China unveils massive blockchain cluster running homebrew tech

1,000 servers capable of 240 million transactions a second, because Beijing wants to watch everything

China's ambition to record government and commercial activity on a blockchain has a new engine: a 1,000-server cluster in Beijing capable of handling 240 million smart contract transactions each second.

The machine is notable for two reasons.

One is that this rig uses homegrown tech. The cluster is linked to ChainMaker – a made-in-China blockchain platform that's been contributed to and/or adopted by significant Chinese private and government enterprises. ChainMmaker has also claimed to have developed 96-core silicon designed to accelerate blockchain transactions. The Beijing Academy of Blockchain and Edge Computing – understood to be the designer of the facility – has previously announced it has developed petabyte-scale storage systems.

With the USA leading bans on export of high tech to China, rigs like this show that Beijing can build big and complex things.

The second reason is that this rig demonstrates that Beijing's drive for extensive blockchain use is real, and ready to roll.

As state-controlled media reports on the cluster explain, it will be used to secure and record transactions across 80 departments, 16 districts, and organizations in the fields of transportation, finance, and telecommunications, and is intended to ensure information flows back to Beijing to realize "efficient coordination of the governance system."

And at quite a scale, suggesting China is going to make smart contracts an important part of its business environment.

It's just the sort of thing one might expect in a single party state that exercises close control over economic development and likes to keep tabs on organizations' performance.

The rig is likely one of Earth's mightiest blockchain implementations, which will give boosters of such technology heart. Expect them to promote its use – and distinguish those efforts from the wretched hive of scum and villainy that infected the cryptocurrency scene. ®

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