Blockchain developers in Hong Kong and Macau are now able to get access to the portal of China’s Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) — a public-private nationwide infrastructure project to spur mass adoption of blockchain technology — as BSN continues to fuel its overseas expansion.

BSN International entered a soft launch stage for its portals in Hong Kong and Macau on Sept. 1, and an official launch event will likely take place in early October, said Tim Bailey, vice president of global sales at Red Date Technology, the company China tapped to manage its BSN, in an interview with Forkast.News

“We’re pleased to report that we have over 30 projects already in development on the BSN portal [in Hong Kong and Macau] even in a soft launch phase,” Bailey said. “It seems to have attracted a lot of attention and engaged with developers.”

China announced the launch of the BSN — a signature project meant to cement China’s leadership in blockchain technology — in April 2020 as a joint initiative of the State Information Center, China Mobile, China UnionPay and Red Date Technology, with the four later forming the BSN Developers Alliance. In July 2020, the BSN separated into two ecosystems, BSN China and BSN International

Just as the Internet has different regulatory requirements based on locations, the BSN — sometimes called China’s “internet for blockchain” — also has different regulatory requirements depending on what country it is operating in, Bailey said. BSN China is governed by the BSN Developers Alliance, while BSN International is governed by the BSN Foundation, consisting of some large multinational technology and financial services companies, he said. Additional details on the BSN Foundation will be announced in the near future, he added.

The company has different development plans for its BSN International and BSN China businesses. BSN International, headquartered in Hong Kong, has integrated major public chains, which tend to focus on cryptocurrency and decentralized systems, while 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.

BSN China is intended for China’s domestic use in accordance with the government’s strict laws and regulations toward 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.

The Hong Kong and Macau portal soft launch is the company’s first attempt to roll out a portal outside of the Chinese mainland. Just earlier this month, Red Date announced a partnership in South Korea with MetaverseSociety, which will exclusively operate a BSN portal offering blockchain-as-a-service in Korea, with the portal expected to officially launch in November.

Bailey said that digiXnode, Red Date’s partner in Hong Kong, is talking to potential customers in various verticals, including financial services, supply chain, education and telecommunications.

“The Hong Kong government is very interested in promoting Hong Kong as a global hub for fintech startups, and expanding the pool of blockchain developers is an important part of supporting that initiative,” Bailey said, adding the digiXnode team has been focusing on engaging with universities to give students access to the BSN.

Upcoming global partnership

Red Date is in talks with more partners in Europe, Bailey said. “We had a strong partner in Europe that actually approached us and was interested in becoming involved in the BSN project.”

In collaboration with the partner in Europe, Red Date is working on deploying two portals — one in Turkey and the other in Uzbekistan — later this year, Bailey said. He said the company will announce more details on the expansion later this month.

The major hurdle for the international expansion so far has been how to effectively communicate the idea of the BSN.

“Getting people to understand that concept and thinking about other use cases and applications for blockchain beyond cryptocurrencies is probably the biggest challenge,” Bailey said. “I think the biggest challenge is just communication and getting the word out about the BSN.”

To fuel its global expansion, Red Date in June received a massive investment boost, securing US$30 million in Series A equity financing from global investors.