Red Date Technology, the company China tapped to manage its Blockchain-based Service Network — the nationwide public-private infrastructure project to spur mass adoption of blockchain technology — announced today US$30 million in Series A equity financing from global investors.
The main investors included Prosperity7 Ventures, the diversified growth fund of Aramco Ventures, Hong Kong-based blockchain venture capitalist Kenetic Capital, Swiss banking and financial services giant Pictet Group and Thailand’s Bangkok Bank.
Coming a little more than a year after Red Date launched the Blockchain-based Service Network, or BSN, the global funding signals broad support for China’s plans to provide infrastructure for what may become Web 3.0.
Prosperity7 was the lead investor. It’s parent, Aramco Ventures, is a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s public petroleum and natural gas company. Saudi Aramco is one of the largest oil companies in the world. The venture fund’s earlier China investments include Quicktron, a maker of intelligent robots and intelligent warehousing operation systems that serve giant e-retailer Alibaba, and China Post, the state-owned postal service provider.
“BSN will help bring the benefits of blockchain to enable a wide spectrum of business activities, from distributed secure ledgers to complex cross-border contracts,” said Aysar Tayeb, executive managing director of Prosperity7 Ventures. “We are thrilled to support Red Date and be a part of the BSN initiative and the positive value it will create.”
China announced the launch of the BSN in April 2020 as a joint initiative of the National Information Center, China Mobile, China UnionPay and Red Date Technology. In July, the BSN separated into two ecosystems, BSN China and BSN International.
BSN as a whole aims to build a global blockchain-based cross-cloud, cross-portal and cross-framework public infrastructure network.
“Like the Internet in 1993, today’s fragmented blockchain industry is a patchwork of isolated chains and distributed ledgers,” said Yifan He, CEO of Red Date, in a statement. “The BSN is the first enterprise-grade effort to build connectivity between all public and private ledgers and lay the foundation of technology for the next century.”
However, BSN International and BSN China have different uses and partners. BSN International, which will be headquartered in Hong Kong, has integrated major public chains, like Tezos, NEO, Nervos, EOS, IRISnet and Ethereum, which tend to focus on cryptocurrency and decentralized systems.
BSN International is establishing a consortium of multinational corporations and financial institutions as its governing body led by an as-yet unnamed Singapore foundation. The governance will emphasize compliance and transparency. At its launch, BSN International had “public city nodes” in eight cities, including Paris, Sao Paolo and Johannesburg.
BSN China, which owns the majority of BSN’s city nodes across the mainland, is a separate permission-based system that cannot access public chains deployed on BSN International. It is intended for China’s domestic use in accordance with the government’s strict laws and regulations towards cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. As a result, BSN China will tend toward enterprise uses such as supply-chain management and financial and legal transactions that require security and record keeping.