The Blockchain Services Network (BSN) is one of the Chinese government’s most ambitious global blockchain projects. But can it succeed in its goal to become a global “internet of blockchains” in the face of rising tensions between the US and China?
“The BSN has already achieved this critical mass and it will have a snowball effect, as a lot more of worldwide technology infrastructure companies will want to come to it. The challenge is mainly geopolitical. Because of the current climate, this is going to be framed as the China Chain,” said Michael Sung, founding co-director at the Fanhai International School of Finance at Fudan University in Shanghai, at a panel discussion recorded on Nov. 16.
Moderated by TechNode’s blockchain and fintech reporter Eliza Gkritsi, three scholars and entrepreneurs from China, Singapore, and Hong Kong discussed what the future holds for the BSN—and whether its connection to the Chinese government will prove a blessing or a curse.
Making interoperability really work will be a real technical challenge, said Wai-shun Lo, adjunct professor The Chinese University of Hong Kong and partner at a Hong Kong angel investment fund. There is also a business challenge for portal operators around the world “to work in their own communities to really get people on board to develop dapps [decentralized applications],” said Lo.
The technology challenge will be overcome, “given time,” said David Lee, who teaches blockchain and fintech as a professor at the Singapore University of Social Sciences. But convincing “governments and incumbents to see the potential of BSN” might also be difficult in the short term, Lee said.
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. The BSN is aligned with Beijing’s ambition to position China as a global blockchain leader.
Who: The BSN is led by the China State Information Center, China Mobile, China Union Pay, and Red Date Technology.
Michael Sung is the chairman of Carbonblue Innovations, a tech-transfer and commercialization platform focused on rapidly scaling internationally-sourced high-tech innovation, the founding co-director of the Fintech Research Center at the Fanhai International School of Finance at Fudan University, and a member of the faculty at the Chinese Institute of Economics and Finance, a national-level think tank focused on developing finance innovation policy for the central government in China.
Sung has served in advisory roles over the years for the Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China governments on international tech transfer, innovation ecosystem building, AI, blockchain, and fintech policy.
David Lee Kuo Chuen owns Blockasset Ventures, a blockchain- and cryptocurrency-focused investment company. He has founded several companies, including Dlee Capital Management, Left Coast, and Ferrell Financial Group.
Lee is also a professor of fintech and blockchain at Singapore University of Social Sciences. He is an advisor to several blockchain organizations, including the British Blockchain Association, and was the director of the Sim Kee Boon Institute for Financial Economics (SKBI) at Singapore Management University (SMU). His research interests include digital and internet finance, digital banking, Asia, finance, impact investing, blockchain, financial inclusion, and asset allocation.
Lo is an adjunct professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and a visiting Professor at Peking University’s School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Lo is currently a general partner of DL Capitals, an angel investment fund focused on disruptive and exponential technologies and has over 20 years of experience in intellectual property commercialization, business models innovation and technology transfer. Lo has also served as a senior researcher at Harvard Business School’s Asia-Pacific Research Center.