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Blockchain Wave Continues in China as BSN Global Portal Launches

Blockchain-related developments in China continue to make the news even as the new global portal of the Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) goes live on Monday to provide a cross-cloud, cross-portal, and cross-framework global infrastructure network that would be used to deploy and operate all types of blockchain decentralized applications.

Already the world’s largest blockchain ecosystem serving interconnectivity both in China and around the world, it is too early to say the BSN would be accepted globally even though it has integrated major public blockchains like Ethereum. Prior to the global launch, China’s ambition to lead the world in building emerging technologies such as 5G has been met with pushback especially from the U.S. whose policymakers and companies are not competing for blockchain business hence “blockchain with Chinese characteristics will become more of the norm.”

A minor setback for the BSN may be the suggestion by the IDC Worldwide Blockchain Spending Guide Worldwide and Asia/Pacific that blockchain spends will decline in 2020 – worldwide (-7.7%) and Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) by -6.0% – as compared to the pre-COVID-19 forecast scenario. However, the impact is not likely to be hardly felt and for long.

IDC statistics had earlier showed that blockchain growth in APeJ will maintain pace with the rest of the world at 72.6% CAGR in the period of 2017-2022 with US$11.7 bln total spending by 2022 with China being a major economy contributing to the growth of blockchain in the APAC region with US$3.6 bln investment. Also, blockchain and crypto data platform LongHash claims more than 10,000 new blockchain companies have been established this year alone up till July.

When combined with Ericsson’s newly-released quantitative data collected from China, Germany, Sweden and the US through online interviews with 1,923 respondents aged 18 and older – including decision-makers in logistics solutions and services and business users in the logistics field, the emerging technology’s wave in the Asian powerhouse continues to build up.

The data shows that two-thirds of the surveyed decision-makers see great potential in blockchain technology to improve logistics processes if used efficiently i.e. 66% of decision-makers agree that blockchain technology will be very important to their company in the next three to five years. The technology comes only behind asset tracking and location technologies (73%), wirelessly connected areas (73%) and electrification of transport and tools (69%). Artificial Intelligence is behind blockchain (65%) though.

The survey, conducted by Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab during January and February 2020, finds in addition to its quantitative consumer survey data from its Analytical Platform gathered in April 2020 that one-third of decision-makers say that being unable to easily exchange information with customers and suppliers is an obstacle for improving their companies’ logistics operations. Another key finding is that the lack of good digital track and trace tools, tools for visualization etc. and reliable mobile connectivity are key barriers for two out of five logistics companies today considering that three in five strongly agree that better logistics tools would improve their companies’ capability to deliver on time.

Relatedly, a guideline issued by the Chinese Ministry of Transport on Thursday indicates that the use of blockchain technology will intensify whole-chain oversight on electronic documents, online businesses, and hazardous substances as part of efforts to advance the transportation sector’s transformation toward digitalization and intelligence. From transportation to the energy sector, a division of China’s state-owned power grid is also reportedly experimenting with issuing a blockchain-enabled blackout insurance policy to trigger claims in the event of power outage.

While the BSN may be major for global use, blockchain uptake on the home front seems to be growing to build the base to support the global backbone for the emerging technology.

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