China Might Not be Prepared to Launch its Blockchain Service Network Next Month (as Planned), Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

Several reports from media outlets have claimed that China’s Blockchain Service Network will be introduced next month.

However, these reports seem to be coming from local sources, which made the announcements before China’s first fatality due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In October of last year, Chinese state-owned media outlet, Xinhua News, revealed that the nation’s Blockchain Service Network (BSN) had begun testing. The initiative’s six-month internal pilot had been scheduled to end this month.

The ongoing development of BSN’s core technology stack had reportedly entered its final stages. Over 50 public nodes had been set up in 31 different provinces and municipalities based in mainland China.

In January 2020 (when the coronavirus had first been identified as a unique virus and not another break out of SARS), Tang Sisi, deputy head of the Smart City Development Research Center of SIC, had confirmed that the BSN would go live in April 2020, following the completion of its trial and testing phase.

Only one week later, Chinese authorities confirmed the nation’s first COVID-19 fatality.

Although the BSN platform has handled around $12.7 billion in total transactions for 44 banks and nearly 1,900 firms during pilots carried out in Shenzhen, there haven’t been any official reports about the BSN, since the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

The most recent reference to the initiative seems to have been made on March 9, 2020, when a report was released by Chinese state-managed media outlet, Global Times. Although the article confirms that the People’s Bank of China had acquired $4.7 million in capital for the development of BSN, the report does not state when exactly the distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based network will go live.

The spread of the deadly and highly contagious coronavirus seems to have slowed down in China. This may be attributed to the strict and serious approach taken by Chinese authorities to combat COVID-19. However, it appears that the planned April launch for BSN is still quite unlikely.

The pandemic has led to the launch of several blockchain or DLT-based platforms in China, which aim to track and record medical supplies, donations from charity organizations, and the spread of the coronavirus.

The BSN had been introduced in Shenzhen back in September 2018. At the time, the platform’s developers had said that it was being implemented in order to strengthen China’s digital economy and provide a foundation for establishing “smart cities.”

The BSN has been developed with the help of state-managed telecommunications service, China Mobile, the government-backed payment processor, China UnionPay, the State Information Center (SIC), and various other local bodies.

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