■作者：张纯信 宋思齐 王振华 齐超颖
于2020年4月25日启动的区块链服务网络（BSN，Block-chain-based Service Network），作为主要的区块链互操作性基础设施网络，是中国国家区块链战略的一部分，代表了互操作性标准的基础架构，可允许不同的区块链、IT和数据中心生态系统无缝、统一地互操作。它是一种用于分布式应用程序的跨云、跨门户和跨链的全球公共基础架构。
BSN由中国国家信息中心、中国移动、中国银联和红枣科技（Red Date Technology）联合发起，并已整合了中国大部分头部私有/许可区块链框架。2020年7月31日，它宣布整合以太坊、EOS和Tezos。诸如亚马逊网络服务（Amazon Web Services）、谷歌云存储（Google Drive）、微软云（Microsoft Azure ）和百度云等云服务提供商也已被整合，从而能够提供超低成本的区块链云服务。目前，BSN在全球范围内部署了130多个公共城市节点，覆盖了中国所有省、区、市和主要城市，并分布在全球六大洲的国际节点。到2020年底，BSN计划在中国主要城市拥有超过200个节点。
与此形成对比，美国政府宣布将于2021年7月退出世界卫生组织。自1948年成立以来，世卫组织一直致力于“促进健康，维护世界安全和为弱势群体服务”。在世卫组织协调制定针对新冠肺炎疫情疫苗的全球倡议时，美国选择了退出，这对信息共享造成了严重障碍，并可能导致更多人丧生。最终，这将损害美国与其他国家的双方利益，因为美国将不再从其他国家的工作中受益，国际社会也将失去美国的信息和专业知识。正如北卡罗来纳大学教堂山分校全球卫生政策副教授本杰明·梅森·迈耶（Benjamin Mason Meyer）所言，“美国可以停止一切交流，可以寻求在美国与世界其他地区之间建立隔离墙，但是我们 一次又一次地看到，这些墙壁无法阻隔疾病。”
Global Questions, Fintech Solutions
Deputy Dean of Academics, Professor of Finance and Director of the Fintech Research Center at Fanhai International School of Finance, Fudan University
Associate Professor of Practice in Finance at Fanhai International School of Finance and the Co-director of the Fintech Research Center at Fanhai International School of Finance, Fudan University
Associate Director and Research Fellow of the Fintech Research Center at Fanhai International School of Finance, Fudan University
Senior Research Associate of the Fintech Research Center at Fanhai International School of Finance, Fudan University
Powerful Intervention for DAOs
It’s been 5 years this July since the world was introduced to Ethereum. Pioneer Vitalik Buterin, then just 21 years old, delivered one of the most powerful Blockchain tools ever created, a “decentralized application platform” where smart contracts govern everything from financial transactions to digital art.
Since then, blockchains have been reimagined with applications include management of sovereign currency, a far cry from the original philosophies of bitcoin early adopters. Indeed, over the past few months, our Fintech Research Center has published reports on how Blockchain can help to manage complex information systems like those of public health. Ethereum has demonstrated that, by expanding novel uses of its chain, it could prosper, becoming the most popular chain for developers and spearheading fundamental developments like asset tokenization, decentralized finance, and potentially decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).
As we look to the next 5 years, the rise of these DAOs may start to blur the line between financial institutions, principally brick-and-mortar companies with centralized management despite their online tentacles. Ethereum has already been adopted and adapted within financial institutions, taking advantage of private/permissioned networks, but we are also seeing applications of blockchains in which regulatory bodies are taking the lead, challenging us with the notion that a fully inclusive network is one where regulators are also involved. Is the goal decentralization or inclusion? Can a market be both transparent and centralized? While contentious at the time, Ethereum showed us that intervention(in this case, the reversal of transactions perhaps being the most egregious of all Blockchain no-no’s) is both powerful and, sometimes, best.
Today, mega-start-ups like Axoni are showing the value that Blockchain can deliver to the financial industry and mega-corporations like JP Morgan are developing chains of their own. From here, Ethereum’s massive popularity is also one of its greatest risks as its backbone infrastructure is still inadequate in the face of hundreds of millions of users emerging world-wide (and perhaps billions more in years to come). Let’s hope that the overhaul that many are predicting at the end of 2020 will continue to fuel growth and opportunity in Fintech.
Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN)
Launched on April 25, 2020, the BSN, a major blockchain interoperability infrastructure network, is part of China’s National Blockchain Strategy and represents an interoperability standard foundational infrastructure that allows different blockchain, IT, and datacenter ecosystems to interoperate in a seamless and unified way. Itis a cross-cloud, cross-portal, and cross-chain global public infrastructure for distributed apps.
