China unveils plan to build a global payment network based on central bank digital currencies

China's BSN global payment network ecosystem diagram based on central bank digital currencies
BLOCKCHAIN: The BSN aims to develop a universal digital payments network based on CBDCs

China’s Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) has revealed plans to develop a universal digital payments network (UDPN) based on standardised procedures for international transfers and payments with and between central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

The state-sanctioned blockchain network aims to roll out the UPDN in beta as early as the second half of 2021 as part of its roadmap for “enabling new features and functions” and “to accelerate the mass adoption of blockchain technology worldwide”.

“BSN plans to build a digital currency payment network in five years based on the CBDCs of various countries and stablecoins, working with several international banks and technology companies,” BSN says in a blog post.

“This digital payment network will completely change the current payment and circulation method, enabling a standardised digital currency transfer method and payment procedure for any information system.

“[The] Beta version of this convenient and cost-friendly global payment solution will be launched in the second half of 2021.”

BSN was launched in October 2019 as “a cross-cloud, cross-portal, cross-framework global infrastructure network used to deploy and operate all types of blockchain DApps [decentralised applications]” by a partnership that includes China’s State Information Center (SIC), China Mobile, China UnionPay and “other institutions”.

At launch SIC’s Zhang Xueying said BSN’s aim was to provide “high-quality and customised services for the development of smart cities and the digital economy, and help nurture a batch of new industries or new business models based on blockchain technology”, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.

Network expansion

BSN’s roadmap for 2021 also includes plans “to expand the network by creating more public city nodes (PCNs), integrating more frameworks, and building more BSN portals worldwide”, bringing its total number of PCNs to 150 in China and 50 internationally.

It also aims to strengthen partnerships with cloud service providers, framework providers and portal providers to make its services “more cost-effective and interoperable”, and further develop a private BSN network and Empowerment Platform.

“Combining the BSN public network and Private BSN, BSN will become the core ‘new infrastructure’ for China’s digital economy and social governance,” BSN’s blog post continues.

“In 2021, the Empowerment Platform will support multiple languages and be promoted internationally on a much larger scale to coordinate with BSN’s global layout and development.”

China’s own CBDC, the digital yuan, is undergoing a series of pilot tests, most recently in the city of Shenzhen.

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