WeBank, a digital bank that makes loans to small businesses and individuals, has become the first technical infrastructure provider for the nation’s blockchain network. 

The Shenzhen-based company will provide the Blockchain-Based Service Network (BSN) with its patented open consortium chain FISCO BCOS, according to a Chinese state media report

Rather than a single blockchain, the consortium chain is a set of blockchain applications to  serve the general public, according to a statement from the company. 

BSN’s 14-member consortium, launched last week, will develop and operate blockchain-based applications in the network using their individual expertise and technologies.

Members of the consortium include WeBank, Huobi China, the State Information Center, and state-owned tech giants China UnionPay, China Mobile and China Telecom. 

Formed in December 2014, WeBank was the first internet bank licensed by the China Regulatory and Securities Commission; it then branched out into blockchain-based services. 

WeBank has been backed by prominent Chinese investors including Liye Group and Baiyeyuan, and its largest shareholder is Tencent with a 30 percent stake. 

The announcement is the latest effort by the Chinese government to build a nationwide blockchain network to serve a range of state-controlled public services across the country, including telecommunications and energy management. 

The BSN project has been tested in 25 cities across China as well as Hong Kong and Singapore. It is expected to be tried out in more than 200 cities by 2020, according to the report.

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