The BSN was jointly initiated by the China State Information Center, China Mobile, China UnionPay and Red Date Technology and has integrated most of the top private/permissioned blockchain frameworks in China. On July 31, 2020, it announced integrations with Ethereum, EOS, and Tezos. Cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services, Google Drive, Microsoft Azure, and Baidu Cloud are also integrated to be able to provide ultra-low cost blockchain cloud services. The BSN currently has global deployment of over 130 public city nodes, covering all provinces and major cities in China as well as international nodes distributed across six continents. The BSN is slated to have over 200 nodes in major cities across China by the end of 2020.
Each country has laws and regulations to govern the deployment and use of the Internet and blockchain technology. The BSN is meant to be a global interoperability network, so it must comply with related regulation in China and also accommodate other international blockchain ecosystems. The official BSN International portal for global users and developers was launched August 10, 2020, and Red Date Technology has been tasked with developing BSNInternational’s technology roadmap, implementation, and governance. With the formation of BSN International, the BSN may soon become the global backbone for trust network that will connect the world, facilitate global trade, and foster collaboration.
The WHO and Global PublicHealth Information
Crisis often also breeds progress and COVID-19 has inspired innovation in medical information management through the adoption of blockchain technology. In February and March of 2020, the Fintech Research Center published articles discussing how blockchain technology can enhance infectious disease reporting and improve early warning systems. By applying positioning technology, AI and other tools to the management and prevention of infectious diseases, we can vastly improve early epidemic identification. As always, credible, reliable data remains the key.
On March 28, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a partnership with technology companies IBM, Oracle, Blockchain platform Hacera, and Microsoft to launch MiPasa, a platform-based distributed ledger, to promote data sharing related to COVID-19. Health agencies in various countries (including authorities in the United States, Europe and China) have contributed to the project. The platform can monitor and run predictive models on local and global epidemic trends.
Similarly, the Ministry of Community Development (MOCD) of the United Arab Emirates is adopting distributed ledger technology (DLT) solutions for identity verification and distribution of official documents, enabling customers to interact with MOCD safely from home. China has also deployed blockchain in many applications to fight the pandemic and uses DLT to track the spread of the virus and the distribution of medical supplies and donations.
In contrast, the US government announced that it would withdraw from the WHO in July 2021. Since its establishment in 1948, the WHO has been committed to "promoting health, maintaining world safety and serving vulnerable groups". The US withdrawl from the WHO at a time when it is coordinating the global initiative to develop a vaccine against COVID-19 introduces a critical impediment to information sharing that may result in more lives lost. This, ultimately, hurts both sides as the US will no longer benefit from the work of other nations, and the international community will lose the information and expertise of the US. As Benjamin Mason Meyer, Associate Professor of global health policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, opined, “The US can stop all communication and can seek to build a wall between the United States and the rest of the world, but we have time and time again, seen that these walls will not block the disease."
Decentralized networks with distributed information at the hospital and agency levels may be an important tool as we forward in these efforts and for any future challenges that may lie ahead. The cooperation between medical experts and sharing of data is paramount, and if politicians cannot fund a solution, perhaps technology can.
Whether in the case of accounting irregularities for coffee giant Luckin or in recent fraud proceedings with German payment giant Wirecard, one can't help but wonder if existing systems are simply not suited to provide the level of transparency, validation, and fraud detection that advances in fintech have made both possible and relatively efficient to deploy.
In the case of the Wirecard, the German payment processor and financial services provider was once among the 30 listed companies on Germany’s DAX index. On June 26, 2020, it lost nearly US$12 billion in market value, a nearly 90% share price drop, a day after its board revealed that it would be filing for insolvency owing principally to €1.9bn missing from Wirecard’s balance sheet. This scandal is among the largest accounting frauds in recent history, leading some to call it “the Enron of Germany.”
Importantly, while the scandal did not explode until 2020, there have been allegations of wrongdoing since 2008. Whistler-blowers claimed that Wirecard had been engaging in accounting fraud to inflate revenues by reporting false transactions. According to Reuters, Wirecard falsified two-thirds of its sales, enabled by a strategy of hiding the fraudulent activities in a nebula of acquisitions executed through third-party. In 2019, it was reported that half of Wirecard's worldwide revenue and almost all of its profits were processed through these third-parties, for which transactions were functionally opaque.
One can only conjecture as to how much investor wealth may have been protected had financial institutions and regulators employed blockchain technology to provide transparency, trackability, and effective monitoring. With improved data and validation, KYC and AML would almost surely have been improved, and early detection AI may have prevented nefarious behavior before it could accumulate to levels that would ultimately result in insolvency. Just as importantly, it seems that news of this nature is recurrent, rearing its head in different severity and frequency, but reliably every-so-often. Until we have permanent adoption of improved technologies like those described here, it’s likely only a matter of time until we hear about the next Enron.