Earlier in September, it launched its “open permissioned” project, which will adapt permissionless blockchains to a permissioned environment. Red Date has said that this step is necessary to ensure regulatory compliance in China.
  • The BSN split into two networks managed by two separate entities in July in pursuit of compliance, Red Date told TechNode.

READ MORE: BSN says decoupling is to meet compliance rules in China

Eliza Gkritsi

Eliza is TechNode's blockchain and fintech reporter. When she isn't obsessing over the rise of distributed ledger technology in China, she helps with editing.